Most parents watch their children’s teen years approach with a sense of apprehension as they know that it can be incredibly difficult to raise teenagers. If you are struggling to find positive coping methods while raising a difficult teen, we have some tips that may help you.
Apply Empathy And Humor With Your Teens When Possible
There is a time and a place for everything, so we understand if applying humor and empathy are not the right response to your teen’s behavior. However, there are many situations where a little humor and empathy may go a long way.
For example, say your teen shouts the classic “You just can’t understand!” Usually, no matter the context, it is pretty likely you do understand. Instead of meeting shout-for-shout, try replying with a chuckle and “That’s exactly what I said to my parents.” This can defuse the situation long enough for you to explain to your teen why you want them to do what you have asked.
Sometimes the humor and empathy need to be separated. Say your teen is dealing with hardships among their friend group. You don’t need to explain all of your own personal experiences with this but a short story sharing your friendship struggles can help your teen to connect with and confide in you.
Help Your Struggling Teens Reach Their Own Solutions
The teen years are an important transitional stage been childhood and young adulthood. As children, it was expected that parent solve many of their children’s problems. Yet, as many teens feel the greater need for independence, helping them learn to take control of their problems can be empowering for both teen and parent.
An example of this is a teen who is dealing with co-worker conflict at their first job. As the parent, you can offer some ideas on how to resolve the conflict but you should not directly intervene. By learning to take care of their work issues, your teen will be better prepared for other difficult interpersonal situations.
Plan And Engage In Activities As A Family
If your teenagers are being difficult, creating distance is a natural reaction. However, if you want to keep the family bonds strong, you will need to plan and engage in activities as a family. Even if your teen wants to be a black cloud while the family enjoys an activity, these are the memories they will carry as they leave your home and it will help keep them connected to the family.
Also, it will give a space for good memories to be built for the rest of family. When a teenage family member is being difficult, other family members may feel neglected as parents focus in on the misbehaving child. A planned family activity will allow parents to appreciate the family as a whole and not only zero in on the problem child.
Give Yourself A Break During Tough Talks With Your Teenagers
Parents have to engage in plenty of tough talks with their children but teens have a special, sometimes enraging quality which can be detrimental to productive discussions.
Should your teen act out while you are trying to talk with them, give yourself a break from the conversation. The break may be as simple as just counting to ten to cool yourself down or you go for a short walk. Either way, keeping a cool head by giving yourself breaks is important when having difficult conversations with your teenagers.
Establish Clear Rules And Consequences For Your Teens
To prevent misunderstandings and to avoid appearing arbitrary, establish clear rules and consequences. Teens are more likely to lash out and rebel when parents do not have clear rules yet demand obedience.
An example of this would be to set a clear curfew, with the consequence being an extra chore. If your teen is aware of the rule and still chooses to break curfew, while it is unlikely they will appreciate the extra work, they will respect that you keep your word.
Should you reach a point where you don’t know what to do with your troubled teen, contact us. We have years of experience in helping find the right resources for parents with troubled teenagers and will able to help you determine what would help your teenager best, all free of charge.