What Is Teenage Angst And What Every Parent Must Know About It

One can expect some amount of attitude from your child as they reach the teen years. Sudden displays of anger without provocation can seem too much, tempting parents to follow it up with an outburst of their own.  

Doing so may only make things worse and drive you apart instead of bringing you two closer. 

Understanding the Difference between Angst and Anger:

The term angst and anger are often used interchangeably. However, they are as different as chalk and cheese. Angst entails anxiety and apprehension about the future. On the other hand, anger is about past occurrences and how your teenager believes the situation should have unfolded. 

A teenager feeling apprehensive about an upcoming assessment could be angst or anxiety. However, if the test is over and the results have been unsatisfactory, the result is anger. 

Thus, angst and anger can accompany each other, and your teen’s anger may result from the angst they are experiencing. The attributes of angst and anxiety or depression are quite different.

Reasons Why Teens Experience Angst:

It is a given that the adolescent years are filled with anxiety, frustration and fear. Teens usually have a difficult time processing these feelings, and this can manifest as misplaced anger. 

Their reasoning and decision-making skills are not yet fully developed, so their emotions can override any rational thoughts they may have. They may be multi-tasking school assignments, extracurricular activities, changing dynamics of peer-to-peer relationships, and the looming pressures of college life, to name a few. All these contribute to angst as well. 

Some Ways Of Handling Teen Angst: 

If your teenager displays angst or anger, paying heed to these guidelines will help minimise conflict. According to a publication in New Scientist, excess nerve activity in the teen brain affects their emotional and social capabilities. 

Don’t Lose Your Cool 

It is natural to lose your cool at teenagers when they yell or behave unreasonably. If parents respond by losing their temper, it will only escalate matters. Instead, maintain a calm exterior, and you will encourage your teen to do the same.  

Hear Them Out

As an adult, you may be dealing with your issues. Dismissing the teen’s concerns as school drama will make them feel disrespected and unloved. Listening to them will validate their feelings and make them realise they matter to you. 

Help Them Develop Decision-Making Skills  

Let them make age-appropriate decisions, such as regarding their social life and school schedules. Along with giving them the confidence they need, it will also help hone the decision-making abilities they will need as adults. 

Constructive Ways to Tame Angst 

Teens undergo hormonal and physical changes, and angst is their way of expressing themselves. Offer suggestions for better outlets. Suggest journaling, taking a walk, or a boxing bout to get rid of the angst.

Differences between Teenage Angst, Depression or Anxiety 

Teen angst resembles mental health woes such as anxiety and depression. The symptoms, such as irritability, argumentative, and moodiness, often overlap between angst and mental health disorders. 

Typical teen angst will manifest itself as:

  • Excessive socialising with friends
  • Finding ways to avoid family gatherings
  • Display of rudeness
  • Short-tempered behaviour
  • Not cleaning up after themselves

The following behaviours often point to anxiety or depression:

  • Substance abuse
  • Isolating from friends
  • Avoiding activities they once took delight in
  • Constantly worrying


Teen angst is normal, but mental health woes like depression and anxiety are not. Suppose you feel your teen is coping with more than the growing pangs accompanying the transformation into adulthood. In that case, you should gently cajole your teen into visiting a mental health professional who will help them cope with the tumultuous teen years.  

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