Raising a teenager can be one of the most challenging experiences a parent will go through. Teenagers are in an awkward stage, dealing with hormonal changes that are out of their control and a developing brain. They’re awakening to new realizations about themselves and the world around them.
Teenage rebellion is a natural phase, however, handling it as a parent is anything but natural. If you’re struggling with raising an angry teen, here are some strategies that can help.
Keep Your Cool
It may be difficult to keep your cool when your teen is yelling at you, but as the adult, it’s important that you maintain control. Refrain from yelling, cursing, or name-calling your teen. Verbal abuse will only escalate the argument and will have a long-term impact on your child and your relationship. If your child is being verbally abusive, apply consequences to their behavior and speak in a calm, matter-of-fact tone.
Accountability, Not Control
Rather than trying to control your teen and their behavior, make them accountable. Set clear boundaries, and establish rules and consequences.
It can be difficult to listen when your child is yelling or angry. Your initial reaction may be to defend yourself or criticize. Rather than offering advice or judgment, actively listen to your teen. Be silent as they express themselves, and ask questions to better understand how they’re feeling. You can also calmly express that it’s difficult to listen to them when they’re angry and yelling. By genuinely trying to listen and understand them, you can teach them how to control their emotions and express themselves calmly.
Give Them Space
When your teen is angry and wants to storm off, let them go instead of following them and trying to continue or resolve the argument. It’s healthy for both of you to give each other space and time to cool off so you can revisit the discussion when you’re both feeling calmer.
Pick Your Battles
Your teen is going through a difficult phase, and needs empathy. Remember back to the times when you were a teen to help you empathize. There will be times when your teen is making a bigger deal of something than it needs to be, and as the adult it’s your job to know when to stand your ground, and when to let things go. Talk with your spouse to set boundaries and determine priorities of issues that can be compromised, and issues that are non-negotiable.
If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact us today.
Daniela Weise, LMFT works with teens struggling with depression, anxiety and substance use.