How To Handle A Defiant Teenager

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For some children, it seems that a switch is flipped when they become a teen.  Overnite, that sweet youngster has turned into a sullen, argumentative teen.  What happened? What do you do now?

The teen years are a turbulent time in life.  Teens are struggling to adjust to their changing bodies and struggling to figure out “who they are”.  Some children breeze through this transition easily, and others have a difficult time of it.  This can create problems at home and at school.

Don’t Take It Personally

Anyone who deals with teens needs a great sense of humor.  At times, it’s tempting to take the remarks or the behavior personally.  Resist the urge to do that or to react in anger when your teen reacts angrily to you.

At the same time, teens still need to have limits placed on their behavior.  Everyone gets angry at times, but it’s not OK to put people down or speak to them in a derogatory manner if you are angry.  It’s also not OK to be nasty to try to get your way.  For example, it’s not ok for a teen to yell at you when you explain that you can’t take her to the mall right now because you have things to do.

Set The Rules And Stick To Them

You may need to re-evaluate some of the house rules that you previously established.  For example, when your teen begins to drive, will you adjust that curfew time?  Will you allow the to transport other teens? 

Sit down with your teen and establish a set of rules that may need to be tweaked over time.  This is a great starting point.  Once you have established a set of house rules with your teen’s input, stick to those rules.

Pick Your Battles

This was great advice that was given to me by parents of teens when my oldest child made the transition from child to teen several years ago.  It was great advice!  There are some things that absolutely need to be upheld.  There are some things that can be overlooked.  For example, when my second child turned 13, she wanted to get her ears pierced.  Because we have metal allergies in our family, I really felt that ear piercings wouldn’t be a great idea.  I explained this to her, and she insisted, and insisted.  Finally, I decided to let her get her ears pierced.  Within several months, she developed an allergic reaction to the ear rings(and we were even using the allergy free ear rings too!), and decided to let her piercings grow shut. 

Get Help When Needed

It is somewhat normal for all teens to go through a period of testing their parents.  If you see radical changes in your  behavior though, seek help from professionals. 

The teen years can be a trying time in any parent’s life, but eventually, children do grow up and all the struggles become a distant memory.  At least that’s what I’ve been told.  I’ll let you know if that’s the case in about a decade or so!

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