When teens struggle with mental illness, behavioral issues or emotional challenges, it can be very frustrating for them to deal with stressful situations as well as authority figures. Often, troubled teens feel that there is no other way to resolve a problem than by violence and aggression. If you are the parent of an aggressive teenager and are worried about escalating violence against you and other family members, it’s time to master some of the tools you need to relieve violent teen behavior.
Why Teens Get Violent
When most people get frustrated, they utilize a range of coping skills to deal with the stress, anger and disappointment they feel. Some of the more common coping mechanisms include telling a friend or family member about the stress, exercise, a change of scenery or even screaming into a pillow.
Troubled teens do not use common coping strategies and resort to violence instead. That’s because when people are stressed, they have a lot of energy building up and need to release it. In
troubled teenagers, that release comes through violence. They don’t even need to be exposed to others who are violent to turn toward these tendencies when they are frustrated. As a parent, you need to look at the reasons behind the aggression and realize that your teen is often reacting out of fear, worry, frustration and an inability to solve problems. It’s at that point when teens turn to threats, aggressive body language, and sometimes physical violence.
What Can Parents Do?
Helping your violent teen to scale back their behavior is no easy task, but there are several things that you can do to help. Whether it is cutting back in some areas or standing your ground in others, here are 5 tips on relieving a teen's violent behavior:
1. Model appropriate behavior in stressful situations. Teens learn about coping from trusted authority figures like parents, relatives and teachers. Showing proper conflict resolution behavior will help them take more positive steps.
2. Provide appropriate outlets for frustration. Encourage your teen to take out his frustration in other ways. Suggest exercise like sit-ups, running, lifting weights or hitting a punching bag. Other outlets include taking a walk, playing with a pet, listening to music or just isolating themselves until they calm down.
3. Don’t engage in power struggles. Sometimes, parents and teens argue because they want to win or control the other. As the adult, parents can choose to walk away and not engage. If there is nobody to argue with, your troubled teen’s feelings and aggression won’t escalate. It doesn’t mean there are no consequences for your teen, but instead it gives both parties a small break before re-engaging.
4. Set consequences and follow through. During a relatively calm time, discuss consequences of violence with your teen. Explain that physical violence between family members is, in fact, domestic violence and is a crime. Explain that if your teen ever gets violent, you will call the police. Then, if and when teen violence actually happens, make the phone call.
5. Seek out professional help. There are plenty of licensed therapists and therapeutic boarding schools that work with troubled teens who have violent tendencies. Resolving any behavioral disorders, mental health issues or emotional trauma will go a long way toward reducing and even eliminating your teen’s aggression.
When parents get involved in their troubled teen’s life and try to work out ways to help them reduce their frustrations and cope better, it makes a big difference in their behavior and their future. Cutting back in certain areas of confrontation and escalation really will help curb a violent teen's behavior.