Many teens go through a rebellious phase between the ages of 13 and 18. My oldest of three daughters is almost 14 years old, so I have had to deal with my share of teenage rebellion. Many times it is hard to know how to react as a parent in these trying times. I have found that it gets easier with time, and I learn from experience. If you are dealing with a rebellious teenager, try following these five tips.
#1 Always be a parent before a friend
Sometimes it is tempting to want to be your child's friend. You may have gone through a similar rebellious phase or you just want to feel close to your teen. Teenagers are going to get mad at their parents when they are told no or get in trouble for doing something wrong. We cannot let them get away with doing the wrong thing because we don't want to strain the relationship or are fearful they won't openly talk to us. We have a responsibility to be a parent first to our child, and deep down inside children want structure and rules. They may even thank us some day for choosing to be a parent rather than a friend.
#2 Think before you speak
It is important that parents think before they speak. Don't hand out punishment before thinking it through first and making sure it is reasonable and rational. We also need to do our best not to speak out of anger. We may need to take a time out and think things through before being able to calmly talk to our child and tell them what their punishment will be and why.
#3 Stand your ground
Once you tell your teenager what their punishment will be, it is important to stick to that punishment. This reemphasizes why you want to be sure that the punishment is reasonable. You also want to be sure that it is one that you can stick to. If you tell your teen one thing and do another, they will get mixed signals and take you less serious as a parent.
#4 Trust but verify
You don't want your child to think that you don't trust them or think badly about them, but you don't want to be naive or get lied to either. That is why you give your teenager trust, but verify what they say to be true. I have my daughter bring home movie receipts to prove she went to the movie she told me she was going to. This is just one example of trusting but verifying, yet this can be done in many other situations as well.
#5 Allow your child to express how they feel
It is important to allow your child to openly and honestly tell you how they are feeling and what they believe. As parents, we may not agree with our teenager, but it is still important to listen as they speak. When my teenage daughter tells me something that I disagree with, I have found the best thing to do is tell her my viewpoint on the matter while explaining that she has to decide what she believes for herself. I cannot change the way my daughter thinks about things, such as religion and appearance, and trying to do so will only add fuel to the fire.
When children are told something is wrong, they naturally want to do it even more. Let your teen know that you will always love them no matter what, but make sure they understand they have to follow your rules whether they believe them to be correct or not. This may mean that a teenager has to go to church whether they want to or not or is not allowed to get a body piercing until they are 18 years old.
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