Watch your anger

In my experience teenagers “hear” our anger in word, tone, body language and shut off to the message.

We all know that there is nothing inherently wrong with anger. That is if we can express it at the right time, for the right reason, to the right extent.

So, am I the only one who routinely taxes it up?

Anger static

In my experience teenagers “hear” our anger in word, tone, body language and shut off to the message. Our anger “static” blurs what needs to be heard, leaving an angry parent or teacher squaring off with a disenchanted teen. A lose–lose scenario; no-one wins here.


Unless you have credibility in the eyes of your teen. Long, long gone are the days where merely being an adult ensured respect from teens.

Today you have to win that respect, you have to put in the hard yards, you have to be a credible adult, a believable role-model.

As distressing as this is, I’m not sure that it’s an altogether bad thing. (When the cane was removed from schools we bemoaned it, but it did force us to look for real and lasting solutions to disciplinary problems.) Perhaps similarly, we as adults are being forced to look more at ourselves and not as much at the youth and their “woes.”

Righteous anger

I’m pretty sure that where we have won our teens respect, our righteous anger will be better understood and accepted. 

Tall order? 

Yes, indeed!

James 1:19 provides us with the uncomfortable reminder that “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

With the teen this is critical; we live in a world that applauds the aggressive and angry solution to our problems; we must show them otherwise.

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Author: Gavin Fish
Blessed with a long-suffering wife, two adult children, a daughter-in-law, a bicycle (wannabee road cyclist) and uncountable bonsai, Gavin was in education for 34 years, the last 12 of which as Principal of Fish Hoek High School. He is steeped in the traditions of Scripture Union and a lifelong commitment to Jesus Christ and now works in his community as a Life Coach with a heart for teens, young adults and their parents.
Published: 14 November 2022
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