"Huh?" "Like ... Noooo! You can't make me." My teenager stared blankly through me and held a defiant stance. My ears burned. My blood raced. I pursed my lips to keep emotion from flying out! Parenting teens with attitudes can be challenging.
What is the best way to respond to smart-mouthed quips or rude gestures?
Before you jump to a hasty response, it would be helpful to consider that the teenage years:
What is happening? Where did your sweet child disappear to?
I don't want to suggest that disrespectful behavior is acceptable. It is not. But it is important to understand that now more than ever your teen needs a good behavioral model. Teens need to understand that you understand what is happening to them. They are looking for a way to handle their frustration and confusion. They are looking to you for guidance.
What is an appropriate response?
It is human nature to want emotion. But if we react to their outbursts with outbursts of our own, we will only have an out of control firestorm. "Love and Logic parents make it clear from the start that sassing does not result in an emotional response" (Parenting with Love and Logic pg. 219). Teens believe that loud disruptive emotion will get them the attention they crave. When teens act out, it is a time for parents not to be shocked, angry or confused, but rather to answer their loud emotion with a calm quiet assurance.
How do you defuse their outbursts?
Step I Regroup
Will a code of discipline or a calm approach help keep the defiant teenage years at bay? Probably not completely. But it will help parents teach teens better methods of self-control as their bodies grow into the young adulthood years.
What do you do to help your teen manage their behavior?
What are some phrases that you have successfully used to get your teen to talk?
Does your teens birth-placement within the family make a difference in how you respond to their defensive behavior? Should it?
by Linda Shaw