It can be tough for children and pets to interact peacefully, especially when they are young. Little kids don’t always understand how animals interact with people, and they can cross the pet’s boundaries without meaning to. They might try to pick up the family cat only to learn that the cat has claws. Or they might step on the family dog and get startled by its yelp. As your kids are growing up, they’re likely to upset the family pets from time to time.
However, teens and tweens have a better understanding of their actions. They know when they are just playing with the animal and when they take it too far. They might still need guidance when meeting new animals, but they tend to understand their own pet’s behavior. So if your son shows anger toward your pets and mistreats your pets, you need to intervene.
For teens who struggle with anger issues, their outbursts can be overwhelming. You might not know what will make them snap or how they might react when they are upset. They might yell at you or another family member, break things, or even take it out on the pets. If your son gets mean when he is angry, he needs to learn how to manage his anger appropriately.
Why do teens vent their anger on pets?
Teens with anger problem typically vent their anger on the family pet for one of two reasons:
1. They can bully the pet without repercussions from the pet.
If your son feels like his life is out of control, he might try to exert power where he can. Unfortunately, this power can manifest as bullying. Sometimes teens will bully other kids. Sometimes they will bully the family pet. In either case, it makes them feel like they have regained some power in their lives.
2. They have no control over their anger and vent it on anything around them.
Teens who struggle with severe anger issues might not have control over their actions. They might break things, yell, hit things, and hit others. When they get mad, they vent that anger on whoever or whatever is around them. This often leads to trouble at school and at home.
What to do when your son shows anger toward pets
If your son has escalated his anger outbursts to include abusing the family pets, you need to intervene. Yelling, hitting, or otherwise intimidating the pets should not be tolerated. Not only is this important for the safety of your pets, but it’s also important for your son. As he gets closer to adulthood, he needs to know how to control his anger.
Make your expectations clear Talk to your son and make it clear that he isn’t allowed to take his anger out on animals. It’s OK to be angry — we all get angry from time to time. It’s not OK to take that anger out on an animal.
Ask about his actions Ask your son why he shows anger toward the family pets. Is he trying to establish control over the pet? Or is he just angry, and the pet was in the way? Finding out more about his reasoning will help you address the root of the problem.
Get outside help If your son’s temper regularly gets the better of him, you may need outside help. Teens with anger issues can benefit from attending therapy and learning anger management skills. If he doesn’t learn to manage his anger during his teen years, his adult years could be fraught with problems.
You should not have to worry about your safety or the safety of your family and pets. If your son’s anger is out of control, contact us today to find out how we can help your family.