Sometimes when my kids were teens, they would go so ballistic, it left me speechless. All I could do is stare at them with my mouth hanging open. OK. Sometimes I laughed. Hormones can be quite amusing for those of us who've survived them and moved on. Then, I would remember that I loved them. I'd hide my shocked expression and silly grin. I'd come up with a means to the end of their latest tirade. We'd all move on with our lives. Weeks later, we'd all have a good laugh and that was that. How did I remain so calm? What are my deep, dark secrets for handling supernova teen temper tantrums?
I didn't take it personally.
Why should I? It wasn't my temper flaring. It was theirs. There was no need for me to feel embarrassed, angry, or anything else. Sure, I felt bad for them. It's hard getting through the teen years. Still, I left the ball in their court. They were choosing to handle their emotional surges in a non-productive way. I knew it would take time and practice for them to correct that. Meanwhile, I let them own their rage.
I let them get it out.
Obviously, they had something to say. Sure, this wasn't the best way to say it. Still, there it was in undeniable living color. So, I would sit there with that blank stare on my face until they were through. (As long as they weren't hurting anyone.) I knew that the more I protested, the louder they would become. That's just human nature, isn't it? The more someone opposes my viewpoint, the more insistent I become. Why should it be any different for my teens?
I really listened.
Sometimes when those hormones take possession, it's productive. I sometimes learned all the things my teen had been holding in for weeks. Guess what? Every once in a while, they had a good case. It was hard to admit I might be wrong. Still, I had to hear my teens out. I had to remain objective. Otherwise, they might be raging for the rest of their lives.
I reveled in their embarrassment.
Hey, I'm not perfect. Like I said, teen temper flares can be a source of amusement for parents. Besides, life has a way of handing what you dish out right back to you on a silver-studded platter. I knew my teens would learn from their outbursts, just like I did. You were so right, Mom. What goes around, comes back around to haunt you.
I saved the lecture for later, or not at all.
Sometimes, the embarrassment was enough. Sometimes, something more needed to be said. Either way, it's better not to interrupt a raging teen. If any disciplinary action needed to be taken, it waited until they were calm enough to absorb the reasoning behind it. So, when your teen goes into a tailspin, don't panic. Remain calm. Remember, this is their problem. You're just there to guide them in the right direction.
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