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Teen Anger | What Could It Mean?

Teen Anger | What Could It Mean?


Adolescence can be a fun stage life, but it’s not all the time. Certain hormones will surge to trigger immense physical changes, which in turn may increase many teen’s self-awareness and self-consciousness. New forming brain connections happen so fast, that their increasing understanding can become confused, even overwhelm them. They will begin to seek their own self-identity and may struggle to gain their independence. Their desire to establish relationships outside their families will start to take centerstage. All these can open the floodgate of unfamiliar and raw emotions.

Indeed, adolescence comes with huge changes and challenges. Some teens seem to glide through the phase successfully, albeit not very easily. Some struggle with it more painfully. Yet, not every young boy or girl knows how to rein in their feelings. Your child could be among them, releasing their misunderstood emotions in unhealthy ways, such as anger.

You may not look at anger as a troubling issue. After all, it is just a natural emotion expressed by all people.  Besides, anger can seem like a second skin worn by teenagers, along with the tendency to rebel. The logic, however, doesn’t seem right, especially when your child’s anger is unusually extreme, or often and intense, mostly unfounded, and it is affecting their relationships in and outside the family.


What could their anger mean?


The Whys

 Overlooking your teen’s anger can be an easy thing to do, but that can lead to more misunderstanding and conflict in the home and about. Trivializing their behavior may also result in a worsening demeanor that’s more difficult to accept, “endangering” the future and success of their goals and activities. Parents do their best to unravel the “whys” of their child’s anger, which could be happening even without reasonable provocation.


So, what could be the reasons behind your teen’s anger? 


Take note, one out of every five teens, 20 percent, has anger issues. It is now widely held that it can be attributed to their surging hormones and the ensuing physical and neural changes in their bodies and brains. As their outside appearance change, so does their perception of themselves. One of the strongest influences of self-perception is their physical appearance.  If unable to accept certain physical attributes, such as their body image, their height, hair, skin, etc. they can develop a negative self-image or lowered self-esteem.

There are other issues that may concern them deeply and complicate their confusion and responses. Some of these are the desire to be accepted by their peers, developing crushes, homework and academic load, and extracurricular demands.  In addition, your teen may also have difficulties as they embark on a journey of self-discovery while working on their independence. If there are issues in the family – they perceive they are not loved or anger is a family culture – then anger can become a real possibility.


More Whys

Overloaded with all the challenges, it isn’t a surprise why adolescence can be an unduly difficult phase in your child’s life. According to, getting angry seems like a defensive mechanism to adjust and protect themselves from negative emotions, such as pain, sadness, fear, frustration, and overwhelm. They may also “act out when they feel rejected, and sometimes feelings of anger can turn into aggression.” They may express their turmoil in the forms of rebellion or breaking rules and going against their elder’s wishes.

While adolescents may seem to wear anger like a “second skin,” be warned that it can also be an indication of emotional turmoil brewing inside. While there are many reasons for a teen to be overwhelmed and angry, it can also be triggered by an emotional condition, such as depression, anxiety, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), bipolar disorder, etc. If anger is viewed lightly or inaccurately, it may spin downward, resulting in unhealthy or risky behaviors – smoking, drinking, and possibly experimenting with drugs.

Anger among teens may also be brought about by a deep emotional wound or scar, says the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP). “… some of these factors include, being the victim of physical abuse and/or sexual abuse, exposure to violence in the home and/or community, genetic (family heredity) factors, exposure to violence in media, combination of stressful family socioeconomic factors (poverty, severe deprivation, marital breakup, unemployment, loss of support from extended family) or brain damage from a head injury.”


Signs and Risks

The fact that anger seems to be a common reaction and defense mechanism of teenagers does not warrant that it be ignored. If they are incessantly conflicting with their parents, siblings and peers, constantly looking for a reason to argue, isolating themselves from people, and most especially if anger is out of control, your child might need help. Without the right help, the behavior may turn into other intensifying issues, such as sleeplessness, poor health, dipping school grades and performance, and more.

