While aggression is more commonly seen as something that occurs in men, teenage girls can also act aggressively toward themselves or others. There are many different outlets for aggression, and not all are obvious. Parents can intervene and try to stop this behavior before it affects a teenage girl's school and work environment, or her friendships.
External Causes of Aggression
The teenage landscape can be a difficult one to navigate. A girl who is aggressive may have many influences, including being bullied at school, according to TeensHealth, part of the KidsHealth.org child-development site. Teenage girls may become aggressive to ward off bullies or to regain a sense of power after being bullied. A home environment in which other people are aggressive can also influence aggressive behavior in girls. The aggressive behavior may be direct, such as name-calling or fighting, or it may include passive-aggressive insults or attempts to exclude others from the group, according to the National Association of School Psychologists.
Internal Causes of Aggression
If a teen develops aggressive behavior over time, something may be happening internally to cause it. Depression can cause irritable and aggressive behavior in girls, and more than one in 13 adolescents suffer from depression, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Anger or resentment toward family members or friends can also cause aggressive behavior. If your daughter seems sad, withdrawn, or uninterested in school, work or hobbies, she may be suffering from depression.
Keep notes of your daughter's aggressive behavior and arrange a calm time for everyone to talk for the best results. You might want to say, "I've noticed that you often throw things and push your brother when you get angry." This can give your daughter an opening to talk. Finding ways to help her manage her anger, like teaching her to walk away from a situation if it gets too heated, could be beneficial to your daughter, according to the Center for Young Women's Health, a project of Boston Children's Hospital. Exercise, music, writing, drawing or taking a nap could also help your teen handle her aggression.
Getting Additional Help
Some teenage girls may not respond to a parent's intervention, and aggressive behavior may continue. In some cases, a teenage girl's aggressive behavior will escalate to physically hurting others or vandalizing property, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. When things get to that level, take your daughter for evaluation by a specialist in child behavior. A doctor can recommend specialists in your area. If your daughter's aggression may be fueled by depression, a doctor can also evaluate her and provide additional support.
- Center for Young Women's Health: Anger Management
- Healthy Children: Depression
- KidsHealth: Assertiveness
- KidsHealth: How can I Deal with my Anger?
- Education: Indirect Aggression Amongst Teenage Girls and How Parents Can Help
- National Association of School Psychologists: Girls Bullying Girls
- KidsHealth: Dealing with Bullying
- Center for Young Women's Health: Counseling and Therapy
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images