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Lori Gephart
Lori Gephart, Licensed Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience:  Licensed Psychologist and Hypnotherapist 20 years of experience helping clients of all ages.
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my 14 year old son has a terrible temper, it gets very bad

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my 14 year old son has a terrible temper, it gets very bad when he's playing video games, which we've now taken away. He is prone to very pronounced outburts, and has broken things around the house. We have had some family trauma, but it was over a year ago and he's still unstable. We tried some "medication" but it just made him tired, and contributes to his other problem, bedwetting. Is temper normal for adolescence or am I missing something? Thank you.

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I am sorry to hear about the problems you are experiencing with your son. It can be a very difficult job to parent a teenager who is acting out with angry outbursts, despite how much you care for him. I would certainly encourage you to seek an accurate diagnosis of your son's problems. Keep in mind that anger, particularly in teens and in males can often be a symptom of depression. If there has been family trauma in the past year or two, these temper outbursts may be an expression of the pain that he is suffering related to this. I would encourage you to consider having him evaluated by a psychologist who specializes in teens in order to get an accurate diagnosis, help him to learn how to begin to feel his feelings in a safe way and learn to cope with them and evaluate whether he may need to meet with a psychiatrist for a trial of medication that would not contribute to the bedwetting.


In the meantime, focusing on catching your son when he does something positive and paying particular attention to this, acknowledging his feelings and his right to his feelings (as long as he expresses them appropriately), and finding positive activities for him, while giving consequences and avoiding giving attention to the negative behaviors can be helpful.


It sounds as if your son may be experiencing a great deal of anger without knowing how to express it appropriately. This points to the need for professionals to be involved. Sometimes it can take several tries to find the right psychiatrist and/or psychologist for each individual, however I would suggest that medication alone would not be a good choice since he would greatly benefit from psychotherapy to learn how to cope with his feelings in a healthy way. Good luck with this difficult situation and in the meantime remember to take good care of yourself as well so that you have the energy to deal with him.

I hope this answer is helpful. Please let me know if I can clarify further.

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