Combating Teenage Rebellion
June 7, 2017
How do parents keep their teenagers from becoming victims of rebellion during those volatile teenage years? The most important thing to bear in mind is that the seeds of rebellion are sown while they are growing through the formative years leading up to their teens. When children realize that there are consequences for wrong behavior at every stage of growth, for instance, they will be more likely to consider repercussions of their actions when they become teenagers. While there is no formula, here are a few suggestions:
1. Always communicate unconditional acceptance of your children. Affirm them often, so that when conflicts arise as they mature, they will still move towards you and not away from you.
2. Be consistent and wise in disciplining your children. Follow through. When you say there will be a punishment, keep your word. Children who experience boundaries as real also come to understand there is wisdom and benefits to them.
3. Gradually grant them the independence they desire at the age appropriate time. This is a skill. To hold the reins too tight for too long can embitter a child. To hold the reins too loose, and to release them too early can set them up for failure and breed insecurity and mistrust.
4. Communicate, communicate, communicate. At every stage communication is key. As they mature, communication is paramount. The child who feels like his parents hear and understand him will not wander far down the road of rebellion. Learn to listen.
5. Have and communicate a plan, and do it. Achieving the goals of the plan are never automatic. Acceptance is unconditional. Rewards are not. They are a result of well thought up plans and our children’s compliance to their part in the process.
6. To do things together. Find things that are of interest to your children but which can be enjoyed together. I may do sports with my boys, but I also have regular “DDDs” with my girls (Daddy Daughter Dates).
7. Help them with the definitions. Since teenagers are seeking definitions, guide them in discovering them. Be careful not to tell them the answers you want to hear. The skillful parents knows that when they discover the answer, this ownership is not easily taken from them. Do not push them to accept your definitions. They will likely push back.