I have been noticing that many teens are struggling with the inability to regulate their emotions.
Is your teen unable to shift gears in response to your requests or a change in plans, becoming overwhelmed in situations that require flexibility and adaptability?
An emotionally explosive teen doesn’t lack motivation to comply with adult requests or rules, but rather struggles with an inability to tolerate frustration and soothe themselves. They often become irrational in response to frustration, thus unable to think of ways of resolving conflicts in ways that are mutually satisfying.
These teens can even act verbally and physically aggressive. Their explosive meltdowns may seem to occur out of the blue, with often no clear explanation for their extreme reaction. Emotionally explosive teens often tend to perceive the world as one filled with frustration. They feel misunderstood, and overwhelmed by their challenges, and rewards or punishments will not work in attempting to motivate these teens.
Treatment of explosive teenagers depends on understanding the contributing conditions that are present. A psycho-social assessment can help uncover precipitating factors, and point the way towards next steps. Helping parents create a “frustration-friendly” environment by identifying and addressing frustrations that lead to meltdowns, will also create the space necessary for me to help your teen move beyond their defensive stance to learn the coping strategies necessary to deal with their frustrations.
(Acknowledging Dr. Ross Greene)
Taking the Trouble out of the Teen Years
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