We’ve all heard of the “terrible twos,” which sometimes range into the terrible threes, but what about the teenage years? What do we call those? In my opinion, the teenage years can be the hardest to manage. I attribute this to a mix of the raging hormones, which lead to those temper tantrums that often seemingly come out of nowhere. Even though it may get on your nerves, it’s important that your teens know you are there for them during these tricky times. You may be wondering how to handle your teen’s temper tantrums: well, here’s a list of tips for teen meltdowns and how to learn from them.
The pressures of schoolwork and their social life, plus raging hormones, can be enough to send a teen into a meltdown. When their world comes crashing down, it’s important that your teen knows that they can count on you to listen. Even if you don’t agree with what they are saying, it’s important to hear them out and engage with what they have to say so they do not have another reason to be upset or angry.
If you do this, in the future, your teen may be more keen on opening up now that they know that you will listen to them and make them feel heard; this may significantly reduce another meltdown or temper tantrum! For your teen, just knowing that they have someone to go to in order to vent or speak their minds can ease some angst.
2. Stay calm.
No matter how frustrating your teen’s meltdown may be, it’s important you remain calm: raising your voice or getting visibly upset with your teen can fuel the fire of their meltdown. It also can be frightening to your teen when they’re in bad shape and they see you react in a similar way.
Remember, remaining calm can have a positive impact on your teen, as they will likely be able to recover easily after seeing and hearing how calm you are!
3. Look for signs of stress: it can prevent meltdowns!
Recognize what triggers your teen’s emotions and what particular situations can cause their meltdowns. It’s just like when they were in their “terrible twos”! Pay attention to their mood; if they seem depressed or anxious, you should ask them if there’s anything going on that you can help with.
If you feel some much-needed family time would help your teen with their stress, but often find yourself way too busy to fit anything in, check out this blog, “Squeezing in Family Time in a Busy Life,” for some tips and tricks.
Meltdowns can be prevented if you’re able to recognize that something in your teen’s mood has changed. Be sure to always check in with your teen and ask them how they are doing. They may simply say “good” or “fine,” even if they’re not, but you’re still showing them that you care about their well-being. This reminds them that you’re there for them and showing up to support them, which can make a tremendous difference in their lives.
4. Provide reassurance but be firm: it’s all about balance!
When your teen has a meltdown, nine times out of ten, you’re not going to agree with how they’re handling the situation; however, it's important to provide reassurance to your teen that what they are going through is valid and that they will get through it!
After their meltdown is over, don’t be afraid to let them know that how they handled the situation was not the best way to deal with their emotions; provide them with other ways and outlets for addressing the next crisis-mode situation differently.
5. Provide assurance that you’ll be there when they need to talk.
As a teen, I always felt safe going to either of my parents if I ever needed to talk. Because of my experience, I suggest telling your teen that they can come to you for anything they need to talk about; knowing that you are there for them can ease their anxiety and apprehension, which will reduce the chances of them throwing a temper tantrum.
Teen temper tantrums are part of growing up!
I bet many of us look back and remember being a teenager, being annoyed with our parents, and giving them quite a hard time. In that, it’s important to remember that the meltdowns and temper tantrums that your teen is experiencing is part of growing up.
It can be discouraging and frustrating, but try to remember that most of it isn’t personal: your teen is simply being a teen! The most important advice that I can give you is to make sure your teen knows you are there for them because it can truly make a difference in both their attitudes and their lives.