How to Respond to Your Defiant Teen

No matter how happy their upbringing was, and no matter how “cool” of a parent you believe yourself to be, there will come a time when you and your teen will bump heads. How are you supposed to control your teenager without stressing yourself out?  The idea is to learn how to respond to their behavior in a way that shows you mean business, but still allows them to express how they feel.

Understanding Adolescence

Just as men and women are still unlocking the mysteries to each other, parents are trying to unlock what it’s like to be a teen. Of course you have your version of growing up, but you’ve passed that time. Your teen is going through a stage where they are trying to find themselves amongst a group of their peers. They are at that in-between stage where they are not as reliant on you as a parent, but still need some help. With all the pressures of school and everyday life, your teen is likely going through a lot. When they can’t voice their problems, they then begin to act out as a cry for help.

Be Consistent

The first rule to dealing with a defiant teen is to be consistent in your everyday life. This is especially true when it comes to making rules and issuing punishment for not following through. Your teen is trying to push the limits to see how much you are willing to let them be in control. Allowing them to slip through the cracks will not work well, as their defiance will only get worse. Make sure that the rules are well known by your family and post them somewhere where everyone is able to see them on the daily basis. The moment the rules are broken, you should issue a consequence that is suitable.

Get Them Active in the Community

Teens often feel like the weight of the world is on their shoulders. Little do they know that they have a whole life ahead of them with burdens that will make theirs look miniscule. Allow them to volunteer in shelters and food banks so that they can see what a hard life is really like. This will be a great time for you to spend together giving back to your community. However, it will also show your teen how to appreciate their life a bit more, which could ease up on their attitude.

Try a Different Approach

Instead of being quick to anger when your teens do something wrong, you should try to react with empathy, persuasion, or humor. Here are a few choice examples of using empathy, persuasion, and humor:

Your teen brings you home a bad report card after you’ve provided them with all the resources to succeed. Instead of screaming and trying to beat the importance of education into their heads, why not respond by saying, “Looks like its going to be a long summer in the house.” This lets your teen know that you meant what you said about getting good grades. It also lets them know that their entire summer will be ruined if they don’t get their act straight. This keeps you from getting stressed, gets your point across, and hopefully gets your defiant teen in order.

If you find that these tips don’t work, it may be necessary to reach out to your teen and find out what’s going on. Sometimes there is a lot of stress in their lives and they need help sorting it out. If they know that you are on their side at all times they will feel confident in coming to you with their problems.

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