According to research conducted by the United States Congress Joint Economic Committee, domestic violence cases have increased. Domestic violence isn’t just between two partners but can include different family members, including troubled teens.
This article will help you understand why teens get into a state of crisis. It will also provide some tips to de-escalate a situation at home with an out of control teen.
Please remember, if you’re in an emergency crisis and there is a threat to you and your family’s safety, please call 911. This article is on tips for crisis management and not cases where there is a significant threat to your safety. Additionally, while these articles can provide recommendations on de-escalating a crisis, your out of control teen would benefit from a residential treatment center. At Help Your Teen Now, we can help you and your family find the right residential treatment center. These centers would be better able to help your control teen with prevention and not just de-escalation.
Why teens might become out of control
A teen might become out of control for a variety of reasons. Here are some common reasons why a teen might become difficult to manage or angry.
Your troubled teen might not have a good relationship with you
Your out of control teen might not have a good relationship with you. This means that rather than feeling like you care about them and that you’re genuinely listening, your teen might feel like one of the ways they can get your attention is by acting out.
If your teen feels like their negative behavior gets them more attention than their positive behavior, then they might turn to angry outbursts and rage as a way of getting the attention that they want.
Rather than focusing on their bad behavior, call attention to when your teen is doing things right. You should also cultivate a relationship with them so that they know that you truly care about them.
Your troubled teen might have an underlying mental illness
Sometimes, your out of control teen’s behavior might be a sign of an underlying mental illness or disorder. For example, teens with autism sometimes become irritated when they feel like they cannot express themselves. These teens’ irritation might manifest itself as angry outbursts. Likewise, teens with borderline personality disorder, anxiety, depression, and even bipolar disorder might turn to anger as a way of coping with their illness.
If you suspect that your teen might have a mental illness, consider getting them clinically-licensed professional help. With the help of a mental health practitioner or residential treatment center, you and your teen would learn how to manage the mental illness in a healthier way.
Your troubled teen might be struggling with substance abuse
Another culprit for an out of control teen might be underlying substance abuse. For example, because substances can induce things like rage and angry outbursts, the DSM-5, a manual used by mental health professionals, always encourages ruling out substances as a cause for misbehavior. Because substances are mind-altering, they can also alter your teen’s behavior and make your teen more difficult to get along with.
As with a mental illness, if you suspect substance abuse is behind your teen’s angry outbursts, reach out to a mental health professional. A therapeutic boarding school, in particular, might be helpful for your troubled teen.
What to do during a state of crisis
Once you’ve ruled out the three causes of a teen’s angry outbursts that we just mentioned, here are some tips that you can use to de-escalate a crisis.
Again, if you suspect that your teen poses a threat to you and your family’s safety, call 911.
Tip #1: Let your teen vent
One of the critical aspects of crisis management is being able to listen. Sometimes, when a person is angry, we might say things like, “Calm down” or “Hey, this is all going to be okay.” But as we know, these types of statements don’t work. Instead, the best thing that you can do is let your teen vent.
Here are some things that you can do as you listen to show that your listening:
- Repeat what you think you’ve heard to the best of your ability. For example, “I’m hearing that your mom and I made a mistake by not allowing you to go out with your friends. From what I gather, you feel like we’re controlling you. Is that correct?”
- Use “I” statements rather than “You” statements. As the example above shows, using “I” statements shifts the focus from everything you feel like your teen is doing wrong to focusing on how your teen’s behavior is impacting you and them. “You” statements tend to put other people on the defense, whereas “I” statements do not.
Tip #2: monitor your body language
Besides being able to listen, another important aspect of de-escalating a crisis is monitoring your body language. As you shift how you talk to your teen into a more positive and caring tone, your body language is also important. So, have an open and neutral expression on your face. Avoid things like holding your hand on your hip, pointing, and other accusatory gestures.
Another essential thing is mirroring but not copying your teen’s emotional state. For example, if they’re having an angry outburst because they’re sad, you should not be smiling or making light of the situation. Mirroring is different from copying in that you’re not using an angry tone because your teen’s angry. Instead, you’re acknowledging how your teen is feeling in your body language.
Tip #3: focus on the sin and not the sinner
As you talk to your teen, another essential aspect is focusing on, as the saying goes, the sin and not the sinner. This means that rather than blaming an angry outburst on your teen and who they are, focus on why angry outbursts and rage are unhealthy ways of coping with stress, uncertainty, and other emotions that can trigger rage.
The point is to help your teen understand that it’s their reaction that is the problem and not them.
Consider a residential treatment center for the crisis management you need
Anger is often a sign of our rights being violated or signs of substance abuse and mental illness. So, it’s important to consider long-term solutions to help your troubled teen.
At Help Your Teen Now, we can help you and your family find the right residential treatment center for you and your family. With the help of fully-licensed mental health professionals at these centers, your teen would identify the roots of their anger. They would also learn how to cope with their anger and rage effectively.
Reach out to us for more information on the center that might be right for you and your family.