tantrums

Why teenagers throw tantrums and how to stop them

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When you think of a teenager, you associate them with anger, screaming, rudeness, replying back, revolting and mood swings. You can’t associate a teenager with humility, humour, happiness, health and politeness. It is said ‘‘Teenagers are the most misunderstood people on earth. They are treated like children and expected to act like adults.’’ These teenagers display ‘Teen Tantrums’ which can drive parents, teachers and even friends are crazy.

What are these ‘Teen Tantrums’, a teenager shows his frustration by throwing fits of anger?  Both sexes whether boys or girls throw these tantrums. They can be verbal or physical tantrums. They might shout, show anger, throw things, sulk, refuse to eat or talk and sometimes in rare cases may try to harm themselves. It is a trying time for parents and teachers. The sweet-natured child has overnight metamorphosed into a vicious devil.

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The teenager just rants and screams and no amount of explaining gets into his head. The teenager only tries to prove his point and creates a drama if his views are not given importance. Peer pressure and consuming a large amount of junk food makes these teenagers malnourished and irritable, so they are prone to throwing tantrums. At times if a teenager starts consuming drugs or alcohol they may start throwing these tantrums and it can be alarming.

These tantrums are a part of their transition into adulthood. Teenagers have boundless energy but have no proper channel to harness this energy, so it comes out in the form of tantrums. They live in a utopian world of their own, which is perfect in every sense and any kind of interference or reprimanding can create problems in this self-created utopian world. Criticism of any kind can create a scud missile explosion. Parents are always on tenterhooks fearing the outburst at the very slightest provocation. They feel it is the raging hormones during adolescence which causes these sudden tantrums. But there is nothing to fear as these tantrums have a scientific explanation and as teenagers outgrow their teens these automatically stop.

This takes place because the adolescent brain has not fully developed. Brains continue to mature and develop throughout childhood and adolescence and well into early adulthood. Science has proved that a specific region of the brain amygdala responsible for fear and aggressive behaviour develops early but the frontal cortex the area of the brain which controls reasoning and proper thinking develops late. This part of the brain develops and matures well into adulthood. So teenagers keep trying to establish their identity.

Due to less development of a frontal area, these teenagers are impulsive, fighter cocks,  engage in risky behaviour and do not think of consequences before they act.

So instead of getting worked up parents and teachers can follow these steps to stop these tantrums—

  • Showing empathy towards teenagers
  • Listen to them with an open mind
  • Offer an alternative solution
  • Don’t abuse them
  • Apologize if need be
  • Encourage them to express their feelings
  • Give them approval where required but at the same time be stern so that there is no emotional blackmailing.
  • Be clear about rules and regulations
  • Reassure them
  • Be a friend, philosopher and guide
  • Motivate them but don’t keep high expectations

Following these simple rules can help parents bond better with their teenagers through their teenage years and keep tantrums at bay.

-Dr.PREETI TALWAR

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6 thoughts on “Why teenagers throw tantrums and how to stop them”

  1. To be a mom to a teen has taken a toll on me too…whlile kids can’t handle peer pressure ..moms are often under pressure of being judged for their child’s behaviour and it sucks! Thank you Preeti for this blog!?

  2. Dear Nigar
    I am happy that you have managed to get some solution for these so called tantrums. Thanks for liking, it is just a phase which will pass be patient.Happy Parenting

  3. Thanks Prerna for liking the post,in the near future too I will bring out more posts on parenting. Look out for them

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