As my school coaching work increases so does the number of students that come to me with anger related issues. Most of them feel very despondent, frustrated and aggrieved and are struggling to find the motivation required for their daily routine. The common causes are home, school or friendship circles.
In my experience, it is very important to establish rapport and build a relationship of trust as quickly as possible. This then creates an environment that teenagers feel comfortable with and are more likely to open up the lines of communication.
Identifying the signs of anger and recognising early warning signals is essential if they are to create a successful strategy on how to cope with anger in the future. The signs of anger generally fall into three categories, physical, mental and other. Some of the physical signs are:
- Fast heart beat
- Clenched fists
- Stomach pains
- Tense muscles
- Tight chest
Quite often, the student identifies that they experience most of the physical signs of anger. Accepting this fact is a major step forward towards learning how to cope and mange their anger.
The next step is getting them to understand the difference between what is an annoyance, an inconvenience and a real reason to get mad. Using non-directional coaching questions enables me to get my student to talk about their anger and how and what they feel about it. Once they understand that anger is an emotion and it is okay to feel angry then some of the pressure they have been carrying starts to lift. Most young people feel that they should not get angry and feel disappointment when they do.
The real breakthrough comes when they realise that it is how they respond to anger and the action they take, which really matters. Getting them to accept that feelings are neither right nor wrong and that people behave and interpret information differently is so important if they are to respond correctly and avoid conflict.
Most young people feel that they have no choice and control over their life and that adults make all the decisions whether that be at home or at school. By giving them the opportunity to talk about their education, hobbies, home-life, core values and beliefs, they start to identify what they do have responsibility for and the choices available to them. In my experience, anger and frustration decreases when teenagers feel they are:
- Listened to
- Included in discussions
- Treated in a fair manner
- Given choices
If you know a teenager that is experiencing these issues then please feel free to contact me. In next week’s post I will cover some “Techniques for Managing Anger”. Have an outstanding week and enjoy the sunshine and the lighter evenings.