“I hate you!” as she stormed off into her room slamming the door behind her. This started all because my daughter wanted to go to her friend’s house and I simply said, “No! you haven’t finished your chores.” She did resurface some time later only to say, “You don’t understand me. You never listen to me……!” And it just went on and on until she ran to her room again and slammed her door yet again.
I know that this is a normal part of the teenage years but it still hurt. Of course, all her words were untrue. And I know she was just upset over not being able to go to her friend’s house until her chores were done. However, after that episode, I couldn’t let her go to her friend’s house or could I?
What it comes down to is the teen years are all about teens feeling an urgent need to separate from their parents and find their independence. It’s just like your two-year-old saying, “No!” or your youngster saying, “You’re not the boss of me!” It’s all about your teen getting ready to go out into the world on their own.
It’s just that she made the situation so much worse with her angry and hurtful words. How could I let her talk to me that way and get away with it? Then she would know no boundaries when it came to hers and my relationship.
Separation and independence are often achieved through aggression, including verbal rudeness and at times physical means.
At times it seems like whatever I do or don’t do sets her off.
I’m keeping my cool and I know that it’s not a sign of her rejecting me, or ultimately a power struggle and of course, I know she’s not a bad kid so I just feel like if I keep the whole thing in perspective and realize that she’s just doing what nature intended for her to do then we’ll come through this on an even keel. After all, the frontal lobe of their brains that regulates self-control is not fully developed (this happens in the mid-twenties) therefore they are still impulsive and cannot always think and act reasonably. I just have to remember this. Easier said than done though huh!
The way you communicate with your teenager and your actions play a major role in the outcome.
Here are some helpful approaches that can lead to more positive results:
- Acknowledge their emotions.
- Listen to them. What are their requests?
- Respect their privacy.
- Don’t baby your teen.
- Avoid criticism.
- Spend quality time with them.
- Set up a family meeting.
Acknowledging their emotions-
When I told her that she couldn’t go to her friends’s house and she reacted with anger and hateful words like “I hate you” and “I can’t stand you,” I need to focus on her anger and acknowledge it, “I can see that you’re angry, you’d like to go to your friend’s house”. Then set a limit, “Those words are hurtful. It’s ok to be angry, but you need to say, ‘I’m really hurt and angry’ and we can talk about your feelings.”
Listen to their requests-
Teens are constantly after more freedom. When you say, “No.” immediately they usually react with rage because they hate that you have all the power. Instead of reacting with a “No” immediately instead open up a dialogue and say something like “I hear you. You want to go to so and so’s house. We have to talk more about it.” If you disagree with a request, try this: Restate the issues; “We have a problem. You want to go to your friend’s house. You haven’t finished your chores. It’s my job to make sure you are doing your chores for the family and the household. What shall we do?” Your child will feel his wish is being acknowledged, and he has some power because he is involved in the problem-solving.
Respect their privacy-
Teens often see their room as their castle. It’s connected to their individuality. It is best to establish a family policy whereby members knock on the door and not barge into each other’s rooms. Walking in unannounced leads to unnecessary battles. Teens also feel very protective of their possessions, so it is always advisable to ask to borrow something and avoid going through your child’s things.
It was a great reaction on my part that I didn’t follow her into her room even though that was what I wanted to do.
Avoid babying your teen-
Teens want to be respected here. They don’t want to be babied. They are no longer babies but rather young adults and they want the world to know that they can take care of themselves. Any hint of infantilizing your teen will make them crazy angry. It’s kind of funny though because the minute they need something from us they expect to be rescued. It’s obviously best here to ask if they’d like your help.
If you criticize your teen’s every move it makes them feel controlled and highlights their insecurities. Therefore, it’s best to avoid giving your child an endless list of instructions, barking commands at him, or engaging in a running critique of him. Speaking in a respectful way is recommended to all people, but to a teen who feels easily insulted, and each experience each criticism as a blow to his self-esteem, it’s best to choose your words carefully.
Spend quality time with your teen-
Though your teen may not be around as much and seems to want distance and even pushes you away, they still want your love and attention. This is an excellent time to establish family night maybe playing games or having pizza- something special that will give you time to bond or catch up. Maybe go out for ice cream or a day shopping.
Set up a family meeting-
Establishing a set time for a short meeting once a week to work on a large issue such as college applications and other responsibilities, will lower your anxiety and reduce the feeling that you need to nag him to get anything done.
If you’re wondering just how I handled this and how everything turned out you’d be surprised. I actually acknowledged her emotions as mentioned above and she was so surprised at my response instead of me getting really angry and reacting with hurt and angry words in return that she admitted it was unfair of her to expect to get to go to her friend’s house until her chores were done and she apologized for her behavior earlier. So see miracles do happen even when dealing with the topsy-turvey crazy turbulent teenage years.
Take care until next time,
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Welcome. I’m Kelli and I’m really glad to meet you. I’m an adoring wife to my soulmate and mother to four precious kiddos. I’m on a mission teaching others what I’ve learned so far in this crazy thing called life. I just love love love being a mommy and next, I’m crazy about blogging and it is my fondest wish to create that same sense of joy in all those who visit my site. I am here to teach others how to do a bunch of things related to family, faith, family fun, fabulous finds for home and family, and financial freedom through the art of blogging and creating digital products. Stick with me and I’ll have you sitting pretty on top of your own domestic and blogging empire! Enjoy!:)