A troubled teen peers through his hair.

Being a parent is no easy job, so if you have a teenager that is acting unruly, depressed, or anti-social, it can feel like they’re on a runaway train and you have to find a way to stop them from derailing. When your child is upset, you can’t help but feel upset, too.

When they are outside the walls of your home, it is only natural to feel powerless and at a loss for how to get them to listen to your words. They can make it clear that they don’t care about anything and that they’ll do whatever they want, but it is important to avoid going toe-to-toe in a heated argument. You may lose the battles, but you can still win their hearts. Teenagers think emotionally and irrationally, so this is where your experience and tact is needed to put them back on the right path.

De-Escalation Should Be The Goal

Despite how much your teenager may protest that they do whatever they want and won’t listen to anything you say, children will always model their behavior after their parents, whether that is in spite or in stride. Same goes for what your body language is telling them as you attempt to reason with them. You can speak in the most monotone way, but if you’re staring them down or being flippant, they will pick that up right away.

Instead, talk to them in a humbled approach, don’t be condescending and listen to their criticisms and concerns. As soon as you start becoming more commanding or dismissive, you will see arguments get out of hand in a second. Even if they are fully in the wrong, you need to get them to understand why they are wrong, or it will constantly be a war of words and differences.

Helping an Angry Teenager Calm Down

If your teenager is always angry, no matter how serious of an argument you may have with them, it is important to break the cycle by implementing positive behavioral habits. You can essentially “reset” their thought process by suggesting that both of you take deep breaths for 30 seconds or so. This shouldn’t just be saved for a last-ditch effort to calm them down, it is less likely to be entertained when it reaches that point, typically needing physical restraint.

Teach them this technique because it is not just a successful distraction, it provides real benefits through oxygenation and lowering of blood pressure.

Break The Cycle

Families who argue a lot or contain unnecessary amounts of anger and negativity are not that way by accident. There are underlying trust issues and resentment that need to be addressed or the anger will always find its way into every little opportunity. Teenagers want to be rebellious, there’s nothing you can do about this except teach them self-control, self-confidence, and humility.

There are far too many of us who must win all arguments, but when they get out of hand, you must also know yourself and know when it is not worth any value to keep going on. That is why, for many situations, when dealing with an angry teen, sometimes it’s best to just walk away before anyone says anything they will end up regretting later. This level of maturity pays major dividends when your teenager reaches adulthood.

If none of this is allowing you to make any progress with your troubled teenager, do not think that asking for outside help from a counselor is a sign of weakness or surrender. They have dedicated their lives to understanding others, parents are only human and cannot be experts at everything.

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