How to Deal With a Teenager Who Threatens to Move Out?

By Kathryn Hatter
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When problems arise between a teenager and parents, the teenager’s solution to the conflict may be to remove herself physically. If you hear threats about moving out of your home when your teen feels angry or frustrated, your response should be careful and measured. While you don’t want to push your child into anything rash, it’s also important not to allow your teenager to manipulate you with threats.

Step 1

Diffuse a contentious situation by utilizing the tool of silence, advises psychologist Patrick C. Friman, Ph.D, with the website. Becoming silent halts the confrontation or argument and forces your teenager to stop as well.

Step 2

Wait until your teen's anger subsides and after your silent treatment and then proceed carefully. Maintain control and composure as you speak with your teenager, suggests the Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System. If you return anger with anger, the situation often escalates negatively. You might need to defer the conversation for an hour or two until everyone is calm.

Step 3

Tell your teenager that despite his threat to move out, you will not change the house rules or any decisions you have made. Giving in to threats your teenager has made because of fear that he will follow through creates a negative power struggle between you and your teen, according to parental support line advisor Megan Devine, LCPCC writing for the Empowering Parents website.

Step 4

Maintain all expectations and house rules that you feel are necessary for your teen’s safety and the well-being of your family. Shift the responsibility of compliance to your teenager – she needs to follow the rules if she expects to stay in your home. If she cannot or will not follow them, then she may need to leave.

Step 5

Examine any house rules and expectations that may be unrealistic or inappropriate for your teenager’s age level and maturity, advises the KidsHealth website. For example, if your rules include your teenager’s clothing or the music he listens to, it’s probably wise to step back. Save the house rules for the important issues that involve safety and well-being and let your teenager make some personal decisions in other areas to give him practice.

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