It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. (E.E. Cummings).
As a life coach, I often receive calls from parents who are struggling with their teenage childrens’ behavior. It’s natural for parents to expect their kids to listen and follow their instructions without any questions. However, as teenagers grow, they start to develop critical thinking skills and assert their independence, which can sometimes come across as rebellion or defiance.
As a coach, I help parents understand that the words “defiant” and “rebellious” aren’t the best way to describe their teenagers’ behavior. Instead, they should view it as a normal part of their child’s development. Teenagers are navigating a complex period of their lives as they try to gain independence, maintain relationships with their parents, and fit in with their friends. It’s a lot to handle, and pushing back against authority figures is a healthy part of this process.
So, how can parents navigate this tricky period with their teenagers? One crucial aspect is to learn how to compromise. Open up the lines of communication and have a conversation with your teen about your expectations. For instance, if your teenager has a messy room, don’t give them an ultimatum like “Clean your room or you can’t go out this weekend.” Instead, have a dialogue where both parties can voice their opinions and work together to come up with a solution. Encourage brainstorming and problem-solving skills. The key is to find a solution that works for both parties, even if it’s not perfect. This approach can help build trust and strengthen the parent-teen relationship.
Another important factor to keep in mind is to avoid “sweating the small stuff.” Teenagers need rules and boundaries, but not everything is non-negotiable. As a parent, it’s up to you to decide what your boundaries and rules are based on your principles and values. Teenagers appreciate clear boundaries as it shows that you care. However, some things like the music they listen to or the clothes they wear are negotiable. It’s about choosing which battles to fight and which to let go of.
Finally, communication is key. Keeping the lines of communication open and having regular conversations with your teenager can help prevent conflicts from escalating. It’s okay to stop a conversation that’s becoming too emotional and taking a step back. The important thing is to take responsibility for the decline in the conversation and finding a way back from the edge. Remember, a certain amount of push back is normal from your teenager and should be expected as they navigate the road to independence.
Parenting a teenager can be challenging, but it’s important to understand that it’s a natural part of their development. By learning how to compromise, avoiding sweating the small stuff, and keeping the lines of communication open, parents can navigate this period of their child’s life with greater ease and strengthen their relationship along the way.