Helping Hateful Teenagers

Observing anger and even hatred exuding from your teenager can be a confusing and frightful thing. Although teens often face a myriad of emotions as they progress toward adulthood and independence, extreme emotions may be a signal to you that underlying problems exist. Help your teenager over these rough spots so he can manage his emotions effectively and positively.

Talking With your Teen

Find a time of relative calmness when you and your teenager can talk about the hateful behavior and angry feelings he’s been exhibiting. Michael Craig Miller, an M.D. with Harvard Health Publications, advises approaching your child to communicate your love and concern 1. Without judging or attacking, which might put your child on the defensive, tell your child that you perceive and have witnessed concerning behavior that indicates his angry feelings. Counterbalance your statement by also telling your child that you won’t pry or interfere, but that you are always available to help if he wants it.

Recognize and Pinpoint Anger

When your child exhibits angry feelings and emotions, help your child recognize them by calling attention to them. You might say, “You sound really angry right now and I can understand that.” Although so simple, this sentence teaches your child to recognize angry feelings, lends validity to your child’s feelings and helps her accept them, states the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission. Your empathy can be the starting point toward your child managing her emotions more effectively.

Managing Emotions

Once you help your child recognize anger, it’s time to help him work through it positively and effectively instead of allowing it to exude hateful energy from him. Managing emotions can help your teenager avoid physical altercations, negative body language and angry verbalization. Help your teen see that removing himself from a provocative situation by walking away can be an effective way to give himself some cooling off time. Once cooled off, he’ll be better able to discuss his feelings, approach people to problem-solve and work toward a solution.

Dangerous Anger

Some teenagers may experience uncontrollable anger, during which the teen threatens violence, engages in violence against others or destroys property, warns the Harvard Medical School. If you witness uncontrollable anger and hatred in your teen, seek professional help immediately. Your teenager may need intervention and crisis counseling. Your teenager may also need psychological treatment for an aggression disorder that afflicts some adolescents. Anger can also be a manifestation of depression, states Miller. If you determine that your teenager suffers from depression, seek professional help immediately.