How do you make your teenager behave? How did your little angel turn into this raging ball of hormones? Does your teenager sound like this? ” I hate you, I’m never speaking to you again, I don’t care, You don’t understand me, I’m not doing that. You can’t make me. It’s my life. I’ll do whatever I want and hang out with whoever I want.” So your teenager is refusing to take out the trash, ignores their curfew, hangs out with the wrong people or is just plain difficult on every occasion. You used to do everything together. Now your teen wants nothing to do with you. Relax, it’s normal. That being said, there are some things you can do to make the teenage years more pleasant for both of you.
What can you do in advance of the teenage years to make the ride a little less bumpy? Talk to them. Keep the lines of communication open from an early age. Talk when they are happy, not in the middle of a fit. They will be more receptive, as would anyone. Allow your children to express their feelings without recrimination. When feelings are negative, talk to them about why they are feeling that way.
Share the news of the day as examples of how not to behave, or how to behave well. Use every opportunity to explain how life works and how to deal with it, before any problems arise. Don’t just say no, explain why you feel something is wrong. Take the time to make your child aware of the dangers of the world before they encounter them. All this sets the groundwork for good behavior in the teenage years and beyond.
Respect your teenagers struggles. Avoid passing judgment. Never assume you know what they are feeling. Take the time to really listen. Be open to what your teen is feeling.You might be pleasantly surprised. You might also find out that you’re the one who is acting like a child. If so, don’t be afraid to apologize when needed. It’s OK to admit you were wrong to your teen. Humility is a good quality to emulate.
A Difference of Opinion
What if your opinion differs from the one your teen is expressing? Well, gee whiz, do you always agree with everyone you meet or interact with? Your teen is becoming an adult and will form their own opinions, based on their own experiences. If their opinions cause them no harm, agree to disagree. They don’t have to be a carbon copy of you.
This seems like a no brainer but you’d be surprised how many parents treat their kids like the enemy. When discussing issues you have with your kids, don’t forget to keep hostility out of it. Set an example by being open, honest and friendly. Don’t react with anger to teenage hormonal outbursts. Never argue with your teen either. State your opinion, your reason for feeling that way and move on. You are supposed to be the adult here. Act like one.
Keep Them Busy
Give your teenager something to do. Get them involved in sports or other activities that will keep them occupied and allow them to socialize with varied individuals. The more outside socialization teenagers have, the more practice they get at getting along with others. The busier they are, the less time and energy they have to misbehave. Plus, they’re happier, an added bonus.
Dishing it Out and Enforcement
Be matter of fact. Simply state your expectations and end it. There is no need to repeat your position over and over. It just makes you seem less credible. Having a chart for chores that you make together alleviates a lot of discussion. Think about appropriate discipline before handing it out. Make the punishment fit the crime for longer lasting life lessons. Avoid turning every little situation into a battle for power. Think of each mistake your teen makes as an opportunity to teach, rather than a personal affront. They’re just spreading their wings and learning to fly solo.
Give yourself space from your teenager. Give your teen space from you. Allow them to have their own life, their own hopes and their own dreams, separate from yours. That’s what turns them into responsible individuals. Allow them to fall and fail. Allow them to learn lessons from life and from people other than you. It’s OK to slowly release the controls as your child matures and grows into adulthood. In fact, they need some freedom in order to become responsible adults. Rebellion is a natural and necessary process. Give guidance and don’t stand in the way of progress. How do you make your teen behave? You don’t. You show them.
A Note to Parents of Teens : You are in for a rocky ride. It may seem there is no end in sight, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. My wonderful adult children were normal teenagers. They caused me many sleepless nights, endless tears, fears and worry. They are now responsible young adults with bright futures ahead of them. Stand your ground. Be firm, but friendly. Your good example will pay off in the end.