There is a terrible stigma around the emotion of anger, however, anger is a normal and valid emotion that we all feel at some point in our lives.
However, it is usually an emotion that is attributed to men. There are many causes for this, however, we have to understand that part of this is down to society’s failings.
Men and violence are often found in the same sentence, or at least more than women and violence.
The Biggest Culprit
Half of this issue is down to us.
Society told men that it was wrong to cry, that it makes them weak, not to show emotions, that it makes them seem less strong and mainly if they do.
What does this cause? Well, have you ever bottled up your emotions, until you burst? This is half of the issue.
Often men do not feel safe enough to express their feelings, and so they bottle it up and eventually explode, and instead of tears and vulnerability, it comes out as anger and aggression.
This is even true in teens.
You might have parented him well and shown him it is okay for boys to cry, but if he cries in school, others may poke fun at him, and he may get bullied for it.
This is one of the biggest issues in society, it is why anger and men are closely attributed to one another, and why male suicide rates are higher than female suicide rates.
So, today, we hope to explain this to you, so you can have a better understanding of this and protect yourself and your son when his anger comes out.
What Causes Anger Issues In Teenagers?
Understand Anger & Hostility In Teens
The first thing you need to do is understand anger in teens. It is not without a cause.
Anger doesn’t just come out of thin air, there has to be a reason for it.
There are many things that cause this emotion in teens, and this is something that is unique to every teen, as we are learning about life in our teen years we process things differently, and we are learning how to manage new emotions.
Some teens will experience anger when they come across a new emotion because it is simply the only way they can process it.
Especially with negative emotions and stress. Sometimes anger is also a symptom of a mental health issue, trauma, or stress.
Here are some things that may trigger anger in your teen:
- Grief/ Death of a loved one.
- Conflict in the family.
- Low self-esteem/ self view (see also: How Do You Help Your Teenager Find Themselves?).
- Abuse/ Bullying.
- Adoption/ issues around being adopted.
- Substance abuse.
- Bullying/ persistent peer pressure.
We must also consider Depression, ADHD, ODD, Anxiety, C-PTSD, and more than being the cause of anger issues in teens.
Disorders and mental health issues can often be attributed to social skill issues, impulse control, and being able to control oneself.
The Teen Brain & Anger
The teenage brain needs full development of their pre-frontal lobe in order for them to be able to make different and mature decisions, and so as teens are often not fully developed, their automatic response will usually be their first choice.
When most of us come face to face with a threatening or upsetting situation our brains will react either in flight response (to run away), freeze response (to suppress feelings), or to fight (verbal/ physical conflict/ anger).
The threat center of the brain is larger in males, and with the emotional intensity of puberty ranked up to full it can be easy to see why anger will be so common.
Let’s not forget testosterone being added into the mix.
In teen boys you basically have a not fully developed prefrontal cortex, puberty, social challenges, stress, and the added in testosterone.
Anger will be common in teenage boys simply for this reason.
A teen boy could easily feel threatened by something that is not a threat, such as banter, or a failed attempt at playful jostling and as a result they will fight, fly, or freeze.
In many boys, however, due to testosterone, fight is usually the first choice reaction.
How Men & Women Process Things Differently
Of course, if we circle back to our original statement that society’s expectations of males are wrong and half of the influence of anger we reach the differences in men and women.
Of course, women are taught from a young age that crying and expressing feelings is normal and okay, so women are generally more in touch with their sensitive side.
Let’s also not forget that girls develop faster than boys do.
This does not just mean physically, but emotionally as well.
It is said that the female brain is fully developed at 21 years old, but for men this is not until they are 25, and sometimes older.
This means that from a young age not only are women encouraged to be more in-touch with their emotions than men are, but their brains also develop faster than men’s do to be more emotionally mature younger.
Women also process emotions differently anyway.
Men move emotions from brain to body quickly, so when a boy is upset they will kick, hit, or shove, which explains the physical viciousness of boys when they are upset.
Women, however, will usually cry, or use verbal conflict instead. Hence, why women are perceived as being more ‘catty’.
There is a lot of anger in adolescent boys, especially in the boys who are told that being angry is okay, but that sadness or fear is not okay.
For the most part, boys are biologically going to be more angry and aggressive than women will be.
However, it is continuous, or too often, there may be an underlying issue.
Remember, no emotion appears out of nowhere, if a boy is extremely angry, they may have experienced something traumatic, have a mental health issue, or they have been experiencing bullying, or an unsafe environment.
Always look to the cause first.