Partly thanks to the swirl of hormones running through your teenager’s body, and partly thanks to their desire to be treated more like an adult as they grow older, you might encounter more than a few moments of teenage rebellion.
Tips On Handling Your Rebellious Teen
One moment they can be sweet, charming, and full of good manners, and the next they can be slamming doors and telling you to leave them alone. They will want to do things that you might not find acceptable, and they might even do these things behind your back.
“Where did my sweet little darling go?” you will ask yourself as another door gets slammed, and when you receive another phone call from the school principal. You might even ask your teen this question, although the answer you receive might not be a pleasant one!
Still, is there anything wrong with your teenager being rebellious? We have all been there, and some of us still beat to the sound of our own drums in rebellion today. Well, yes and no. If your teenager is putting themselves at harm, there is the need to worry. And for the sake of peace and sanity, you might want to know what you can do to handle your teen.
Here are some practical tips that we hope you find useful.
#1: Choose your battles carefully
If you’re always on your teen’s back, you are going to face a lot of resistance. So, don’t react to everything that meets with your disapproval. Some behaviors will simply be annoying, while others will be unacceptable, so know which is which.
Your teenager refusing to tidy up their room, for example, isn’t always that big of a deal. Your teenager deciding to stay out late at night, on the other hand, is a bit more concerning. When your teen comes home with ear piercings, there is little need to kick up a fuss. But when your teen comes home drunk, you might want to have a serious conversation.
These are just a few examples, and your tolerance level will be different to other moms. But the same rule applies: Don’t fight against everything your teen does. More slammed doors will ensue if you do, and you might turn them against you.
#2: Remember that your teen is becoming more independent
Think back to when you were a teenager. Remember your need to be independent as you grew older. Your teen might act in ways similar to you, so don’t react badly to some of their behaviors. So long as they aren’t putting themselves in harm’s way, you should let your teen have some control over their lives, even when they do things that you don’t necessarily agree with.
Sometimes, you just need to let go. You need to accept that your teen has a mind of their own. Talk to them about the choices they are making, by all means, and even offer them your point of view. But if they decide to go their own way, it’s sometimes okay to let them, especially when the issue you have with their decision-making isn’t that big of a deal.
#3: Wait until you’re both in a good place before having a serious conversation
There will be times when your teen’s behavior shouldn’t be tolerated. If they act out in ways that are unacceptable, you do need to confront them. However, you don’t always need to react ‘in the moment.’ If they are angry and if you are angry, then it’s obvious that any attempts at a serious conversation are destined to fail. Heck, you might be the one who ends up slamming doors and having a tantrum yourself.
So, wait until there is a sense of calm in the house. Or wait until you are both outdoors and away from the earshot and influence of others. Then have the conversation about your teen’s behavior, but come from a place of love, care, and concern, instead of a place of anger and intolerance. By approaching your teen the right away, you might avoid another terrible scene where they react badly to you.
#4: Talk to your teen the right way
When needing to have a serious conversation about something, don’t use words that are judgmental or demeaning, as these will only put your teen on the defensive. Instead, explain why you are concerned about your teen’s behavior, share examples from your experience, and explain why you are feeling the way you do.
Be prepared to stop talking too. It’s important to get your teen’s point of view, and even if they are making the wrong decisions, you should still make the effort to listen to them. When your teen feels heard, they might be more willing to listen to your point of view, and you might then have the opportunity to come to a compromise with them. That leads us to the next point.
#5: Find comfortable compromises
There will be some aspects of your teen’s behavior where compromises shouldn’t be made. It might be those instances when you know they are putting themselves at harm. For their care and well being, you do have the right to put your foot down.
However, there will be those other instances when you might come to a compromise. So, if your teen refuses to eat at the dinner table with the rest of the family, you might suggest they do so once a week so there is still some room for family bonding. If your teen wants to come home later of an evening, you might agree that they can do so on a weekend, so long as they let you know where they are.
It’s about finding solutions that you are both reasonably happy with, as you will then avoid the risk of a relationship breakdown.
#6: Spend time with your teen
The closer you are with your teen, the more likely they are to listen to you, so make plenty of time for bonding.
Go to the movies together, have film nights at home, make time for family trips, play games together, and try to find shared interests. You don’t want to overcrowd your teen, of course. They still need to have ‘me time,’ and they will have other people they want to spend time with. But try to schedule in times in the week when you can be together, as you will have more time to talk and listen to each other, and enjoy one another’s company.
#7: Set a good example for your teen
“You’re such a hypocrite!”
Those are the words you might hear your teen say if you don’t practice what you preach to them!
If you tell them to limit screen time but continue to spend hours on the phone or in front of the TV yourself, you will incur their anger.
If you yell at them for yelling at you, you are also setting a bad example.
And if you respond rudely to questions your teen asks you, you have to accept the fact that your teen might respond in a similar way to questions you ask them.
So, be a good role model. Behave in the way that you want your teen to follow. By doing so, your teen might take note of your good example, and they will have less to fire back at you should they ever feel you are being unfair to them.
#8: Get to the root of any issue
Why is your teen moody when they come home from school? Why are they refusing to eat the food you give to them? What are the issues that lie behind these behaviors?
In some cases, there may be no issues at all. Your teen will naturally go through mood swings, and they might decide they no longer like your cooking.
On the other hand, if your teen is moody after school, it might be that they have had a terrible day. They could be the victim of bullying, or they might be struggling with one or more of their lessons. And if they aren’t eating when they come home, it might be because they have an issue related to their body image.
As a parent, you should look out for signs of bullying and signs of eating disorders. You should carefully broach such subjects to your teen, and ask them if there is anything you can do to help them. And where appropriate, you should seek extra support if you think something is wrong. This will include your teen’s school, and it might include an outside agency,
These are just examples of why your teen might display certain types of behavior. For these and other behaviors, commit to a Google search to look for any possible underlying issues.
For all we know, your teen might be the epitome of politeness and respect. In which case, fine! But chances are, your teen is probably quite rebellious at times, and if so, consider our suggestions. We don’t have all the answers but consider what we have said, and then seek expert advice online or off if you need any further support with your teen.