I too, have been guilty of saying something similar to my husband, friends, and mother when my teenage son has been particularly stroppy, moody and hard to deal with. But the truth is, we we’re young once and we did rebel against our parents.
We might have forgotten how hard it was being a teenager, but we should remember that our children are struggling with raging hormones, pressures at school, and friendship dramas. Dealing with my son’s teenage behaviour has been a challenge, but there are some ways I have found to make things easier for both of us.
As parents of teenagers, we often find ourselves in a power struggle with them, but it shouldn’t be like this. Here are some suggestions of how you can deal with your troublesome teen…without starting world war 3:
1. Keep calm and carry on
I have learnt that raising my voice when my son does gets us nowhere. Having a screaming match with your teenager is exactly what they want, and results in harmful things being said – things that you’ll both regret afterwards.
Instead, remain cool, calm and collected. If your teenager throws a strop, wait until they’ve calmed down before you try and speak to them. Sit down with them and listen to what they have to say, make sure they listen to your point, and try and find a ‘middle ground’ that suits you both.
2. Give them freedom, but set boundaries
Like all children his age, my son is desperate for a bit more freedom. He wants to stay out later, go to parties, and play 18+ video games. He may only be 14, but in his head he’s a grown up and needs to be let off the leash.
My next tip is to give your teenager a little more freedom; if you start treating them like a grown up, they are much more likely to behave like one. But rather than telling him he can stay out as late as he likes, he knows what time he needs to be home.
Yes, your teen will push these boundaries. And yes, they will try and get away with more; but by giving them a little freedom, they are more likely to reward you with good behaviour. And if they don’t, make sure they know the consequences.
3. Enforce consequences
For us, if our son breaks his curfew his freedoms are taken away for a week. While we have drama at first, when he’s calmed down he understands that these privileges need to be earned. By enforcing consequences for troublesome behaviour, your teenagers will grow up fast.
Remember that your teen will respond to different consequences that younger children, so it’s important to treat them appropriately. You should also be prepared for teenage tantrums when things don’t go their way.
While this will pass very quickly, it’s important you don’t bite back – or worse, back down.
4. Pick and choose your battles
One of the things I’ve learnt over the last 12 months is to pick and choose the battles I fight with my son. There was a time when we would clash over every single thing, leaving us both stressed out, angry, and drained.
I have now leant that fighting with my son over making his bed every morning, is useless. Instead, I simply leave it in the state he left it. At first he left it too, but he now makes it himself. The same goes for tidying his room.
There are some battles you should fight but by stepping back on some occasions, your teenager will learn to be a little bit more independent. More than anything though, it stops your home being a constant battleground and keeps everyone else happier.
5. Tough love is okay
Sometimes you have to remember your job as a mom isn’t to be your child’s best friend. Yes, you want to open up communication and be someone your teenager can turn too, but you need to maintain your authority.
Tough love and rules around communication are important; your teenager needs to know that you still deserve respectful behaviour. If your teen tries pushing all your buttons to get a reaction, don’t rise to it. Instead, put your ‘tough love’ head on and reinforce your ground rules.
Dealing with troublesome teenagers can often feel like starting World War 3, but it doesn’t have to be. In my personal experience, things do get easier as you both find your feet in this new relationship. And always remember, you were young once too!
Rachael Walker is a full-time mother and blogger, living in Birmingham UK. Her blog ‘Rachael Writes’ tells her experiences as a foster mother, and the impact of fostering on her family. Visit her blog to find out more.