Teenagers are fickle things dealing with raging hormones, changing bodies, and developing minds.
Most of the time, they are unsure of what they want in life and stay in a constant state of unfulfilled wishes as they battle this uncertainty. Meanwhile, others know exactly what they want in life and are frustrated when they are unable to attain it due to age, maturity level, parental rules, and the like. All of these thought of "wants" and "desires" can be but are not always helpful or advantageous. What do we do when the attitude of a raging teenager strikes?
The first thing and most important thing is to keep calm. Am I a perfect example of this? No, I cannot say I have always kept my calm; however, I can promise that the hearts and attitude of my children have not changed when I have acted out of emotion. In fact, it has instead, forced them on the defensive, frustrated them further, and validated the notion that I would not listen.
When I have taken their attitude just as I would if I was listening to the local weatherman, sat them down, truly listened, and spoken with them, I can hear their heart and they can hear mine. The key thing is to listen. It is important that you seek to understand before seeking to be understood. Sometimes they listen to reason and sometimes they don't; however, keeping calm is the key to offering them the respect you expect in return.
Proverbs 15:15 states:
"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."
Keep calm, and address your child with facts and not emotions unless it is to tell them how much you love them. Showing them unconditional love despite their poopy attitude will keep your relationship strong long after they move out because, no, they are not cute little kids stealing cookies out of the cookie jars. Instead, these cute kids turned into adult looking, loud mouthed, opinion speaking, independence seeking teenagers...which leads us to the second key element.
To deal with a teenager's attitude, you need to have clear firm consistent guidelines and consequences. Hopefully, you began your parenting with clear guidelines and consequences when your child was little and followed through as they grew up because starting this process when they are teenagers is sure to be met with rebellion and frustration.
Each family is different with their rules. In my family of seven, my children are required to help with household chores, call us while they are out to keep us up updated, always tell the truth, be kind to their siblings, and limit their screen time. To break these rules means our child will face consequences. For each family and for each child, consequences can be different. There is everything from extra chores, grounding, to loss of privileges. The most important thing; however, is to have your children's hearts. When they mess up, they need to have consistent consequences while also knowing they are loved.
My kids know they are loved by me deeply. They do not always agree with my choices nor do they enjoy everything I ask them to do; however, they trust that I have their wellbeing in mind when they are asked to follow certain guidelines, expected to behave in a certain way, or fulfill a particular responsibility. When I am met with their obstinance, a conversation or family meeting is typically all we need to have. I allow them to vent their frustrations in a calm and respectful way just as they are expected to listen to me as well. Sometimes we find a resolution and sometimes they are still expected to comply with something they are not thrilled about. In the end; however, their knowledge of my love for them is what drives them to obey.
I encourage you to pray through your journey of teenage hood. It is so rewarding to watch your child blossom from a helpless being to an independent contributor of society. It is equally as scary. Trusting God to take care of your child is crucial for your peace of mind and your relationship with Christ is vital for your relationship with your children. I heavily lean on my Savior as I parent. Who better to consult then the one who made them?!
I would love to hear other pieces of advice you may have for raising teenagers and what to do when they have an attitude.. Simply login as a member to comment and subscribe here to get the latest updates and messages from yours truly! I look forward to reading your teenager advice! Happy parenting!