Dealing with your out of control teenager

I will be on G105’s Bob and the Showgram Monday Aug. 3rd morning talking about this topic. So I thought I’d go ahead and post some tips about dealing with teens. There is no doubt teens can be difficult. Many parents might debate which years are rougher – toddler or teen. In many ways, there is a lot of overlap. Toddlers and teens are both very egocentric (it’s developmentally appropriate, but that doesn’t make them any more fun to live with), both are asserting their independence, both need a lot of sleep, both are strong-willed and stubborn…however, both stages can also be very bonding years for parents and kids if you follow some helpful tips [these are a compilation of helpful tips out there in the online world]:
1) One way to deal with stubborn teenagers is to listen very carefully – most parents are not aware of it, but stubborn teenagers can actually result from stubborn parents. After puberty, most kids think they are already adults ready to face the world; luckily, parents are wise enough to know that this is not true. However, parents may think too little of their teens to a point that they still treat them as kids whose ideas are just kid stuff.

2) Listen to what they say first before saying what you think. Oftentimes, parents just stubbornly and automatically deflect anything their teens have to say, this in turn makes the teenager just act like their stubborn parents and become stubborn teenagers.

3) When teenagers give their perspective, acknowledge it even if you do not agree. It is important for teenagers to know that you have heard their opinion on things. But you do not necessarily have to follow it or agree with it, after all, in most cases, your teen may just be asking for your advice or if you have other ideas in mind. After acknowledging your teen’s idea it is then you can say what you think should be.

4) Imagine yourself in your teenager’s shoes. You were also a teenager years or decades ago and you should know how difficult such times were. But do not dwell too much on your own experiences because your teen is probably facing different challenges in life. A lot of parents say things like “I know better because I have been there” in hopes of preventing their children from doing something. But that is actually an invitation for the child to be even more curious of such circumstances.

5) Another way to deal with teenagers is to avoid making use of labels when talking to your child, especially during arguments. Labels might sound meaningless when you blurt them out, but they can easily get into your teenager’s mind whether the label is positive or negative. It is important to allow your teenager to let him or her self be without labels being attached. Otherwise, stubbornness might stem from your teenager’s effort to veer away from the labels.

6) Try to avoid debating with your child about matters of opinion. Even if debates occur to convince a party of your opinion, what it actually does is to strengthen the other party’s hold on their opinion as both of you create reasons for believing your stand. In this case it is better to show why your opinion might be better and allow your teenager to see for himself or herself what makes you think you are right.
7. Follow through! “You are grounded!” “That’s it; no allowance this week!” Most parents have no problem creating punishments for breaking the rules. It’s what happens a few days or so later that creates the cycle of defiance: your teen drives you nuts until you back down on the consequence. If you set rules, it is important to make clear in advance the consequences for breaking that rule. If that rule is broken, if you do not enforce the consequences you set, your teen has just learned that getting away with breaking the rules is really a piece of cake.
8. Don’t give up on family time. Research has shown that eating dinner together as a family has been linked to better grades, lowered risk for drinking/drug use by teens, and fewer emotional problems. So aim to eat dinner together at least a few times a week, have a family movie night, ask your teen to go shoot hoops or go for a walk with the dog, or just make yourself available to hang out.
9. Don’t give up. Face it: your teen is going to test your resolve. They are going to test it once, twice, and again. Some teens will look for that crack in the armor to appear and test every time they see it. Teens are smart. They know if you are tired and frustrated, and they often have an uncanny ability to test you just when you are least likely to have the energy to resist. Don’t give up. Be consistent.
10) Discuss rather than lecture.Treating teens like little children only alienates them. Try to keep communication lines open by negotiating, compromising, and listening to your teen.

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