The teenage years are designed for your child to develop their independence – part of which is being able to assert and express themselves. This might look like your teen raising their voice, talking back, or even slamming a door. While some boundary-pushing is to be expected in adolescence, parents may be concerned about the increasing frequency of their child’s angry outbursts. Many parents feel helpless when their child is experiencing anger issues as they are afraid to add fuel to the fire. If your teen’s anger feels out of control, wilderness therapy may be a great way to help them learn healthier anger management techniques.
Why Are Anger Issues Common in Teenagers?
There’s a stereotype that adolescence is marked by anger and rebellion, but this isn’t always true. Dealing with anger from your teenager can often feel complicated. The transition from adolescence to young adulthood is a challenging time, and it can be hard to discern what is “normal” and what is not.
Teens with anger issues may struggle with a variety of issues including:
- Family conflict
- School performance
- Trauma (divorce, violence, bullying, etc.)
- Peer pressure
- Low self-esteem
Two main factors are responsible for anger: internal causative factors and external causative factors. Internal factors can be related to feelings of loss or victimization, whereas external factors include public opinion and provocation. While anger is a normal human emotion, a high frequency and intensity of anger, and inability of either the angry individual or other people to calm the anger can cause a lot of conflict in relationships. When teens with anger issues reach a boiling point, it can be difficult for them to regulate any of their emotions, not just anger.
Why Is My Teen Struggling to Manage Their Anger?
Anger is commonly referred to as a “secondary emotion”. This means that there is typically another emotion underlying the response of anger, but that expressing anger feels safer than expressing the true – and often more vulnerable – emotion or feeling. Many times, the child or teen might not even realize that they are expressing anger because there is something else bothering them.
One reason that teens often seem so angry is that they struggle with knowing how to express their anger and communicate their emotions with others. Anger is often experienced on a physical level and brings up a lot of tension in one’s body that leads teens to feeling closed off from others. Teens are often not taught that there is a wide spectrum of normal human humans. Instead, they associate negative physical sensations with destructive emotions that should be avoided, rather than named and worked through. When a teen becomes more aware of their emotions and stops trying to resist them, they are more receptive to learning better ways to manage their emotions.
Why Does Wilderness Therapy Help Teens With Anger Issues?
Many parents are concerned that sending their teen to a treatment program will only add to their anger management issues. However, the power of a wilderness environment is that it helps teenagers slow down and be in the present, rather than jumping to conclusions or ruminating on past unresolved conflict. Adventure-based wilderness programs also offer constructive ways for teens to channel their anger and energy into something more productive.
Wilderness therapy demonstrates to teens that acting out of anger or defiance will not get them anywhere. Instead of lecturing or punishing teens, wilderness therapy programs utilize natural consequences to demonstrate this in a way they understand. For example, if a teen refuses to hike for the day or takes frequent breaks out of protest, they may not get to the next appropriate campsite until dark. While they may intend to direct their anger towards their staff or peers, ultimately, they realize that their anger affects them as well. The goal of learning anger management techniques isn’t necessarily to gain respect for others, it is to be able to resolve internal conflicts and reduce feelings of tension, which indirectly improve relationships with others.
Another aspect that sets wilderness therapy apart from other residential treatment programs is that teens develop a stronger sense of accomplishment and self-efficacy. Participating in adventure activities helps teens build evidence that they are capable of overcoming obstacles and achieving more than they believed they could. The confidence that your angry teen gains will help them adopt a more positive outlook and lower their vulnerability to stress.
blueFire Wilderness Can Help
blueFire Wilderness is a wilderness therapy program for teens, ages 11 to 17, grappling with depression, bullying, anxiety, ADHD, smartphone addiction, and other emotional or behavioral problems. We understand that dealing with a lying teenager is difficult and challenging for the whole family, but we’re here to guide you through it. We incorporate adventure therapy and family therapy into the program to help students build confidence, improve communication skills, and gain leadership skills that help them repair relationships and rebuild trust with their parents. Our goal is to help teenagers rediscover their inner spark.
For more information about anger management treatment at blueFire Wilderness, please call 1 (844) 413-1999 today.