Without treatment, your adolescent child’s anger may get worse, particularly when it is triggered by an emotional condition or a past trauma. Their anger can begin to intensify. This doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s important to be vigilant and pay attention to warning signs. My Health Alberta says that it is usual for teens to exhibit signs or give hints. Among these are anger and aggressive behavior. AACAP also says that the following behaviors should be carefully evaluated: intense anger, frequent loss of temper or blow-ups, extreme irritability, extreme impulsiveness, and becoming easily frustrated.


Anger and aggression can be a result of intricate interaction or a blend of factors. According to AACAP, these factors include:


  • Previous aggressive or violent behavior
  • Being the victim of abuse
  • Exposure to violence in the home and/or community
  • Being the victim of bullying
  • Genetic (family heredity) factors
  • Exposure to violence in media (TV, movies)
  • Use of drugs and/or alcohol
  • Combination of stressful family socioeconomic factors (poverty, severe deprivation, marital breakup, single parenting, unemployment, loss of support from extended family)
  • Brain damage from head injury


Enough is Enough

Teenagers will continue to experience difficulties and they can emerge as well-adjusted, happy and productive adults. It is unlikely to completely go through the adolescent phase without feeling frustrated or exhibiting strong emotions.  It is, however, possible for them to decrease, even prevent, constant and unreasonable anger, aggression and violence. It is difficult to rein in anger, if it is being triggered by deep trauma or an emotional condition.

The key is to provide them the guidance and help they need and to take notice of their perceptions and opinions. It is also critical to provide the right professional help when needed. It may be time to seek assistance addressing your child’s anger issues. The best help around Cameron, North Carolina is the skilled assistance of a therapist independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – Cameron on Hwy 87, near Linden Oaks.

Seeking help from a counselor contracted with CCS-Cameron offers many benefits. The right-fit counselor can help your teen understand their anger and learn to channel it more constructively. If it is a result of a past trauma or a pervasive emotional condition, therapy may be the answer. In addition, this can contribute to your understanding your teen’s anger, what it may mean and where it is coming from. If enough is enough, then call today to make an appointment!

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services – Cameron, NC

Counties: Harnett County

Areas: Cameron NC, Linden Oaks NC, Sprout Springs NC, Anderson Creek NC, Olivia NC, Pineview NC, Johnsonville NC, Spring Lake NC

Zip Codes: 28326, 28327, 27332, 28394

Rose Thomas, MA, LPC, LCAS, NCC

Specializes in: (Ages 5+) Children, Teens, Individuals, Couples and Families. Anxiety, Depression, ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder, ADHD, Relationship Issues, Marriage Counseling, Parenting, PTSD/Trauma Recovery, Acute Stress Disorder, Adult Sexual Abuse Survivors, Adjustment Disorders, Depressive Disorders, Persistent Depressive Disorder, Bipolar and Related Disorders, Self-injurious/Self-Harm, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Separation Anxiety, Disruptive Disorders, Conduct Disorder, Marital Conflict and Discord, LGBT, Substance Use Disorders
 Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Tricare Prime, Tricare Select, Extra, Retired, Cash, HSA and FSA accepted (credit cards accepted)
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Specializes in: (Ages 4+) Children, Individuals, families, PTSD, Trauma, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Adjustment Disorder, ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, communication skills, and Parenting Skills, Behavior Management, Life transitions, Family Conflict, Difficulty Coping, Relationship Problems, Depression, Anxiety

InsuranceBCBSTricare, Cash, HSA and FSA accepted and Apple Pay

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Shirlisa Daniels, MS, LPC, NCC

Specializes in: (Ages 4+) Children, Teens, Adults and Individuals, Families, Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Panic Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, ODD, PTSD, Relationship Issues, Conflict Resolution and Life Transitions
Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Cash (credit cards accepted)
 Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

Holly Ring, LMFT

Specializes in: (Ages 7+) Adolescents, College Students, Individuals, Couples, and Families, Anxiety, Depression, Trauma (child and adult, TFCBT certified), Relationship Issues, Coping Skills, Adjustment Disorders, Life Transitions, Suicidal Ideation, Self-esteem, OCD, ADHD, Behavioral Issues, Parenting Skills, LGBTQ
Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Cash (credit cards accepted)
 Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

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