Managing emotions: How can I support my son who is having trouble managing his emotions at school?

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Managing emotions: How can I support my son who is having trouble managing his emotions at school?



               Ask a Child and Family Professional

Question:How can I support my son who is having trouble managing his emotions at school and keeps lashing out?


A helpful tip to understanding teenage behaviour is considering the teen brain. Fully developed adult brains have the capacity to be logical and rational. Teen brains’ thought patterns, however, are often emotional and
irrational, resulting in teens’ experiencing bigger emotions.  Therefore it’s important that we support them
in a non-judgmental way.    

Teenagers can make irrational assumptions, which can result in aggressive or disruptive behaviours at school, especially if the teen doesn’t know how to remain calm and emotionally regulate. It’s difficult as
parents to support this in school, but by supporting them at home this learning can be transferred to the school setting.

Taking time and giving our teens the space to explain their perspective gives ourselves a better opportunity to connect with our teen and understand their motivations. We then show our teens that we can support them rather than trying to solve their problems or “fix” them, as we don’t take away their ability to practice and implement their own solutions.

Take the perspective that you don’t have all the answers and ask simple questions of your teen:


  • I wish that I knew how to ….
  • I don’t know how to do that, how would you do that?
  • Nice Idea! What could we do differently?
  • What can I do to help? 

As a parent you may know how to do something faster,  smarter, better…. But it’s the learning that is important for a teen. They need the practice at solving problems. Teenagers still need our help and support though. As parents we can engage our rational brain and stay calm to support them when they are irrational and overly emotional.

Schools are a fantastic source of support. Ask who the best point of contact is at your child’s school. A guidance officer, counsellor or deputy principal are all great places to start. Another good support is to
speak with your teen, they may be able to identify a good mentor or someone at school that they respect. This person can be a great source of information as well as a point of contact for you.

Child and Family Professional at The Benevolent Society

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