Parenting Tips: Managing a Defiant Teen

When your teen is defiant and won’t listen to you, it can be extremely frustrating. Sometimes it seems like you don’t even know your own child. When you are trying to help your child steer clear of negative or even dangerous situations and they aren’t listening, what is a parent to do? There are several things that you can try to manage a defiant teen. While there is no quick fix, a consistent, non-emotional and healthy approach to boundaries and discipline can go a long way in managing a defiant teen and making your home more peaceful.

Setting Boundaries

Lots of parents think that teens should just know the house rules and that they should automatically choose to be obedient. However, adolescence is a time when teens are trying to exercise independence, test their wings and please peers over parents. That’s why it’s a good idea to establish or emphasize boundaries that apply to everyone in the home. Have a discussion as a family about what is and is not allowed. Choose a time when everyone is fairly content and there are no immediate behavioral problems.

Setting Consequences

During your family discussion, establish fair and clear consequences that will automatically take place if the rules are broken. That way, when and if your teen chooses to break a house rule, you aren’t reacting emotionally and punishing your child arbitrarily. An example of this process is setting a curfew. Say that midnight is curfew and if your teen isn’t home by curfew then they will lose their phone privilege for a week. When it happens, be calm and non-emotional and enforce the consequence.

Reward Positive Behavior

Don’t forget to reward good behavior as well, because then your teen will get the positive reinforcement and more incentive to steer clear of trouble. When they give you a reason to trust them, make it clear that you appreciate it. Rewards don’t have to be something physical, like money or treats. Rather, offer praise, or extend a privilege that they earn. Just as it is important to enforce consequences for negative behavior, it’s equally important to reward your teen when they demonstrates behaviors and choices that are proper.

Get Outside Help When Needed

These basic techniques may help you manage your defiant teen, but sometimes even the best boundaries are not enough to help a teen with troubled behavior. It may be time to seek outside help for your teenager when you notice disturbing behavior that goes beyond typical teenage rebellion. Consult your teen’s school counselor, doctor or even other parents or family members who have dealt wit a troubled teen for advice. Your teen needs a therapist who specializes in adolescent behaviors, so use every resource to get your child the help they need.

If your teen is defiant and the situation in your home is only getting worse despite your best efforts, consider asking Help Your Teen Now for some unbiased, experienced advice. We can guide you toward choosing the best professional help for your troubled, defiant teen so they can get the help they need.

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