Anger is a fundamental building block of emotional health. It can be a powerful positive driving force, or a destructive whirlwind of negative emotion. So how can we teach troubled teensacceptable ways to channel that negative into a more positive.
It is important to note that anger by itself, is a secondary emotion. Nobody simply experiences anger for no reason whatsoever. Anger is triggered by something else. Fear, abandonment, even sadness can all trigger an angry outburst. Most individuals don’t readily recognize these primary emotions so react to the anger rather than the underlying cause of the anger.
- Direction: Channeling anger into the positive spectrum can be as simple as pointing a teen in the right direction. Sport is one of the best and healthiest outlets for mounting anger. Driving anger into motivation or drive to win can result in achievement. Wrestling, football, track and field, and martial arts are all healthy outlets for aggression.
- Expression: Have them keep a journal. Knowing that they can express themselves openly and honestly within the pages of text can help them to examine what makes them angry, and more closely examine the underlying cause.
- Communication: Facilitate healthy venting. Sit your teen down and talk to them about what makes them mad. Having objective, open discussions keeps you involved in their life as well as showing them that you are available
Some popular methods of channeling anger that should be avoided
Sending a teen to their room to ‘cool off’, or having them express their anger by assaulting a pillow or mattress, have been examined to have a much lower positive impact on learning to deal with anger. Sending a child away without examining their behavior simply isolates the problem till it goes away, and beating up a pillow doesn't teach them that physical violence is an unacceptable form of expression.
Learning how to identify the root of the anger is always the most preferable method for truly dealing with anger. With Teen’s in particular this can be a daunting task with the best of conditions. Learning healthy methods for channeling anger can provide the basis for exploring these base causes.