The newborn stage is overwhelming with fatigue; the toddler stage is an attempt at pushing boundaries while learning how to communicate; as your child gets older, the challenges that might arise will look different, but the premise is the same. This is especially true in the teen years when your son or daughter is looking to you for support, guidance, and discipline. There is a multitude of emotions, defiance, testing your leadership, and overall attitude that can occur with a teenager, and it can be complex at times, to say the least! However, how do you know if you are dealing with a period of general teenage disrespect or a more serious issue?
Irrational Behaviors in Teens
A chronic pattern of irrational behaviors, anger, and defiance can be one of those issues – and typically, this would be classified as ODD, or oppositional defiant disorder. But what exactly is oppositional defiant disorder, and what does it mean? Sure, every child will endure a period of resisting authority, learning boundaries, and knowing what is and isn’t appropriate in regard to reacting in certain situations. But when these periods of resistance happen frequently and for long periods of time, ODD can undoubtedly be an issue – especially as your child’s behavior and actions affect other areas of life, such as school, their peers, and their teachers. Learning the signs of ODD and beginning treatment early can definitely help to get your teen back on the right track.
ODD and Mental Health Issues
In the midst of ODD or similar mental health issues, you might be questioning your parenting abilities or asking yourself something like, “why does my child not respect authority?”. This can be for a plethora of reasons, and not all of them stem from your parenting style. Thankfully, there are some tips you can utilize to handle teen disrespect, and you can begin from the most foundational place for your child – your home. Let’s take a look at some tips that you can integrate when you notice your teen might not be respecting you, your home, or your rules!
For one, do your best to be respectful to your teenager. This can be a challenging tip, especially in the moment when you realize your child is disrespecting you, your home, or other family members. However, you want to really try and emulate the behavior that you are expecting from your child, even in the midst of the struggle. If you are not treating your child with respect, then chances are they aren’t going to show any back to you.
House Rules for Teens
Another tip that might be difficult (at first) is to implement the consequences that you lay down for your teen. For example, if you ask them to make their bed and take out the trash before they go to the mall with friends, then have them follow through with that. If they are headed out the door, and you realize their chores haven’t been completed – there’s no going to the mall. Granted, it can often feel easier to just go ahead and let things slide without actually following through with the negative consequences of their actions; however, this can lead to massive battles over time, and your child will recognize that you aren’t actually going to keep up with what you requested of them. Why would they listen to you if there’s no consequence? Hold your ground, even though it will be difficult, and lay in place the boundaries that your teen needs (even if they don’t know it yet).
That tip coincides with the next, and that is positive reinforcement. If your child disobeys, then it makes sense that fun things are taken away. On the flip side, if you are seeing more positive behaviors and valiant effort from your teen, then there’s nothing wrong with rewarding and recognizing that! Maybe your teen wants to take the car out after dinner to meet some friends; perhaps they want more privileges with their cell phone; if their behavior has improved, there’s nothing wrong with allowing those.
These are just three of the strategies that you can begin to use in order to help your defiant teen. If you are looking for more tips, please reach out to the specialists at Help Your Teen Now. With the proper guidance, you will be able to find a treatment plan that works for you, your teen, and your family.
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