Strategies for Disobedient Teens

When your teen is acting up, behaving badly and giving you attitude, it is extremely important that you make an effort to intervene. Acting independent is normal for every teen, but the danger comes when they act up to dangerous extremes; the difference between breaking curfew and experimenting with heroin. When your teen starts to take “independent behavior” to a whole new level, it might be a wise idea to step in.


Perhaps the most fundamental strategy that parents of disobedient teens should take advantage of is communication. By opening up the lines of communication and giving the teenager a chance to talk about literally anything, you’ll make the confusing teen years that little bit easier – and according to the Newport Academy Teen Treatment Center, teenagers who share an open and honest relationship with parents tend not to show the same level of bad behavior as others do.

Establishing the Cause

According to psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw, there is always a cause for your teen’s disobedience – no matter what it is, from playing hooky from school to crashing your car. For parents, finding this cause presents itself as a strategy in itself. It might be something that has happened recently, or it might be the result of something a lot deeper – like a traumatic childhood event. Bad behavior is always a cause and effect process; finding what’s behind this behavior or attitude is a great way to establish a real understanding of your teen.

Seeking Professional Help

Keep professional help in mind. Mental illness is a heavy word – but it’s relatively common in teens and not as worrying as it sounds. In a child’s teenagehood, a space for mental illness makes itself known – whether it is anxiety, depression, attention deficit or schizophrenia -- so if you notice your teen acting out of character, talking about death, suicide or saying highly peculiar things, then it might be time to look into consulting a professional. If your child is talking about suicide, according to Mental Health America, professional help might be urgently required. Speak to your teen's pediatrician for follow up.

Keeping it Positive

Try to be positive, states Newport Academy. This is an important strategy, as parents use a great deal of energy simply criticizing their teen’s behavior. It might be a good idea to start adding a positive twist to some of these comments, with the intention of instilling a bit of confidence in your teen. For example, instead of simply saying, “You stay out way too late with your friends, and this is appalling” say, “I know you enjoy feeling independent, and that proves that you are a capable individual, but we get worried when you stay out after midnight."