Tackling teenagers is no easy feat. It can feel like an uphill battle that you’re losing, daily. One consoling fact might be that you aren’t alone. Most of the teen behavior problems you’re experiencing are relatively universal, and at least there are a few solutions for these teen behavior problems that you can try out at home.
Problem 1: “I hate you!” Whether they say it or imply it with their behavior (rolling eyes, anyone?) it’s actually incredibly common for teens to go through a stage where they express dislike or disgust at everything you say or do. Teen boys in particular can be very combative. It’s frustrating and painful, and it can often lead parents to react in ways that only further damage the relationship.
Solution: Lay down rules of appropriate behavior and consequences for breaking them. For example they should never be allowed to be outright rude or disrespectful. Do your best to ignore the eye rolls or insolent looks, and always provide an environment of support. They know deep down they need you.
Problem 2: “My life is over!!!” Especially with teenage girls, you may begin to see an exponential increase in emotion and drama. Everything is a huge deal. Anything can set her off. It’s exhausting to deal with as a parent, and many parents respond dismissively or ignore the drama entirely just to get by. However, this can make the problem worse.
Solution: Allow her to freak out a little bit, and be there to listen. Not only are you expressing love and interest, but letting her talk through things can help her to realize that not everything is life or death.
Problem 3: “But they’re my friends!” One of the most common teen behavior problems is having undesirable friends and constantly battling for them. As soon as you express dislike of their friends they can turn defensive and even secretive. It drives an uncomfortable wedge between parent and teen.
Solution: Get to know their friends, or ask your teen about them with genuine, polite interest. Try your best to withhold judgement, and realize that your teen being honest or bringing obnoxious friends to your house is better than secretive friends doing things outside your home.
Problem 4: “Sorry, what?” They didn’t hear you because they were on their phone, which they are glued to about 90% of the time. It seems they’re always on the phone, computer, iPad, or gaming system, and as their parent you hate it. You’re certainly not alone. But does taking it away or limiting use make you the automatic enemy? Sometimes it can.
Solution: You own the devices and pay for the services, so set rules about how they are to be used and involve your teen. This may be stuff like no technology in their rooms for safety, or no phones during specified family times like dinner or movie nights. It may include their grades and chore requirements. As long as they are following your rules try your best to give them some tech space.
Problem 5: “None of my friends have curfews!” Has your teen ever argued that you’re the only parent who checks up on their teen or insists they be home at a certain time? It’s pretty standard, but sometimes teens can feel that way because they don’t always know what goes on in other houses. Breaking curfew can be a way to test limits or exercise control.
Solution: Set rules and curfews with your teen. Talk about your concerns and negotiate a time that you both can live with, as well as reasonable consequences if rules are broken. Then stick to them!
If these solutions aren’t working for you, or you suspect your teen may need more serious help and intervention – get help right away. There are solutions out there.