Tuesday, November 14, 2017

I'm living With A Crazy Person

Getting caught off guard by the emotional drama of your teen's life can be unsettling. Unsuspecting parents, sitting down for a relaxing night of TV can be rocked by the swear laden screaming tirade heard coming from the vicinity of their teen's bedroom. Here are some possible causes:

  •  Their phone dropped on the floor, and it pissed them off
  • They hate doing their homework, and their text book fell on the floor and it pissed them off.
  • You asked them a question, any question, and it pissed them off.
  • They want to go out and wear their favorite pair of jeans which are scrunched up in  a ball in the corner of the room stained with the ketchup from the burger they ate last weekend. Of course it is your fault the jeans are stained, in the corner of their room, and unwashed. They are pissed off. 
  • They open the refrigerator and there are no more bottles of their favorite, juice, soda, water. You are a terrible parent for not keeping all their supplies up and they are pissed off. 
Ok, get it!! The stupidest things can set off the emotional volcano that is their brain. They have been sucking down life's small hurdles and humiliations all day, and it is whatever that last thing is that makes them blow. Literally. 

Your strategy is to not contribute any more fuel for this raging fire. It may have nothing really to do with you, for a change, but you might have been the last person to speak, and was the spark that set the firestorm off. Rather than letting your feelings get hurt, or get mad because their anger is now focused on you, just give them a shrug, and in the calmest voice you can muster a: " I get you are frustrated, let me know if there is any way I can help" and then leave them alone. Nothing good will come of it!

I asked my college freshmen recently to write about their adolescence. With his permission here is an excerpt from one of the young men from my class who so beautifully describes this "emotional volcano."

"As with all kids going through puberty, my hormones were at a constant state of flux. For some reason, mine decided to leave me with uncontrollable anger. The hardest part was I had no idea why I was so angry. I never connected how I was feeling to puberty. With no reason and no outlet I struggled to maintain my composure with my friends and family. My anger piled and piled until the most insignificant slight would throw me into a terrible rage, I regret each and every time I lashed out at the people around me. I just could not stop myself after a certain point. At home I would sulk and growl if I was bothered. If my family happened to be persistent I would snap. This did not fly with my parents. I was being punished nearly every day, and the constant punishment left me more angry and resentful then I already was. On some level, it is understandable that family receives the brunt of one' emotions. As a child there is almost no way to escape them, and the majority of one's time is spent with them. The good news is although it may have taken a few years I managed to calm down. As my anger faded away I could start to see my life a little clearer."

See, there is hope!!!!!!

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