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How To Defuse and Communicate With Your Angry/Anxious Teen

 “I hate you!”

“You are so mean to me!”

“Shut the f*@% up!”

“I didn’t do anything! Leave me alone!”

“I’m not going to do it - and there is nothing you can do about it!”

 “You are the worst dad ever! Stay out of my life!”


Parents, do you remember when you were a teenager and you said to yourself, I am going to be the coolest, best parent ever.”

 Yeah…a lot has changed since then.


 Wowwwwww – parenting is hard!

Being married with children is so much harder then I thought it was going to be. No adult ever prepared me for this! And if they tried to…I wasn’t listening.


One of the hardest parts about being a parent is the…EMOTIONS.

The angry outbursts. The yelling. The slamming of doors. The innocent victim-ing. The anxious defiance. The swearing. The public temper tantrums. The horrible car rides.


I wish it would all go away!

 It won’t go away.


As parents you have TWO good, healthy options.


  1. Hire a live-in therapist, live-in police officer, live-in maid, live-in Uber-driver, live-in sports referee, live-in chef AND live-in inspirational speaker.

Wouldn’t that be the life!!!


 Or, if that is not doable you can always…


 2. Learn how to emotion DEFUSE your children. 

...And I would love to teach you how.


Defusing: the ability to connect with your child in a way that helps them to manage strong emotions like anger, anxiety, disappointment, rage, etc…


Here are three action steps that can defuse your teen.

If you would like to see me model these tools in real life, or you would like to see me role-play these tools, then join me live on Zoom in my Parents Club.


  1. Labeling: Help them put a name to  their emotions. 

 "Are you feeling controlled?”

 “Seems like you are feeling treated unfairly, is that right?”

 “I want to understand you, are you really disappointed?”

 “It will help me better understand where you are coming from if you could share some feeling words with me.”


*If you need extra help managing your emotions, not getting triggered and teaching your children to manage theirs, the Parents Club is perfect for you!

**If your family needs help labeling their emotions, use this ”Feelings Words” list here. Print it out and put it on your fridge!

***Help your teenager understand there are many, many more emotions than feeling “angry” or “annoyed”!


2. Validate their feelings...Even If You Don't Agree With Them

“I can see you are angry. I can see why you are angry.”

“I hear you. You are clearly upset and anxious. I am glad you shared this with me. I understand.”

“I’m seeing your passion here and understand why you are feeling unheard. It makes sense".


Why Use "Labeling" and "Validation"?

Human beings yell and get angry when we feel unheard and misunderstood.

 On the other hand, when a person feels heard and understood, they often defuse.

Labeling will help your children feel heard and understood.

 “Yes, I am feeling disappointed. That’s it. You get it.”

 "Yeah, I am feeling hurt and betrayed. You gave me your word we would do that activity.”


  1. After You Understand Their Feelings, You Can Best Express Empathy

 Just like a fire hydrant to a flame, if there is one thing that can defuse anger, it’s empathy.


 Empathy is the key that unlocks all human beings.



Showing empathy to your children DOES NOT MEAN…

 …You are excusing their behavior

…You will give them what they want

….You feel what they feel


Empathy is feeling with people.

When an angry or anxious child/teenager feels like their parent is really hearing them and feeling with them, they will often defuse.

“I hear you are feeling stressed. That’s rough. I hate feeling stressed.”

 “Feeling lonely is so hard. It’s one of the worst feelings in the world.”

 “Feeling bullied is horrible. I don’t know what to say, I am just glad you shared this with me.”

 “I hear you are feeling disappointed. I hate not getting something I want and feeling that.”


Parents, you know you are practicing great empathy when you hear your children say…

"Yes, Mom, that is exactly what I feel. It’s hard.”

 “Yeah, Dad. You get it.”

 “Yes, Mom. That’s it. It’s the worst. Thanks for listening.”


  1. Offer To Help With Their Emotions

 “I am here for you if you want to talk this out.”

 “Is there anything I can do to help you feel better?”

 “I'm here if you want to talk. I can listen.”

 "Do you want a hug?"

“Do we need to work out a win/win here?”

 “I want us to be close. I would love to talk to you about this. I love you.”  




Be Strong. Stay Close. Teach Wisdom.


 Your Friend,

Sean Donohue

Family Coach 

Founder of

 Click HERE to go deeper with Sean.

Click HERE to schedule a "Parent Coaching" session with Sean.

Click HERE for Sean's article, "Why Teens Need EQ Skills".

Click HERE to read Sean's article, "How To Evaluate Your Teen's Emotional Maturity".