While raising can be challenging, it’s all a part of life as a parent. So while your child might be causing you a lot of stress right now, just remember, it won’t last. If you’re dealing with an unruly teenager, don’t stress. In this article, we highlight a few ways you can better manage your kid’s behavior:
1. Don’t Take It Personally
When teenagers misbehave, many parents blame themself. But the truth is, kids aren’t perfect. They often go through phases of good behavior and bad behavior. Try not to take it personally or label your child as “bad.” Instead, understand that it’s perfectly normal for your teen to lash out from time to time.
There’s a scientific reason why teens act out. While kids are becoming older and more independent, their brains are still developing. Teens aren’t able to control their impulses as much as adults or make informed decisions. This, in conjunction with peer pressure and individual anxiety, can greatly impact a teenager’s behavior. So while it might be easy to blame yourself, it’s not your fault.
2. Be Empathetic
When your child misbehaves, your first instinct might be to punish them. Bad behavior warrants a consequence, right? Not always. You shouldn’t let your child get away with lashing out. But it’s important to show empathy and try to understand why your child is acting a certain way.
Step into your teen’s shoes. Is there tension at home? Have they moved schools? There are so many different things that could be impacting your child’s behavior. Believe it or not, according to research, strict parenting can also cause your teen to act out. If you have a habit of being too overbearing or controlling, you might want to loosen up the strings a bit.
For instance, if your child is approaching their teen years, they’re probably begging you for their own phone. Instead of dismissing them altogether, consider finding a middle ground and buying a kids phone that’s safe but keeps you in control. You can check out Gabb Wireless for safe phones for kids.
Regardless of what’s causing your teen’s behavior, it’s important to get to the root issue. That way, you can better navigate the situation.
3. Create a Strong Relationship
How is your relationship with your teenager? You don’t have to be best friends, but you should have a strong relationship. That requires spending time with your child and giving them your full attention. Ask about their day and know who their friends are. When you make a commitment, follow through.
Teens need to respect you and know that you have their best interests in mind, while also knowing that you love them. How can that happen without a strong relationship? It can’t.
Before you punish your teen or put rules into place to improve their behavior, make sure you are modeling the behavior you’d like to see. That way, you can effectively promote behavioral change.
4. Set Clear Rules and Boundaries
As a parent, it’s your responsibility to do what you can to set your teen up for success. You can put certain rules in place and set specific boundaries so your teen grows up to be a well-rounded individual. That could mean giving your teen weekly chores or requiring them to keep their grades up.
Regardless of what rules you put in place, make sure to communicate clear consequences if/when your teen breaks a rule. If possible, pick punishments that fit the infraction. For example, say your teen gets a C- on a test because they spent their “study time” online. You could remove their internet privileges for a week as a result.
When setting rules and boundaries with your teen, do your best to be clear. Make sure your teen fully understands what’s expected of them, and what might happen if they don’t meet those expectations.
5. Follow Through on Discipline
You want to set clear behavioral standards for your teen. But what’s more important than having disciplinary actions in place is following through on them. As a parent, there are times when you might feel guilty about punishing your teen. That’s completely normal, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow through.
Not carrying out consequences is something most parents are guilty of on at least one occasion. The problem is, by not following through, you’re essentially telling your teen not to trust you.
Pretend you’re a teenager and you bring home a bad grade. Your mother may say something like, “If you don’t get your grades up, I’m taking away your technology.” But lucky for you, your mother never actually takes away any of your devices. The threat of losing your phone is now non-existent. You have no real reason to study harder for your next test.
See how that works? For teenagers to know you’re serious and that you mean what you say, there needs to be follow-through.
6. Be a Role Model
While you don’t have to follow the exact same rules as your teenager, it’s imperative to set a good example. You might not think your teen pays attention to you, but they’re always watching and learning.
Do you want your teen to stop lying? Make sure you tell the truth. Do you want your teen to work harder in school? Stop complaining about how miserable you are at work. Do you want your teen to spend less time on their phone? Limit your screen time as well.
As a parent, managing your teenager’s behavior probably comes more naturally than managing your own. But that’s exactly why you should be aware of your own actions. You should also be aware of what type of message they might send your teen.
Being a parent isn’t easy. And while you shouldn’t take your teen’s bad behavior personally, you should still be aware of your own actions. For instance, you may have a tendency to be overbearing or overdramatic. Perhaps reflect on how that could be impacting the way your teen communicates with you and vice versa. Managing your own emotions and actions can go a long way toward helping your teen manage theirs.