When a teen daughter begins acting out, it can throw the entire family into a state of chaos and unrest. Before stress levels rise to an unpleasant point, intercede and confront your rebellious daughter. Interrupting the negative trajectory accomplishes several goals. These goals include protecting your teen from harm and relieving other family members from unhealthy stress levels, according to the Department of Special Services/Behavior Intervention Services at Fairfax County Public Schools.
Reach out to your daughter, even though she may be in a state of open rebellion and defiant anger. Center yourself and approach your teen in a calm and respectful manner to try to connect. Although your daughter may be demonstrating extreme anger and you may also be feeling anger in response, it’s essential to set aside the anger and try to connect with your child, states Jim Burns, PhD, author and president of HomeWord Center for Youth and Family.
Acknowledge your daughter’s anger and pain and apologize for your role in causing her pain. Even if you don’t know exactly what she’s angry about or what you’re apologizing for, it’s likely that you have some responsibility for her anger and pain. Just acknowledging and apologizing may break through a barrier and enable you to connect. Give a heartfelt apology and tell your daughter that you want to work through these problems to help everyone feel happier and more secure in the family.
Explain to your daughter that you won’t allow the rebellious behavior to continue. Tell her, “I understand that you’re feeling angry and unhappy with some things. We need to resolve these issues so that you can feel better and so that our family can be stronger. While we work on these issues, we need to agree and commit to more positive behaviors. You can’t stay out all night with your friends anymore – this isn’t safe behavior and it’s also not respectful of our family rules. Are you willing to make some changes along with the rest of us so we can work on these problems?”
Approach the situation in a joint problem-solving manner instead of a battle for control, advises the Department of Special Services/Behavior Intervention Services at Fairfax County Public Schools. Teenagers generally respond more positively to working together rather than receiving parental orders.
Touch on specific behaviors that concern you regarding your daughter. If you’re worried about teen pregnancy and your daughter’s physical health and safety, tell her so. If you want your teen to get specific health care to avoid pregnancy and help keep her healthy, tell her so and make a plan to accomplish this.
Seek professional counseling and care to help facilitate resolution and a change in the family dynamics. Even if you reach out to your daughter successfully and make a new connection, the dynamics and habits may not change easily. You may need guidance and intervention of professionals to help change habits and create new patterns.
Remain consistent about your expectations after you approach your daughter to confront her. Treat her with love and respect, but insist that your daughter abide by house rules. If your daughter refuses to cooperate, seek professional intervention and help.