Frustration and Aggression: The Importance of Coping

| February 27, 2019

Everyone can remember being a teenager and giving their parents a hard time. I definitely can. The phase of puberty comes along with a lot of confusing changes biologically and physically. As hormones begin to run rampant, behavior changes become noticeable. That’s when that lovely teenage attitude comes in and the famous eyeroll grows to be every parent’s worst nightmare. It is easy for parents to ignore the attitude and let it roll because “this is just a phase” but it is so important that parents continue to stay connected and involved in their children’s lives.

The psychodynamic viewpoint in psychology assumes that humans, by nature, are aggressive. This means that all children will have occasional outbursts and teenagers are prone to bad attitudes. When this aggression begins to be a real issue, is when it is channeled into violent or criminal behavior. The hydraulic model of the psychodynamic theory gives the metaphor of pressure build up in a container. When air continues to build in a tight space without any release or outlet, eventually the air creates an explosion. In the hydraulic model of human aggression, it explains that humans need a healthy outlet for their frustrations and aggressive tenancies. For children, this could mean joining sports teams, creating a habit of going running when especially frustrated, getting a punching bag, etc. Many times, when parents are not particularly concerned about their children’s behavior changes or increased frustrations/aggressions they are not able to provide a healthy outlet. This leads to delinquent behavior as a form of outlet for that buildup of frustration.

This does not mean that every person without a healthy outlet turns into a serial killer. This means that the stressed-out high school student with preoccupied parents is more likely to turn to partying and drinking as a way to unwind rather than finding a hobby. Over time the delinquency of partying, underage drinking, and usage of recreational drugs can become an even bigger problem because the high school student is now in their mid-twenties and is an alcoholic with anger issues. Of course all of this is subjective and each person is different. It is important to always keep in mind that young children and adolescents need to be guided. The reality is that if parents are not guiding their children to healthy decisions, peer pressure is even more of an issue.

This can also serve as an encouragement that if you or someone that you know are struggling with a bad habit, addiction, or unhealthy lifestyle try to find a more positive way to unwind. Psychologically, most people struggle with feelings of aggression and frustration and some are not able to find a healthy release. You can have an impact and make a change in somebody’s life just by introducing them to their new favorite activity or even just helping them realize that there are better ways to deal with their stresses.

Children will always be children and teenagers will always give their parents the eye roll, but just by checking on them and being active in their decision making, a lot of bad and dangerous decisions can be prevented.