There’s a side-eye glare and a smart comment… followed by a frantic scream down the hall and a quick door slam.
All the parents in our ministry have had those moments with their kids and teenagers.
One minute everything is great and everyone is smiling, and the next minute everything is Over the Boiling Point!
What parents do in those next few moments is so important and essential.
Here’s some tips on what to do.
We encourage you to share this with the parents of students in your ministry. It’s a simple thing you can do to partner with them.
Ok, here goes:
Often, we chalk up angry outbursts to hormones or teens-being-teens, but it is likely something more than that.
While emotional changes are happening and there are fluctuations in hormone levels, we cannot simply shrug off these moments. We must lift the lid of the boiling over pot of anger to discover the cause.
Anger can come from being hurt emotionally, relationally, and even physically. Without further stirring the pot, you need to ask some simple questions to discover if something has happened.
What is it that may have caused a real or imagined hurt?
There are things that frustrate your child and can cause sudden moments where they “pop their top” and boil over in anger. Teens are living in a different world than you and there are different stresses and anxieties.
Stop your child. Speak in a calm manner. Ask them where this anger is coming from and what is frustrating them.
You probably hear from time-to-time, “it’s not fair…”
Honestly, they are often correct. Life is not fair. Andy Stanley says “Fairness ended in the garden.”
We live in a sinful and unfair world. People will make the team, when your teen doesn’t.
Students will be left out, picked last, not invited to a party… and this is your teaching moment.
Find out what they are feeling and see if it is caused by something that seems to be unfair. Take that moment and talk real-life in a real world.
Anxiety and worry, if left unchecked, will lead to fear and even outright panic. Anxious moments and continual pressure will quickly lead to fear, then… comes the breaking point.
It may become panic or it may come out in the form of anger. If the cause of their anger is coming from a sense of fear, this is a faith moment, as well, because the opposite of faith is fear.
We living in a fear-filled world and for a teenager without all the mature coping and processing skills of adulthood, the base response may be anger.
Turn the boiling point of fear to a blessing point of faith.
The moment has happened and you can’t go back in time and undo it.
You have been the recipient of the blow up. Everything has come out. Words have been said, doors have been slammed, and tears have been shed.
What will you do now to redeem the situation? You have discovered the cause, but what is the cure to help this from getting to this point again?
Face the Problem
You know the cause, now it is time to go back and face the problem.
James 1;19, encourages us to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” The chapter continues in verse 21 with “…get rid…”.
In order to cure the anger in our home and in our children, we need to face the problems that are causing it and get rid of it!
Forgive the Person
While problems remain faceless, people do not. The causes of anger do not exist separate from human interaction. Whether it is forgiving the person that caused the anger or asking forgiveness for the person your teen lost their temper with, the long-term cure for anger is found through forgiving the person, or people connected to the issue.
Fix the Predicament
The final step in finding the cure is fixing what is broken. It requires taking a hard look at the predicament that caused the anger or the situation that has resulted from the anger.
If it is not fixed, it will remain broken and will continue to cause hurts, frustration, unfairness and fear. It will continue the cycle of filling up the pot, turning up the heat, and waiting for things to boil over the top all over again and again and again….
Unless, as a family, you are willing to fix the predicament.
Written by Dan Istvanik
DAN ISTVANIK is our Lead Content Writer at Ministry to Parents and is also a 5th to 8th-grade pastor in Lancaster, PA. He has been working in youth ministry for over 22 years, serving churches in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Virginia. He is a speaker, ministry coach and writer, contributing to a variety of other great ministry resources. He shares daily middle school ministry specific resources, and hints on his own site “The Middle Years” at www.middleyearsministry.com.