Dealing With Difficult Behavior At Home
Children have their ups and downs, and sometimes their behavior can be challenging. They lash out, become difficult to reason with and can be defiant in a way that becomes frustrating as a parent. While toddlers can be challenging, dealing with teenagers can be a whole other kettle of fish. It’s not always easy, but you won’t have been the first parent to encounter problem teenagers. If you need some advice on coping with challenging behavior, the following tips could help.
Establish what’s causing the behavior
In many cases, difficult behavior is triggered by something, be it a reaction to discipline or a part of their routine that they disagree with – you can learn a lot about what’s causing the behavior by establishing whether there are any antecedents triggering it. By figuring out what triggers your child’s problem behavior, you can help to control it. You might be able to get them to open up through a conversation, helping you to dig a little deeper to get to the root of the problem.
Realize that it might take some work
Dealing with difficult behavior requires a lot of patience and a realization that it may not get resolved overnight. Your teenager is going through a lot between puberty, school and other social pressures. In some cases, your teen might just be going through the motions, and you might just have to ride out this phase. In the meantime, practice calm and patience and try not to meet every confrontation with anger – it will only exacerbate the situation.
Learning to communicate
This is likely to be a new stage of life for the both of you, so it’s normal to feel out of your depth. Communicating with your teen won’t always be simple, especially if you find that they’re always glued to their phone. There is some great advice out there that you can follow to help you communicate better with your teen. Knowing which moments to choose, being able to listen rather than lecture and keeping your own emotions under control can help you to both have a more meaningful conversation.
Stand your ground
While it’s tempting to give into your teen for an easy life, it will be in your interest to hold your ground. Your teenager will try to push your limits, but you need to be firm with your rules and not give up your power. As much as they might hurt and upset you with their behavior, you can’t let them win – otherwise, it will continue.
This is where counting to ten will do you some good. Before you react, take some time to think about what you’re going to say and do – keeping your cool as you do.
Set fair boundaries
Rules are important, but if they’re unrealistic or inconsistent, then they will be difficult to set. Your child’s teenage years are the time to grant them some more independence, which is something that you can do without letting them run wild. Establish your rules and communicate them clearly, explaining what the consequences are should they be broken. It can be difficult when your teen thinks they’re too good for the rules, but finding a way to reach an understanding will create less trouble for you both moving forward.
Don’t step in until you need to
What teenagers long for is their independence, a chance to prove that they can be adults. Sometimes it’s worth stepping back and giving them the chance to resolve their own problems. What you can do, however, is to offer them help should they need it. That way, if their own efforts fail – they’ll know that you’re there for them when they need it. Avoid ‘I told you so’ and other negative reactions, and ask them if they want your opinion before they volunteer it. They may not always come to you, but that’s a decision for them to make, not you.
Know when to seek help
Despite all of your best efforts, you may not always succeed in getting through to your teen. If their behavior becomes particularly troubling to the point where your own mental health is suffering, then it’s time to do something about it.
Your kid’s school might be able to offer some advice to help you navigate difficult issues – especially if they are noticing the same behavior at school. You could try a child psychologist with experience dealing with teenagers, but be prepared that this may not be a welcome solution for your teen.
More people are turning to troubled teen programs as a solution for helping challenging teens to overcome their problems. It’s not just a solution for problem teens – those with mental health issues can also benefit from these sorts of programs. Make sure that you do your research to ensure you’re making the right decision for your teen.
Remember to bring the fun back
While you need to establish boundaries and tackle trouble behavior, you also need to have fun with your teen. There are some great ways to connect with your teenager that can help you both create some memories that will remind you that the teenage years weren’t always doom and gloom. From going to the movies to eating out together, try to plan some regular activities that will help you both relax and enjoy each other’s company. Even if they’re a bit hesitant at first, they’ll soon enjoy the positive attention and look forward to spending quality time together.
Nobody said parenting was easy, and those teenage years can be some of the most difficult you’ll face. It’s important to remember that they won’t last forever, and you also need to make the most of your time with them – as leaving the nest will be the next step. There are plenty of other useful tips to help you deal with your teenager’s behavior that cover some more practical ways to cope. Remember that you’re not alone in this and you’ll find plenty of advice in friends, family and online to help you make it through.