It can be extremely difficult to deal with a teenage child who has complete disregard for authority, especially the authority of their parents. However, this occurs all too often during the period where teens are struggling to define themselves and parents are becoming concerned about their teens’ safety. Here are a few ways to respond to a teenager who doesn’t listen to authority and to still parent well.
It will do nothing for your case if you get as upset as your teen when in the middle of an argument. Remaining calm is extremely important. If you start to feel that you are getting too upset, it can help to walk away or take a break from the conversation. Once you are calm again, you can return to the matter at hand.
Be Clear With Your Boundaries and Your Intentions
Your child may not understand why you want them to come home early from a party; they may only care about the fact that no one else’s parents set a curfew and that you’re ruining their life. They may tell you they don’t care what you think or even sneak out so they can do what they want.
Being clear about what you mean and what you feel is important. Tell your child why you want them to come home early (“I want you home early because I’m worried about you and I want to make sure you’re okay.”). Then, remember to be firm and clear with your boundaries as well (“When I say early, I mean by ten o’clock.”).
Use Appropriate Punishments
For whatever reason, teens rebel, and some don’t respond to authority at all. The best way to deal with this in many cases is with a firm but appropriate punishment. If your teen doesn’t come back from their party by ten, tell them you don’t want them going at all to the next one. If they take out the car without asking, tell them they won’t be able to use it for a week.
Cracking down with extreme punishments that have nothing to do with the issue itself will only cause your teen to care less about what you say, and in many cases, push back harder against your authority. This is why coming up with punishments that are appropriate to their behavior is extremely important, rather than restricting them in every way possible because of one showing of defiance.