EVEN THE ELEMENT SHOVE

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Teacher’s Diary

It’s been storm Ciara, storm Dennis and current storm Ellen billowing across the roads, some of its phalanges branching off into individual properties to knock down dustbins, dislodge gate bolts causing gates to clang noisily in mock defiance, then exiting properties to join its force-pregnant wind to charge down the road in descent into streets ahead. As the climate globally evolves, so are our 12-year 12-month olds taking their next seven years to journey into 18 -the start of their adult lives.

Our children’s lot seems to be more unsettled, in my opinion. Today, it is difficult to always be positive. World politics, social media, strained inter-national relations, religious intolerances, racist issues, natural disasters, wars and terrorist attacks – all make life challenging for adults as it were. For teenagers, the prospects of the many more years laid out in front of them, must be daunting for many.

In developing countries like Nigeria, stressors and anger-triggers for teenagers abound. The majority of teenage Nigerian children are forced to grow up long before their time. Loss of a parent, failed marriages, inequalities in wealth and poverty saddle them with weighty daily responsibilities. These responsibilities range from fending for their younger siblings; sponsoring their own education to fending off sexual abuse, emotional abuse and other vices.

Teenagers handle adversities differently. Some are quick to build a defensive wall around them when faced with challenges. Many others lash out, courier drugs, become reckless and sadly die too young. Do you know your teen child or teen-student very well? Have you got an angry teenager around you? Do you compound the problem with a stringent high-handedness?
Physiologically, teenagers are a bundle of charging hormones. Psychologically, they are in the process of resolving their own emotions and coming to terms with their changing roles. They are trying to modify their physical appearance to ‘fit in’ whilst they are in the process of developing a comfortable self-image. Little wonder then that teenagers seem often compelled to be defensive and at times raucous. Teenagers are not always thoughtful and compassionate individuals. They are constantly in competition, jealousy is a huge factor. The fight to always be number one is not uncommon in the teenage world.

Developing an anger management plan for a teenager should be done with him/her. Such a programme should be tailored to the realities of their social environment. In order for the anger management plan to be successful, an individualised programme must be designed that would reach the targeted teen without being overbearing. However, do remember that most teens would be difficult anyway, as teenagers tend to be quick to resist advice and are not always compliant with instructions. Convincing a teenager that they have behavioral issues which need attention may be a challenge itself. However, you must persevere as it is essential to make them see the importance of making a change.

We all know that if anger is not controlled, it could damage the life of the individual affected. Teenagers with anger behaviours that yell and scream, verbally abuse, damage properties, goad people around, may even go on to carry out self-injurious behaviour. It is important at regular points, to reassure troubled teenagers that everyone can change and that they can be a success. Let them know that they can make positive changes to their own lives which would ultimately make their life easier and more enjoyable. So learning to control their own anger would definitely be a positive move.

Anger management for teens should support teenagers to be self-aware, to evaluate their own feelings and to understand the reasons for their anger. Teenage anger management plans should incorporate activities that:
-help teens learn to practice self-control
-to pause a few seconds and think about the effects of their reactions to situations.
-to make a choice, pick an option which would bring about effective results
-review their own progress
-see what the outcome of their choice are.

By using this plan each time they are confronted with irritating situations, eventually the teenager should be capable of dealing with confrontations much better.
Teenagers have their own minds with their likes and dislikes. Suggesting techniques like exercising or listening to music might not be enough anger management for teens. Success would only be achieved when the teenager is able to accept responsibility for their own actions and realise they need to make changes. Using their own likes as distractions may be a good tool in anger management. These may be techniques which they are willing to try when they feel angry or threatened. Helping a teenager to be successful in anger management may require hours or months or even years of hard work and tears. However, realising that your younster is being spared from a future of recklessness is worth every effort.

Omoru writes from the UK