How to deal with teenage attitude?

Shutterstock: Antonio Guillem

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All children are different and behavioral problems can arise at any age, but the attitude of teenagers is almost always a little difficult for parents to manage. At some point after the age of 11 or 12, even the best-behaved and most expertly raised teen will begin to show signs of knowing everything and thinking their parents know very little. Parents must learn how to manage the stage for their own mental well-being as well as to keep their teen under control.

Ignore the Behavior
Remember when the same kid was three and would scream, kick their feet, and hold their breath because they wanted ice cream for breakfast? The best response then is often the best response now for a difficult, attitude-filled fourteen-year-old. Teens do have a lot happening to them. Hormonal fluctuations, concerns about college, and anxiety and self-esteem issues can cause a normally great kid to become a little difficult. Ignore the attitude and deal with only the situation taking place. Stay calm and hope the balanced approach influences the child.

Talk to Them
Teenagers sometimes have no idea why they feel so angry or sad. They may know why they are angry and not want to talk about it. They may want to talk about it but not right now or not to their parents. They may feel offense at the parent suggesting there is a problem. Regardless of the specific situation occurring now, it is still a good idea to just ask if they need help or if they want to talk about what has upset them. At some point, the request will sound welcoming to them and the parent and teen can begin to communicate rationally and with love.

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Mimic Their Behavior
Let the teenager see what they look and sound like when they are expressing their worst attitude. Repeat their words back to them and copy their gestures as well. If they complain or ask what is going on, express how it bothers you when they act that way and how important it is for them to see how they look to others. Repeatedly needing to deal with someone acting like them may be enough to make the teen eventually behave respectfully.

Refuse to Communicate
Send the teen out of the room and refuse to answer or discuss the issue until they can act with respect. Parents need to remain the one in control of the home and allowing a child to hurl verbal insults, engage in dramatic sighs, or eye roll is allowing them to express a lot of disrespect. Do not threaten or punish the child for their attitude but do send them out of sight until they can make a request or begin a conversation in a more acceptable manner.

Children are not better or worse between the ages of 13-19 than they were at other ages, they are just living a unique experience and trying to get through it as well as they can. Parents need patience and they need to remember what their teen years were like. Love your teen and teach them about respect.

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