How to Deal with Disrespectful Teenagers

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In the previous article, we saw what causes teenagers to behave rudely. Now we will focus on how to manage and deal effectively with that behavior.

Be Patient

This is something you already know but still ask yourself, how often do you remain genuinely patient when dealing with them? It’s natural; I get it. Teenagers have a tack to get on your nerves but you are the grown up here, you have more experience of life, you have already passed the stage they are presently struggling through, you have been there so you can understand how hard and complicated things must be in their mind. Everything is new for them. They are trying to create an independent personality, a person who is capable of taking care of themselves, and that’s not going to be accomplished without making any mistakes. Be prepared for their mistakes and let them know that you will be there to support them.

Avoid Arguments

Arguing with teenagers won’t take you anywhere, besides it will just deteriorate your relationship. Both of you will blame each other and utter many rude and hurtful words which you don’t even mean. Now, you know you have seen the world more than them. They know the same, so there is no point reminding them of that. You just have to let them know how much you love them and wish for their well being and will surely cooperate if they come up with a better idea.

Be the Role Model

There is a concept known as ‘Modeling’ in psychology, according to which children imitate their parent’s behavior. Here, you will have to watch your behavior first. Behave only in a way you would like your kids to behave with you. For instance, recall their unwanted behavior and compare it with yours; with some introspection, you will find similarities, though the content and intensity may differ. Always use respectful language despite how bad your mood is. Do not taunt, mock or use sarcasm. Address politely what you want from them. Use straightforward sentences with clarity.

The Rule Book

Communication works better when it’s absolute and direct. Someday, when your child is in a calm mood sit with her/him and express how always arguing and saying ill things to each other bothers you. Add to that, how you want to be in good terms with them and are ready to put whatever efforts it takes to have a healthy relationship. Introduce them to the concept of “Rule Book.” First, ask them what their expectations are from you, note it down in front of them then calmly express what you expect from them affectionately. Set the rules together with each other’s agreement, finding a midway where one can meet expectations of the other. Keep a written account of everything you are deciding. Remember, this is going to be a sensitive conversation, so handle it delicately. Listen more to your children and use a soft reassuring tone while talking. Make sure your child is comfortable and opening up with you. Do not rush this conversation, do it when both of you have plenty of time and privacy.

Reinforce Positive Behavior

Parents often try to create a perfect child because of which they often stress on the negative sides, completely overlooking the positive work their children have accomplished. Make sure you are acknowledging their good marks in history even if they score terribly in Mathematics. Their performance in Maths needs criticism but don’t snatch away all the appreciation they deserve for their hard work on history. Acknowledge their achievements in front of others, as long as they are comfortable with it. Tell them how well they have done in History, ask them about the difficulties they are facing with Mathematics and work on them together. Remember, even after all of your efforts they might not score up to your expectations; here, focus on their efforts instead of marks.We all have our strong and weak points. Accept that and admire their hard work. Same goes for their behavior in other aspects of life. Tell them how proud they make you feel when they behave in a certain way, avoid using ‘but’ when you appreciate them. Save the ‘buts’ for some other conversation.

Focus on one Problem

Enough is said about how they feel, let’s talk about your feelings. You are an adult; you have your share of problems, relationship conflicts, and workplace stress to deal with. It’s not always possible to behave like an “ideal parent.” Sometimes you would want to yell at them, bring up past mistakes unnecessarily and just surrender to your negative feelings. You know the consequences it will have, so just focus on the problem you have to address. Do not bring up, “remember the time you… “stuff. It always starts with one problem but in the process, we end up saying many remotely connected things, which can make sense to you but not to your kids and worsen the situation. They will only understand that you have hurt their feelings and either snap back rudely or shut you off for a long time, latter happens if your kids are sensitive. So, focus on why they came late now, rather than how they came late two months ago.

Family Time

Make some time for family and communication. A time where all the members can sit together, talk about each other’s day, share your problems, ask for advice and have fun. Teenage is a period where your child is turning into an adult, start treating them like one. Let them have an opinion, take their consent, give explanations, provide with information if necessary. Don’t dismiss by saying “you will know when you grow up,” that’s the worst thing to do. Your goal in parenting should be to turn your child into an adult, not keep them a child forever.

Don’t take it Personally

There are times when parents do everything right, put all the efforts and they still are not able to get in good terms with their children. In such scenarios, learn not to take things personally. Your child may roll eyes, mock, stomp feet or mutter rude words but it’s not completely directed at you. Their life has many aspects and they still haven’t learned how to sort and deal with things perfectly. This will take time. Some children often go undiagnosed with a psychological condition called Oppositional Defiant Disorder, where disobedience and disrespectful attitude is at its peak. Children with ODD has frequent temper tantrums, refuses to adhere to authority, use mean language and blame others. If nothing works, please take them to a qualified psychologist for assessment. ODD can be treated with proper guidance and psychotherapy. Have faith in your child and do your best.

There might be things of complex nature which were not addressed in this article. Feel free to drop those queries below; I would love to answer them as soon as possible.

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