Teenagers are well known for their drama because they are in the throes of puberty and developing autonomy. They can be moody, emotional, sensitive to criticism or praise. Because they are changing physically, mentally, and emotionally it is necessary that parents guide them through this time with support and encouragement.
Listen to them, don’t argue back.
Your teens are looking for your attention so engage them in conversation and let them know that you really do want to hear what they have to say today. Be prepared to listen patiently as they may go into deep subjects or outlandish stories only a teenager would come up with – parents are not always in the mood to listen when they are in the middle of their own busy schedule.
Listen non-judgmentally to their stories and let them know that you will take what they say seriously, but will not get too involved with things that do not matter. Try your best to follow through on promises you make to be supportive or to help your teen find solutions for problems they are struggling with.
Get out of the house together.
Some teens become difficult because they are locked up at home all day with nothing to do. Try taking your teen out of the house and see if this helps them handle their moods better. Go shopping together for clothes or other necessities, go to the movies, grab some dinner, take a walk around the neighborhood, even spend some time getting lost in a book store.
Do not try to coerce them into going shopping with you, let them know that it is totally their choice but if they decide to go then you will be there fully supportive of what they want to buy and willing to carry the bags for them. Giving teens choices about where and how to spend their time can help them feel a part of the decision making process and will give them a sense of autonomy over their lives.
Be consistent with your rules.
If you have set a curfew time then stick to it, no matter what the reason for being late might be – even if it is as bad as getting beaten up by other teens on the way home from school. Sometimes parents tend to be too lenient when it comes to curfews because they don’t want their teen’s social life to suffer. Be kind but firm and do not budge on this issue, teens will respect you more for sticking up for yourself in these situations.
Give them peace at home.
Remember that your teen is under a lot of stress and is going through a tough time, so do not add to their burdens by engaging them in arguments or shouting matches. When you need space from your teen think about ways of giving it to yourself without feeling guilty. Go have dinner with friends, spend some extra time on hobbies that relax you, go exercise – anything that gets your mind off the teen drama isn’t a waste of time.
Some teens will try to push your buttons just to get you angry, if this is the case then don’t give them the satisfaction of knowing that they have riled you up. Be mature and rise above it so that instead of being an irritation in your life, the conflict between you and your teen will be an opportunity for both of you to grow.
Teens are not the only ones who can cause problems, parents can too.
It is important that you acknowledge your own mistakes so that you do not blame teenagers for everything that goes wrong in your life. When your kids act up it might be because they sense something is wrong in the way you handle conflicts, so make sure that you stay calm and rational no matter what they say or do.
Do not let yourself get carried away by anger or anxiety but give off a strong sense of self-control instead. Be mindful of your actions and words as teenagers will always know where to find your buttons if they want you to lose your temper.
Lastly, remember that the ultimate goal is to maintain a healthy line of communication between you and your teen, so take time out of your busy schedule to talk with them about things that matter.