It’s normal for teens to get frustrated and angry at times as they navigate the difficult teenage years and learn how to control their emotions. However, you may be worried that your teen is taking their anger and frustration too far by becoming violent, whether it’s in the home, school or community. It can be hard to know if your teen is violent if you have not witnessed any violent actions, so here are some signs to look for if you are concerned your teen’s anger is getting out of control.
Your Teen Has Experienced Violence at the Hands of Others
If people have been violent towards your teen—peers, parents or anyone else—your teen may become violent towards others. A teen who has been the victim of violence may lash out at others as a coping mechanism, or they may act out in violence to intimidate others since they have seen others using violence successfully.
Your Teen Lacks Empathy
If your teen lacks empathy (the ability to understand and share the feelings of another), then your teen may be engaging in acts of violence. Teens who are empathetic tend not to be violent as they understand how badly it could hurt the other person and do not want to cause them any harm. On the other hand, teens who have no empathy want to inflict pain on another regardless of how much it will affect or hurt them.
Your Teen Has Trouble Controlling Their Anger
If your teen has trouble controlling their anger then they may become violent. While most teens feel angry from time to time, teens who cannot control their anger often cannot control their actions while they are angry and may act irrationally and violently when upset.
You’ve Noticed an Increase in Risk-Taking Behavior
Teenagers who regularly engage in risk-taking behaviors such as dangerous driving, irresponsible sexual behavior, substance abuse or criminal behavior may be more likely to commit violent acts. These teens have little regard for consequences and may act violently towards others as a result, since they do not care about how it may affect their own life if they are caught.
Your Teen Frequently Abuses Drugs or Alcohol
Teens who abuse drugs or alcohol on a regular basis may be committing acts of violence. Substances such as drugs or alcohol often decrease inhibitions and awareness, and can cause people who are aren’t normally violent to act out of character and hurt others.
You’ve Noticed Your Teen Threatening Others
If you’ve noticed your teen threatening anyone—you, another parent or family member, their friends or anyone else—with violent actions, your teen may be engaging in acts of violence towards other people.
Feature image: Atlas Green