How do you cope with an angry teen?

 “I raised five kids, but this one is different!’ exclaimed a frustrated mom. “He’s just an impossible challenge and I don’t know what to do anymore! He’s so angry. He yells, cusses, shoves friends and family, makes threats, and tears up his room.’ Kids are expelled from school, sent to isolation rooms, or face other consequences in the school system. At home, they mouth off to parents, ignore the rules, fail to finish homework assignments or tend to personal hygiene, or cause problems for siblings and peers. When they become a danger to themselves or others, sometimes psychiatric intervention is sought out. Parents often head to Netcare, their nearest pediatrician or ER department, consult a school counselor, or even call police.

One unique set of skills and tools was developed for just this population. CPS or collaborative problem solving was developed by Dr. Ross Greene, Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and originator of the Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) approach. Dr. Greene has appeared on Dateline NBC, Good Morning America, NPR, the Oprah Show, among others, and is founder and director of Lives in the Balance, a non-profit.

The CPS model is evidence-based and has been demonstrated in not only home settings, but schools, residential psychiatric treatment facilities and juvenile facilities. Pomegranate Health Systems will be featuring CPS staff training at an upcoming monthly staff meeting, according to CEO, Angela Nickell.

Dr. Green is the author of two books, The Explosive Child, and Lost at School. Greene believes the old model of punishment is ineffective because it fails to recognize that the behavior is actually a developmental delay in ‘mastering the skills required for becoming proficient in handling life’s social, emotional and behavioral challenges,” as Greene explains it. Essentially, the most important task is to identify what skills are missing. The child has simply not mastered the emotional problem solving skills necessary for life in our complex world.

Greene recommends three steps or ingredients to help solve the troubling behaviors which require a concentrated commitment. Here’s how the website describes it. “The first ingredient involves identifying and understanding a kid’s concern about or perspective on a given issue (such as difficulty completing homework, getting along with a particular classmate, or getting started on class work). The second step involves identifying the adults’ concerns on the same issue. In the third step, adult and kid brainstorm solutions together, with the ultimate goal of agreeing on a plan of action that addresses the concerns of both parties.” There are extensive tools and resources available on this method. Read more about CPS at

Daniel L. Davis, PhD ABPP is a board certified forensic psychologist in practice in Columbus, Ohio with over 30 years experience as a psychologist in a variety of clinical and forensic settings. He is associated with Netcare Forensic Center as a Senior Forensic Psychologist. His work includes adolescents. Davis is the author of, ‘Your Angry Child: A Guide for Parents’ -Routledge Press, and ‘The Agressive Adolescent: Clinical and Forensic Issues” -Routledge Press
Davis notes that sometimes, anger/rage is a mask for other deep seated emotions, such as fear, or emotional pain. The essential message from all the professionals is that yes there is hope. Don’t give up on this young life.

[Photo image: hooded teenage girl holding hand up- Dreamstime, by JmPaget 25719839]


About Communications

Communications and Social Media @ Sequel-Pomegranate Health Systems
This entry was posted in adolescent psychiatry, behavioral health, behavioral health disorders, mental health, pediatric psychiatry, psychiatric care and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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