Parenting can be one of the most difficult roles there is, especially during the tumultuous teenage years. The teenage years are a time of crucial changes with a lot of growing pains involved, for parents and children. If you have a tough-minded teenager on your hands, thriving and getting along can seem complicated, if not impossible at times. Learning how to discipline and communicate properly can go a long way toward molding a good relationship.
Focus on the important things. Understand that rearing a teenager is a complex situation. Avoid stressing yourself out (and your child) by picking arguments or fights over every small detail. Prioritize and consider whether or not something truly is worth your effort. For example, ask yourself if you truly need to confront your daughter over her black nail polish. Think about what's truly important before you waste time and energy.
Find out the source of your teenager's behavior. Instead of assuming that your child is just naturally the way he is, try to understand exactly why he behaves so disrespectfully toward you. Perhaps he feels he doesn't understand you. He may also feel you pay less attention to him than his sibling. It could be that he feels pressure from you to excel at school. Take time to analyze all of the possibilities. The better you understand all of the potential causes, the easier it is for you to deal with him.
Behave as a role model. When you notice your teenager engaging in questionable patterns of behavior, examine yourself first. Consider the possibility that your teenager is learning behaviors from you. Avoid being a hypocrite and behave the way you want to see your child behave. If you don't want your teenager lying to you, don't lie yourself . If you get upset when your teenager is late coming home at night, make a point to always be on time for your appointments and obligations.
Be firm. When it comes to household rules, stand your ground. If your teenager doesn't take your rules and restrictions seriously, it's unlikely that she will ever respect you. When a teenager doesn't believe there are consequences or negative effects for inappropriate behavior, the misbehavior often escalates. If she shows up past curfew or speaks to you in a disrespectful tone, follow through on discipline, whether it's grounding her for a week or not allowing her to go on vacation during spring break.
Communicate your expectations. Misunderstandings can be a major culprit behind disrespectful teenage behavior and tension with parents. Sometimes, all a teenager needs is to know clearly what is expected. Parents often fall into the trap of thinking that a child can read minds. If you're concerned about grades, establish easy-to-follow instructions to help your child reach attainable goals. If you're upset about excessive partying on weekends, enforce a clear and defined idea of what your teen can and can't do. Listen to what your teen has to say.
Be patient. Abstain from showing anger and yelling no matter how frustrated or stressed out your child is making you. Remember that your child is worth the energy and effort and that getting angry will get you nowhere. Put the time in to nurture and raise your teenager to become a responsible, kind and happy adult.