Teenagers, the very word instills fear in parents everywhere.
Teens think that they know everything and are shocked that parents and other authority figures are so dumb. They believe that they’re invincible and they tread dangerous waters frequently with that belief. It’s a wonder any of them make it out alive.
Whether the teenagers in your life are your children, your students, your nieces or nephews, or your neighbors, you’ve got your work cut out for you.
These tips will help you to handle difficult teenagers and remain sane.
1. Don’t React
Learn to respond, not react. Teens love to push buttons. They thrive on knowing just how to get underneath of your skin and poke and prod until you’re ready to blow up. Then they step back and snicker at you.
Learn to respond to them, but not react. This can take some practice but remember how it was when the school bully would tease you and you’d ignore him or her? It’s the same principle.
2. Stay Calm
Teens love to see adults out of control, it gives them a sense of control over the adults in their life. So, learn to remain calm no matter what the situation.
You may have to do some deep breathing exercises or take a walk but you’ll catch on and before you know it those teens won’t have anything on you. Learn not to show it when you’re upset with them and revisit the situation when you’ve calmed down.
3. Power Plays
Teens love power plays.They want to be independent and have the power. A little bit of independence can go a long way. Give teens boundaries in spite of the claim that “my friends don’t have any boundaries”.
When teens have boundaries they are safe to try things within their boundaries. As they grow and mature and show responsibility, they can expand those boundaries with parental permission. Whether they’re called boundaries, rules, house rules, or a code of conduct, they all work the same.
Along with boundaries come consequences. If a boundary is broken, there must be a consequence. These consequences should be determined prior to any offenses and teens should know exactly what the consequences are when they break a boundary.
Parents must be fully prepared to enforce those boundaries in order to show the teens that they are in charge. In most cases the consequences will only have to be enforced once or twice and the teen will stop challenging them.
5. Take The Leadership Position
Learn to take the leadership position. Teens need leadership. Focus on being a leader and many times the difficult behaviors can be managed before they happen.
When teens see a leader or parent that is nervous or seems undecided, they go to work immediately on manipulating that person. However, when teens see that authority figure step in and take charge, they are much less likely to give attitude and be difficult.
Often a difficult teen needs to find more responsibility, so give it to them. It’s amazing what this tactic can do to a difficult teen.
Once teens feel that they have something important to do, they will start behaving. It works really well on all teens. When teens feel that adults trust them and give them a responsibility, they begin to act better.
Whether you’re a parent, teacher, neighbor, or friend these tips will give you the leading edge on managing difficult teenagers. Try them and see if they don’t make a change in your most difficult teenagers.