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13 Year Old Sister With Extreme Anger

by Marissa

I have a 13 year old sister who has anger problems. If it is not her way then she will start screaming and yelling, and my parents finally give in.

Recently my grandmother was watching us for the weekend and out of nowhere my sister became extremely angry. She screams at the top of her lungs and hits or throws things. She hit my grandmother multiple times and threw some things.

She was taken to the doctor a while back and prescribed some medication for depression. What can we do as a family to try and fix this?

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Marissa, and thanks for telling your story here. I hope that you are not the only person in your family taking action to get help for your sister. Your parents need to be involved. Your sister has good reasons for her anger, and your parents need to find out what those are and help her. It's not your job as a sibling to solve this problem--although I think it's very good that you're concerned for your sister.

There are a couple of possible scenarios to consider:

1) It is possible that your sister was abused, neglected or abandoned somehow in her past. The type of anger you describe usually comes from some type of past trauma. If she's willing, you might want to recommend that she try the journaling process on this page.

2) It is also possible that your sister is subconsciously acting out some unexpressed anger in your family system. There may be issues in either or both your parents' past, that they may not have dealt with, or they may have some unresolved marital conflict. Child anger often is a kind of "pressure release valve" for unexpressed or unresolved emotional issues in the family.

If the latter is the case, I recommend family therapy for your entire family. Again, this is not something for you to take on as a sibling. Hopefully, your parents will get involved and take responsibility for the healing that needs to occur.

I wish you, your sister and your family all the best,

Dr. DeFoore

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