How to calm down an angry teenager

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Community Manager

How to calm down an angry teenager

This week we thought we'd talk about how to support a teenager who is feeling angry -and how to calm them down or de-escalate the situation. 


ReachOut has an article on this over here with a heap of resources and tips that you might want to check out. 


Some of the top tips are shown in these infographs: 


A three tile comic strip giving the following tips: Check the door is clear, increase your physical distance, keep your body language neutral


A comic strip with three panels listing the following tips: Check in with yourself first, take some quiet breaths, debrief with someone after

And a few more tips:

  • Use a neutral tone of voice.
  • Be respectful, even when calling for help. Remember that the person is probably feeling some shame and guilt, along with their anger, and will be very sensitive to any imagined insult.


A comic strip with three panels listing the following tips: Listen and let them finish talking, together count back from 10, think about your language - I statements, try validate their feelings, specific questions


If you’re having trouble with de-escalation, you can also get help from a ReachOut Parents coach. They can support you to come up with an action plan for the different scenarios you might find yourself in.


If the person has calmed down a bit, it’s best not to launch straight into a discussion. Instead, do something together that you’ll both enjoy or that will help further calm the situation, such as having a snack, playing a video game or going for a walk. Afterwards, you can start to try and figure out what triggered their anger and how they’re feeling about it now. ReachOut has created an anger diary that you could both use to help you break the anger cycle. 


What are you top tips on calming down an angry teen? What's worked? What hasn't? 



Community Manager

Re: How to calm down an angry teenager

I am going to tag a few parents here who have spoken about teen anger in the last month @cryingmum18 @lizard0812 @Dotty
Casual scribe

Re: How to calm down an angry teenager

Thank allot its very nice and important tips
Community Manager

Re: How to calm down an angry teenager

Really glad to hear these tips have been helpful @Lara_89! Have you tried anything in your home that helps with calming down an angry teen?

We would love to hear your thoughts!
Prolific scribe

Re: How to calm down an angry teenager

We have a very angry teen. Using the Reach out coaching was great. It provided specific strategies my wife and I could use when he became angry and aggressive. 


Using the language of “I feel very ....upset / frightened etc..... when you ..... are swear ta me / yell at me ...... etc”

this was very effective at first. If you are in this situation, I strongly recommend both parents or carers engage in the Reachout Coaching offered. 


That worked for for a while, till he employed other strategies to negate the ones we were using. Very canny. We ended up taking out a Family Violence Restraining Order. That was the only solution we could find after a long period of continued escalation. 


Fast forward 2 years and we now believe that he was reacting badly to coming down off drugs. This may seem like a fine point, however our language at the time was “have you taken drugs, or  are you affected by drugs?” He would always deny this. In some ways he was telling the truth in his eyes. As now we believe the anger occurred on the way down, maybe a day or two later after the drug use. So he could in a limited way claim it was not caused by what he had taken, at least in his narrow view. 

Super frequent scribe

Re: How to calm down an angry teenager

I have read these tips & fact sheets but when my son tells me "he's so f'ing pissed off & angry because of something" - his words, he won't tell me what has happened to make him angry (I know it likely has to do with something one of his "friends" has said), I don't know how to calm him down because he won't & probably can't talk to me (because he's so angry). What scares me is him talking about hitting walls. At the moment he can't because the last time he did he really hurt his hand. We went to the hospital & had it x-rayed & luckily it wasn't broken. All I can do is calmly ask him what is wrong. It makes me feel sick when he talks about hitting walls. We are supposed to go to headspace for our initial intake session tomorrow. I hope he comes along.
Super frequent scribe

Re: How to calm down an angry teenager

I have told my son it scares me when he talks like that eg. Talking about punching walls when he's angry.
How is your son handling his anger now?
Community Manager

Re: How to calm down an angry teenager

Hey there @Nikkita

I'm sorry to hear about your son talking about hitting walls. It can be distressing to hear those we love talk about possibly hurting themselves. Sometimes people find hitting things helpful in releasing their anger, while it can absolutely be worrying when it's something hard, do you think finding something soft or a punching bag might be an option for you and your son? 


You also mentioned going to a headspace intake appointment today, how did it go? 


I'm also gong to tag in some other members for their advice, you're more than welcome to make a thread too if you'd like Smiley Happy

@cryingmum18 @Dotty @Orbit64 @sunflowermom @compassion @lizard0812 

Super frequent scribe

Re: How to calm down an angry teenager

Headspace intake was ok. I was worried if my son wouldn't talk when I left the room but I was told he engaged well. She is concerned about him & has said she would mark him as a priority. Counselling sessions can take 4-6 weeks. I hope they can see him sooner.
Yes I've thought of a standing punching bag (I rent & there is no where to put up a bag).
I'm really worried about my son. He "seems ok" & then he'll tell me he's having dark thoughts. I know that's the depression & he's probably thinking life will be like this forever (negative thoughts re depression when you can't foresee good changes).
I tell him I love him & I believe he will have a bright future (he doesn't see that at the moment).
I don't know if the stress of assignments & exams has been too much. He didn't even know about a science assignment so he knows he will fail that. He hasn't really done any study outside of school, I don't know if he can concentrate (I know sometimes he can't & other times he's not motivated).
It's hard to make someone believe their life is worth something when they are so down.
He says hanging out with his friends help to distract him.
Thanks for listening.
Community Manager

Re: How to calm down an angry teenager

Hi there @Nikkita , its so good to hear that you went to the headspace intake, and that your son engaged well. Hopefully this means he is open to getting help, and will benefit from the counselling sessions. 

Don't underestimate the support and love you are giving to him - it sounds like you are being a wonderful parent, doing all that you can. The study at that age can be really overwhelming for many young people.  

It's good to hear too that he is able to be distracted from his feelings when he is with his friends. 


Keep letting us know how he's going, and how you're coping. Here to listen