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Anger Management and Teenagers

by Dr. Randi Fredricks, Ph.D., Director of San Jose Therapy and Counseling

One of the more common themes that therapists see while counseling teenagers is the inability to appropriately express anger and frustration. Anger can be the result of an adolescent's experiences of loss, trauma, or rejection, or accompany many of the difficulties that present with mood, family, or learning issues.

Teenagers can manifest anger externally (through tantrums, destructiveness, hurting others, conduct problems, etc.) or internally (seen as depression, anxiety, self-destructiveness, or emotional detachment). Either form can be alarming, and can be disruptive to the teen's functioning at home, school, and in the community.

The expression of anger in some teenagers is more frequent and troubling to parents and teachers who happen to be witness to them. The teen's intense anger may boil over quickly and intensely in reaction to boundary setting by adults, as well as teasing or bullying or perceived criticism by peers or adults.

Left untreated, anger problems can grow into serious mental health issues, lead to restrictive interventions at school, or provoke legal difficulties. Early and effective intervention can be a key element in preventing ongoing emotional distress and negative consequences.

Too much anger can take a serious toll, both physically and emotionally to a teen as well as friends and family. Most teens can express their anger in appropriate forms in most situations, but still be ineffective in others. A therapeutic focus on anger management seeks to: p>

  • Normalize and treat anger from a practical and developmental perspective
  • Identify the often hidden sources of anger, as well as stressors and triggers that maintain the cycle of anger
  • Develop healthy behavioral and emotional redirection of feelings, rather than use control approaches that hinder emotional expression and recreate frustration
  • Help parents model and reinforce successful use of positive anger coping skills
Of course, everyone gets angry. But sometimes anger can make us say and do things that we don't really mean. In doing therapy with anger management for teens, the therapist focuses on educating the teen on how to release anger in safe ways, so that no one gets hurt.

Dr. Randi Fredricks, Ph.D., is an author, researcher, and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (#47803) in San Jose, California. She works with teenagers and adults with anxiety, depression, addiction, and eating disorders. To learn more about Dr. Fredricks' work, visit

Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.
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