Monday, March 26, 2012

Helping Your Teen Deal with Aggression

Adina Soclof
Children learn by example. Teenagers are no exception. If they live in a household where shouting, profanity or worse goes on, it is more likely that the teen will deal with aggression in the same manner. But even in households where these examples have not been set, many teens go through an aggressive or acting out phase.
Trying to deal with your teen in the middle of an aggressive episode is like trying to pick up leaves in a windstorm. You may need to remove your teen from the situation, but trying to reason with him/her is best left until he/she calms down.
Anger is being upset. Aggression is acting out. It is important to find out why there is so much aggression in your teen. Don’t overlook that it could be a chemical imbalance. Other reasons could be guilt, deep seeded anger, fear, feelings of betrayal, frustration, entitlement or insecurity.
In some cases outside help might be needed. Counseling at school or by a third party can, on occasion, work wonders if your child is able to openly discuss concerns with a non-biased person. At other times, you may be able to work toward a resolve with your teen as you discover that your teen harbors feelings that you didn’t even know existed.
While not acceptable, these hidden, unresolved feelings can manifest themselves in outrage. Aggression is often brought on by certain triggers. Sit down and discuss these triggers with your teen.
He may be able to tell you that when someone tells him what to do he gets furious. That’s a good starting point to figure out where the control issues are coming from. The fact is, all our life people will tell us what to do. That doesn’t stop into adulthood. There needs to be a non-aggressive outlet to channel that emotion.
While not directly dealing with the emotions, a physical outlet can certainly help. Enroll your teen in a martial arts class. There he will have an opportunity to spar in a controlled environment. He can also learn respect and discipline.
A Tae Kwon Do class may not solve all your teen’s problems, but it is a step in helping him or her deal with aggression. You may also want to try other activities such as running, cycling, dance, concentrate on their breathing and heartbeat, or even suggest that the kids bounce out their anger on a trampoline.
Whichever way your teen finds most effective is the way to go. As long as it is an acceptable way to respond and respect is always shown. Helping your teen deal with aggression now will definitely help him or her maintain control of the emotions and thoughts during tough times.
Adina Soclof is a certified speech pathologist and parent educator. Her website offers informative and inspirational parenting workshops designed to help parents create a calm, happy home.

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