Try These 5 Solutions for Irritating Teen Behaviors

Try These 5 Solutions for Irritating Teen Behaviors

Why is it that teenagers feel like a constant minefield? One day everything seems to be going well – your teen speaks to you, fulfills their responsibilities, and seems generally pretty happy. Suddenly everything can change. Angst, eye-rolling, slammed doors, sketchy friends, dropping grades, and the silent treatment can all present themselves without warning. While these challenges are completely normal for teenagers, that doesn’t make them easy or fun to deal with – even for the best parents. So what do you do? How can you address the most obnoxious and irritating teen behaviors? We have a few ideas for you.


Problem #1 – Drama!!!!

Tiny things can derail your teen’s day. A simple phrase can set them off to shouting or tears. Seemingly insignificant or temporary setbacks seem life-ending. It’s hard to keep up with, and even harder to be sensitive.
Solution: Listen and empathize, empathize and listen. No matter how silly or upsetting it might be to you, it’s critical that your teen knows you care. When someone listens and cares, the load doesn’t seem quite so heavy and their reactions will begin to normalize. It’s a skill every parent needs to master.


Problem #2 – Bedtime Is Always A Battle

It’s almost like having a toddler again. Teens want to stay up, and stay out, late. They may argue that they should be allowed to stay out as late as they want, or that they don’t need a curfew or bedtime. They may say that you’re the worst parents in the world for treating them like a child.
Solution: Listen to their complaints and then thoroughly explain your reasons for curfews and bedtimes, without using phrases like “under my roof” or “because I said so!” When your teen starts to understand that you aren’t trying to ruin their life, you can come to an agreement with rules and consequences – together. You can find more tips for parenting practices like this here.


Problem #3 – They Need An Attitude Adjustment

Probably the most common complaint about teen behavior is the prevalence of attitude. Smirking, eye-rolling, back-talk, and other issues can be making your day-to-day life a constant conflict. Do you ignore or engage? Enable or punish? It’s a delicate balance.
Solution: Set clear boundaries about respect, but then leave them alone. Allow them to experience anger, sadness, isolation, and even misguided hate if they need to, because their emotions are developing rapidly. Communicate love and respect to them, hold them responsible for their actions, and then reward good behavior.


Problem #4 – They Have Sketchy Friends

The loudmouth girl who seems to loathe clothing. The greasy boy who dresses in full goth attire. Friends who don’t exactly fit your mold can be threatening and even dangerous to your teen’s health and development.
Solution: It can be tempting to forbid your teen from seeing them or inviting them over, but it will encourage secrecy and make them feel simultaneously rejected by you. Instead, do your best to get to know their friends and make them feel welcome at your home – where problems and dangerous situations are less likely to occur.


Problem #5 – They’re Never Unplugged

They’re always on their phones, iPads, computers, gaming devices, or with their headphones blocking out you and the outside world. Every time you ask them to unplug and participate it’s like you’re asking them to cut off a limb. Does it have to be a constant struggle?
Solution: Decide a few well-defined times that you want undivided participation. This might be dinner, church, or when there’s homework to be done. Communicate these rules, and then back off. Try your best to let them retreat to their internet world (while maintaining an eye on their use for their safety, of course).

At the end of the day it’s important to remember that this is a phase, and a difficult one at that. Love and support them, despite these irritating behaviors, and the rewards will come.

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