Anger Management Activities for Teens

A teen is writing at home.

Anger management techniques give teens a productive way to control feelings t hat are often caused by stress and hormones. When anger goes unchecked, decisions become reactive and logical reasoning goes out the door. Becoming self-aware of angry feelings and maintaining self-control are necessary for anger management.

Analyze Anger Triggers

Recognizing anger-inducing situations or problems before stress levels rise can help teens formulate a plan. When the situation happens, your teenager will be better prepared to handle it. Examples include failure of a friend to visit as promised, not being allowed to use of the family car or being embarrassed by a teacher in class. Build self-control skills by considering ways to respond in those specific situations. In a conflict with a teacher, possible actions include talking back in class, complaining to peers or talking to the teacher after class in a calm manner. Teens should consider how each option might turn out. Talking back is likely to escalate the situation or result in detention. Complaining to classmates gets the emotions out but doesn't solve the problem. Discussing the situation in private with the teacher allows the teen to express feelings and work with the teacher to resolve the issue.

Get Feelings Out

Failing to deal with anger can make the emotion grow and build, and it may surface later. Working through it can help a teen control it. Talking to a trusted acquaintance -- a friend, counselor or parent -- can help the teen process feelings. For teens who don't want to talk to others, writing is a personal way to think through the negative emotions. A teen may write in a journal, write a letter to the person who upset him, write a poem or a song, or draw pictures expressing his thoughts. The process may help him figure out what is really causing the anger. He may also discover other feelings that led to the anger, such as worry or sadness.

Remove Yourself From the Situation

Distance from the situation causing anger can help a teen calm down. Getting away from the immediate stressor allows the teen to process the situation and think logically about what to do next. "If your efforts to de-escalate aren’t working and you’re feeling like you might blow up into some inappropriate behavior, getting away from the tense scene is a good and prudent action," Seattle-based school psychologist Fredric Provenzano advises teens in an article on the wesbsite of the National Association of School Psychologists. If your teenager and a friend are in a one-on-one conflict and she tells her friend that she needs a few minutes to think, this tells the friend that she is not necessarily blaming her, Provenzano suggests. It might not always be possible for her to walk away. For example, she can't walk out of class if her teacher makes her angry, but she can use calming activities to take a mental break from the anger. Provenzano recommends counting slowly either forward or backward, relaxing muscles, breathing deeply or visualizing something relaxing.

Put Energy Into an Activity

Anger isn't all negative. Teens can channel the energy of anger into a productive activity. Exercise is a physical way to work out the anger. Hitting a punching bag and running a few miles are healthier ways to deal with anger than yelling or hitting someone. Upbeat music and dance can help a teen deal with anger. Those who are musically inclined might feel better after jamming on a guitar or belting out tunes. Other hobbies can create a sense of calm when angry. Another option is to channel the anger into problem solving. If, for example, a teen is angry after being picked on at school, he might join an anti-bullying movement at school.