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Pent Up Anger and Resentment in Teenagers

by Kathryn Hatter, studioD

While anger and frustration are part of the human existence, bottling up emotions is a recipe for teenage disaster. Unresolved and unexpressed, anger can easily turn to bitterness and resentment, which may create behavioral issues and other problems for an adolescent. Set your teen free of these unhappy emotions by teaching effective anger management skills.

Anger Repression

When a teen feels anger, the teenager may experience difficulty expressing it. In this situation, the teen may repress it over time so it builds and grows inside, states author and psychologist John M. Grohol, with the Psych Central website. While repressing anger, a teenager may isolate or withdraw from family and peer interaction. Repressed anger can also lead to depression, anxiety and risk-taking behavior. Eventually, the teenager may be unable to contain and control the repressed anger. You may discern that a teenager is repressing anger if you see behaviors including glaring, sulking, sarcasm, insults and door slamming.

Roots of Teen Anger

When teens show signs of pent-up anger, delving more deeply should show underlying feelings, according to a brochure published by the Alberta Health Services. Fear may stem from an abusive situation, trauma or parental struggles. Anger may also stem from frustration regarding a situation or issue. Anger may also result from a combination of underlying feelings.

Anger Management

Before pent-up anger leads to a regrettable and negative situation, give a teenager some guidelines for managing anger. Teach kids how to recognize signals that they are feeling angry -- a hot flush to the face, increased heart rate or clenched fists, for example. Your teen may need some help from you to recognize that the anger is happening, too. Once these signals show up, it’s time to express the angry feelings respectfully and effectively, instead of repressing them. Encourage your teen to use "I" statements to say what’s on her mind -- "I feel so frustrated when you won’t listen to me!" or "I get scared when you’re late." Listen and respond when you hear your teen trying to express anger appropriately.

Anger Disorder

If a teenager experiences anger over a period of time and does not have the skills or tools available to express it safely and effectively, it may grow into bitterness and resentment, states clinical psychologist Stephen Diamond, with the Psychology Today website. This repressed anger can grow into a rage that takes on either self-destructive or outwardly destructive energy. Aggressive and violent outbursts may occur with little provocation. A teenager showing signs of an anger disorder needs professional help.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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