Signs of Hidden Anger in Teens

Teen anger manifests itself in a number of ways.

Anger issues can bring out unpredictable behavior in teens and can frustrate even the most level-headed parents. Initially, teens will often manifest this anger in the form of rude or sarcastic responses, but the situation can escalate quickly if it is not dealt with effectively. Parents who notice aggression from their teens should provide adequate support to help them deal with these emotions in a grownup manner.

Warning Signs

Many signs of anger, such as sudden outbursts or mean-spirited comments, are obvious, but many teens do not lash out in this manner. For some, the warning signs include symptoms like isolation, overeating and fatigue. Teens who are suppressing anger will often cancel plans and could cut themselves off from their friends and family. The initial signs can be subtle, so it is important for parents to recognize a potentially angry teen.

How Anger Develops

Social worker James Lehman notes that hidden anger develops in teens when they are unable to cope with their feelings. These teens did not learn how to work through conflicts when they were younger, and the problem has continued throughout their lives. Those who are unable to communicate their feelings assertively end up lashing out once the anger builds. Parents might find their teens completely ignoring them when asked to clean their rooms, as they do not know how to tell their parents that they do not wish to complete this chore and avoidance becomes their reaction.

How Parents Can Help

Parents can help their teens by teaching them a few skills that can help them deal with anger. An extremely important skill to learn is self-awareness, as this can help to defuse a potential conflict. Teens have the ability to take note of how they feel and think about why they feel that way. They can then communicate these feelings to a parent. The Teen Health website states that a parent can also help a teen by explaining that these emotions are completely normal. It is perfectly fine to be angry in certain situations, but having control over his actions is important.

Parental Reaction to Anger

For their part, parents can help prevent teen anger from escalating by staying calm and avoiding direct conflict with the teen. Parents should expose the teen's anger in a direct manner, without getting angry themselves. Child and adolescent therapist Signe Whitson believes that this can cause a moment of self-reflection for the teen, which can potentially defuse the situation.