Parenting, despite the endless joy that it provides, is tough business. Your kids are wonderful and you adore them, but sometimes their behavior is less than perfect -- perhaps leaving you wondering if you’ve done something wrong, if you can do something better or just what to do. When your boys reach their teenage years, they might portray their fair share of negative behavior, which is yet another instance in which you are left wondering what to do. Rather than assuming that your teen’s negative behavior is par for the course, resolve to deal with his negative behavior and turn it into a thing of the past.
Think about your own life as a teenager. Even if you never want to relive those years again, take a few minutes to think about your acne, your unfair parents, your desperation to mature and become an adult. Think about how much you wish your parents had trusted you more or been less embarrassing. Remembering these things will give you a fresh perspective when it comes to your teenage son’s negative behavior and what is causing his less than sunny disposition. It might even give you an inside track on how to handle his behavior in a way that doesn’t seem so unfair and horrible to him.
Talk to your son. Wait for a day and time when both of you are in a good mood and eliminate all distractions. Tell him that as his parent it’s your job to keep him safe and healthy, but that it’s also your job to let him grow and learn on his own. Ask him to help you come up with a new list of rules that are appropriate for the age he is. The rules for your 13-year-old son aren’t necessarily the rules you need to enforce for your 17-year-old son. By allowing him to help you come up with the rules and the consequences that go with breaking them, you are showing him that you understand he is growing up, that he is becoming more responsible and that you trust him. In addition, he is less likely to behave negatively if the rules are ones he helped to create because he will consider them fairer, and he won’t want to lose your respect.
Stay active in his life. Be present at his school functions, volunteer to drive carpool, go to his games or practices and just be present. The more involved you are in his life, the less time he has to exhibit negative behaviors. When you know his friends' parents, where he is and who he is with at all times, he is less likely to get into trouble than if you don’t make these things a priority in your life.
Hold him accountable for his actions, whether they are negative or positive. Recognize when he has accomplished something positive such as good grades on his report card or making the varsity team, and hold him accountable for his negative behaviors by enforcing consequences and righting his wrongs. For example, if your teen’s negative behavior involved accidentally backing over a mailbox on his way to school and driving quickly away to avoid getting caught, require him to use his own funds to purchase the materials needed to replace or repair the mailbox, make him go to the owner and apologize for his behavior, and make sure he fixes replaces or repairs the damage he did.
Don't expect results overnight. With consistency and postive parenting, you can deal with his negative behavior and possibly begin to see less of it in the future.