How to Deal with Rebellious Teenagers


shutterstock_132629663.jpgWe wish that our little angels will always remain cute and adorable as when they were babies, toddlers, and preschoolers and in their elementary school age, but one day, we might be faced with a great challenge. Our angel turns into a rebellious teen.

It’s not unusual for nice kids who are compliant to morph into brooding or screaming teens. A teenager is a lot like a two-year-old with car keys – but where a toddler is learning how to be shutterstock_127832684.jpga child; your teenager is learning how to be an independent adult. It is this in-between stage that can be difficult as your rebellious teenager tries to decide who he or she is. There are many ways of dealing with rebellious teens, and some methods work better than others. Here are some tips to hopefully help parents deal with rebellious teens and learn to understand his or her behavior.

Teens have mood swings and go from the sweet, loving son or daughter you remember to a snarling monster in seconds. Authority is the enemy, and parents are numbers one and two on that list. Sound familiar? Although every person is different, there are some characteristics that are common among rebellious teens.

  • Rebellious teenagers can cause difficulties in their own lives and their behavior often affects the entire family. Because they are trying to find their place in the adult world, teens tend to push the limits that are set for them and often despair if they do not excel. Some experts even diagnose this as a disorder called Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD). Depending on the severity of the situation, there are several ways to deal with a rebellious teen. As the parent, you must walk a fine line between being in charge and giving teens a chance to become independent.

How to Deal With A Rebellious Teen

shutterstock_107158634.jpgThere are countless books written on the subject of parenting rebellious teens, but there are a few things that seem to work. As long as the teen isn’t a danger to himself and the behavior hasn’t become destructive, putting the following information to use might help to curb some of the most problematic areas between the two of you.

  • Define - As the parent, you must continue to set boundaries and define specifically what is unacceptable or abusive. Cursing and physical violence certainly fall into these categories, and your own moral code can define other issues.
  • Pick your battles - If your rebellious teen is doing something that might be annoying, but not harmful, decide if it is worth arguing over. You might be embarrassed to be seen in public with your teen in those clothes or that hairstyle, but is it really hurting anyone? Getting a tattoo on the other hand, might be a battle you are willing to fight.
  • Expect adult treatment back - If you are speaking to your teen like you would speak to another adult, expect the same back from him or her. If your teen yells or speaks to you in a disrespectful tone, ignore him or her.
  • You’re in charge - No matter how much your teen is trying to pull away and become independent, remember that you are in charge. Don’t be your teen’s best friend – be his or her guide and role model.

To be fair, no one has ever pretended that parenting a teenager was going to be easy. Still, until your own kids reach that stage, it’s tempting to believe your family will be immune to teen behavior problems. No, you tell yourself, your teenager will never talk back, stay out too late.

Dream on!

shutterstock_38931997.jpgExperts say that teenagers are basically hard-wired to get into conflict with their parents.  Adolescence is a time of rapid change for kids both physically and cognitively.  It’s the task of the teenager to fire their parents and then re-hire them years later, but as consultants rather than managers.

But that doesn’t mean you have to take it lying down. With the right approach, you can troubleshoot the following teen behavior problems in a relatively civilized fashion.

Teen Behavior Problem 1:

  • Your Teen Seems To Hate You

shutterstock_62778955.jpgOne minute your sweet child is begging you to come on the class trip or to lie down with her while she falls asleep. Then, seemingly overnight, she starts discounting everything you say and snickers at your suggestions. If you look closely, you’ll see that you’ve been through this before, when she was a toddler — only instead of shouting “no!” like a two-year-old would, a teenager simply rolls her eyes in disgust.

It’s difficult for parents when this happens.  Yet, it is part of growing up - separating and individuating. Many kids need to reject their parents in order to find their own identities. It is totally normal for teens to focus on their friends more than on their families.

  • Your Solution

shutterstock_86645557.jpgSometimes parents feel so hurt by their teens’ treatment that they respond by returning the rejection — which is a mistake. Mental health professionals note that teenagers know that they still need their parents even if they can’t admit it.  Since they experience an internal roller coaster, they put their parents through it too. As a parent, one needs to stay calm and try to weather this teenage rebellion phase, which usually passes by the time a child is 16 or 17.

Just because this is happening, it does not mean that your teen should be allowed to be truly nasty or belligerent; when this happens, you have to enforce basic behavior standards. One solution is the good, old-fashioned approach of: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” By letting your teenager know that you’re there for him no matter what, you make it more likely that he’ll let down his guard and confide in you once in a while, which is a rare treat.

  • Teen Behavior Problem 2:

Communication Devices Rule Their Lives

shutterstock_133996394.jpgIt’s ironic that teenage forms of communication like instant messaging, texting, and talking on cell phones make them less communicative, at least with the people they live with. In today’s world, though, forbidding all use of electronic devices is not only unrealistic, but also unkind, since being networked with their friends is critical to most teens.

  • Your Solution

A renowned adolescent psychologist advises to look at the big picture. If your child is functioning well in school, doing his chores at home and not completely retreating from family life, it’s probably best to “lay off.” It’s also OK to set reasonable limits, such as no “texting” or cell phone calls during dinner. Some parents prefer not to let teens have computers in their rooms, since it makes it harder to supervise computer usage, and this is perfectly reasonable. Many experts also suggest establishing a rule that the computer has to be off at least one hour before bedtime, as a way to ensure that teens get more sleep.

One good way to limit how many minutes your teen spends talking on his cell and texting: Require him to pay his own cell phone bills. And do your best to monitor what your child does when he’s online, particularly if he or she is using social networking sites. You still own the home and computer – so check into parental Internet controls and software to monitor use of any questionable web sites.

  • Teen Behavior Problem 3:

Staying Out Too Late

shutterstock_90987824.jpgIt’s 10:30 p.m. and you told your daughter to be home by 10 p.m. Why does she ignore your curfew again and again?

Part of teen behavior is testing limits, but the fact is that they actually want limits, so parents need to keep setting them.

  • Your Solution

Do some research before insisting that your child respect your curfew because it’s possible that yours is unreasonable. Call a few of your kids friends’ parents and find out when they expect their kids’ home. Teen behavior experts suggest giving kids a 10-minute grace period, and if they defy that, to set consequences — such as no going out at night for a week.

If it seems like your child is staying out late because she’s up to no good, or doesn’t feel happy at home, then you need to talk with her and figure out what might be going on. However, if your curfew is in line with what’s typical in your teen’s crowd, then it’s time to set consequences and then enforce them if your teen continues to break your rules. When you make a rule, you have to mean it. You can’t bluff teenagers — they will always call you on it.

Good luck – you’ll really need it!

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