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Dec 13, 2018
My teenager seems so angry with the world and us. How can I help him/her?
27/06/2016 8:10 pm UTC | By: Tea With Didi

There are many stories that Indian parents love to narrate about what happened to them when they spoke back to their parents!  It was a different time, a different place and a different culture.  Fast forward to the “now” and kids talk back everywhere!

  1. Feel compassion: This is the hardest part of being a parent. When they are taller than you and being disrespectful and your entire life is dedicated to them, it is very hard to feel compassion. The ONLY way you can feel compassion is to understand the beast, no, teenager!  A  teenager’s brain is still actively developing, processing information differently than a mature adult’s brain. The frontal cortex, the part of the brain used to manage emotions, make decisions, reason, and control inhibitions, is being restructured during the teenage years, forming new synapses at an incredible rate, yet the whole brain does not actually reach full maturity until about the mid-20’s. Your teen may be taller than you and seem mature in some respects, but often he or she is simply unable to think things through at an adult level. Hormones produced during the physical changes of adolescence can further complicate things. Now, these biological differences don’t excuse teens’ poor behavior or absolve them from accountability for their actions, but they may help explain why teens behave so impulsively or frustrate parents and teachers with their poor decisions, social anxiety, and rebelliousness. Understanding adolescent development can help you find ways to stay connected to your teen and overcome problems together.
  2. Build bridges: Read Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages of Teenagers [1] to build the bridge. Gary Chapman lays out the tools you need to communicate with your teenager. As Dr. Chapman states, “At the root of much teenage misbehavior is a teen’s empty love tank. I am not suggesting that parents do not love their teenagers; I am suggesting that thousands of teenagers do not feel that love.”
  3. Understand what is causing the anxiety and bad behavior: Even when they behave badly, sit down and try to understand the reasons for the bad behavior. Convey that you are hurt by their behavior.
  4. Establish rules and consequences: Be very clear that if they behave badly again, there will be consequences. Go through with the consequence no matter how hard it is to implement.
  5. Help your teen find healthy ways to relieve anger: Exercise, team sports, or even simply hitting a punch bag or a pillow can help relieve tension and anger. Many teens also use the art of writing to creatively express their anger. Dancing or playing along to loud, angry music can also provide relief.
  6. Give your teen space to retreat: When your teen is angry, allow him or her to retreat to a place where it’s safe to cool off, usually his or her room. Don’t follow your teen and stubbornly demand apologies or explanations while he or she is still raging; this will 100% not work and only prolong or escalate the anger, or even provoke a physical response. When they have cooled down, take them out to coffee or ice-cream and talk to them.

Reference: 1. Gary chapman’s 5 love languages

Author: Anoo Nathan and Akila Kumar

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