How to Respond to Disobedient Children and Teens!

If you ask a seasoned parent about the most challenging phase of development, the might tell you it’s the teenage years. You were probably expecting a nod to the sleepless nights of infancy or the terrible twos, but those are a walk in the park compared to the rebellious teenage years.

 From the time your child is born, you know your role. Keep this tiny human alive. Sure, it may get a little challenging when they first start exploring their world, but you’ve got this.

Then come the teenage years. From about 13 to 17, it can seem like your child has become possessed. He wants to break every rule and continuously put himself in danger.

“But my job is to keep you alive. You need to listen to me!”

Somehow, that doesn’t work. At this time, they’re starting to exert their independence and want to make their own decisions. The problem is that their prefrontal cortex hasn’t developed and they may not always choose wisely.

So here are some tips to deal with this mean age.

Treat them with respect

When your child is trying to disobey your very clearly-set rules, it’s difficult to ground yourself. But this is important. Take a step back and think of your child as if she weren’t your child. This should give you the perspective to see your child’s real motivations. Don’t take it personally and you’ll avoid getting emotional. You don’t have to give in, but try to handle the situation with respect.

Let them make decisions

At this age, it’s essential for your child to make his own choices. So, try to avoid dictating rules. If your child is making a wrong decision, talk through the consequences. For example, if your child insists on going to go to a party where you know there will be drugs and alcohol, tell him you’ll follow along in your car to shut the whole thing down. Teen addiction is a severe problem, and that party involves illegal activities. At this point, your child has a choice. Listen to you and stay home or go to the party and get embarrassed. Let’s face it; embarrassment is one of the worst punishments for a teen. 

Follow through

Here’s the hard part: If you’ve threatened to shut down that party and your child goes anyway, you have to do it. When you make promises like this, there’s a chance your child will try to call your bluff. If you prove them right, you’ve lost your authority and the remaining teenage years are going to be even more difficult.

If your plan works, your teen will act as they hate you for some time. She may even tell you as much. But that’s okay for now. In fact, it’s entirely reasonable. This will pass, and you’ll both make it out of this alive.

This is a tough time for parents, so make sure you have support. If you’re in a two-parent household, get on the same page with your spouse. If you’re a single parent, lean on your friends and family when the tough moments come. Your child will eventually thank for this, so hold your ground.

Comments

  1. TammyLyne says:

    You forgot one..No means no.I cannot tell you how many times I am in a store and hear a child whining for candy and the mom says no over and over and then just gives in. This sets the child up to understand if I keep begging I can get anything. We had a rule in my house you ask once if I say no it means no if you ask twice you will get a warning and three times we will leave and we will go home where you will remain in your room with no electronics until the next day.

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