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What can parents do when losing patience with teens?

We can all relate to having felt emotions of anger and loss of patience towards individuals close to us at one point in our life. Very often, this can trigger shame and guilt. In these moments, self-reflection becomes crucial, as we confront the growing gap between our intentions and our actions. Wanting to protect our relationships clashes with the regret of succumbing to impatience, creating potential internal conflicts.

anger with teens

Let me show you what you can do when facing this uncontrollable issue.

Before being able to correct this tendency, it is important to understand its source and hear what it has to say.

Based on my experience as a therapist, I have been able to identify three main life situations triggering anger and lose of patience in individuals, here parents:

- When an individual receives or puts a lot of pressure on themselves to fulfil many different roles, such as being a parent, a partner, a worker, a supportive friend, and an active member of society, they often find themselves constantly on the edge of frustration and impatience. The weight of high expectations, whether self-imposed or influenced by external factors, can create a volatile emotional landscape. This can result in a daily life filled with tasks and chores to fulfil each role. When faced with new chores, tasks, or unexpected situations, individuals may feel unable to gather the energy or time to deal with them, triggering frustration and stress, ultimately leading to anger and a loss of patience. Additionally, the pressure to succeed in multiple domains may challenge their patience, leading to a sense of loss, not only in terms of time and energy but also in the emotional toll from the constant pursuit of perfection.

Many of these individuals might subconsciously expect their children and partners to apply similar standards to their own lives, which can create conflicts and misunderstandings.

If you recognise yourself in this description, it is important for you to realise that you most likely don’t apply this functioning consciously. Be careful not to bring shame upon yourself or engage in negative self-talk. Most likely, this pattern of thought isn’t easy for you. Remind yourself, on a daily basis, that your value and worth don’t depend on your productivity. You are enough, even when unproductive and imperfect. Prioritise self-care and time for yourself. Seek a balance between executing your tasks and having time to rest and just be. Ask for help if needed to reach this objective.

- When an individual constantly gives their energy and time to others without prioritising time and energy for themselves, they often find themselves at risk of experiencing higher anger and less patience. The imbalance created by consistently prioritising external demands over personal well-being can lead to a depletion of emotional reserves. Over time, this neglect may breed frustration and resentment, as the individual grapples with the toll of neglecting their own needs. The absence of self-care can transform an individual's emotional landscape, making them more susceptible to outbursts of anger and a diminished amount of patience.

If you recognise yourself in this description, I strongly suggest identifying the importance of establishing a balance between giving to others and nurturing your own mental and emotional health. As a parent, it is crucial for you to understand that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Parenting involves countless amounts of love and care for your children. When you have young children, your needs may come second. However, as parents of older children, such as teens, you should have more time and energy for yourself. Remember, you will not have time unless you make it. Make sure to have time for yourself, to do activities you enjoy, to spend time alone, to see friends, to develop goals, or simply to do nothing.

- When an individual is overwhelmed by their negative self-talk, they often find themselves trapped in a cycle of internal criticism that contributes to overwhelming emotions, including heightened anger and diminished patience. The constant barrage of self-deprecating thoughts erodes self-esteem and fosters a heightened sensitivity to external stressors, presenting as self-judgement, self-criticism, or self-blame. This negative internal dialogue intensifies feelings of frustration and impatience when faced with challenges. The lack of self-compassion creates fertile ground for emotional turmoil, as individuals face not only external pressures but also constant, self-inflicted negativity.

If you recognise yourself in this description, it is important to break free from this cycle by identifying your self-talk. Pay attention to the intonation you use while talking to yourself and the words you use. Once you identify your thought patterns, soften your speech, and recognise you are trying your best. Before judging yourself, consider the context in which you have acted. Foster self-compassion and be kind to yourself.

Implementing healthier self-talk and self-care should alleviate symptoms of anger and a loss of patience. Recognise that when feeling anger and losing patience with your teen or other situations, you most likely need time for yourself and need to be nicer to yourself. It is time for you to live without the emotional burden and promote a more resilient mindset, for yourself and your kids.

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