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Posts Tagged ‘teen behaviors’

A parent skill that is very powerful with teenagers is Listening.  I know…this can seem like a very basic and obvious skill, however, this is not necessarily the case and this can be a tricky skill with teens sometimes.  The reason for this is because it can be scary for teenagers to think about how much they need you and rely on you, as their parent or guardian.  Think about how much energy they spend on pushing you away in an effort to prove how much they DON’T need you (which FYI they are trying to prove to themselves more than to anyone else).  Because of this, it is important for parents to take advantage of the opportunities when their teenagers WANT to talk to them and to be able to really listen fully when these opportunities arise.  When teens feel heard…they will be more likely to talk more.

Below are some tips and things to think about when listening to you teen:

  • Pay attention and be aware of when they want to talk – it is not always so obvious and they may not say, “do you have a minute to talk”.  They may be doing something else in an effort to get your attention, they may even be yelling or they may just make a point to be near you.  In such situations, you can simply say, “if there is anything you want to talk about I am here to listen”.  Keep is simple and don’t press them for information.
  • Be undistracted when they start talking – ignore the phone, TV or any other distractions around you as much as possible so that they feel they have your undivided attention and that what they are saying is important to you.
  • Make sure your body language gives the message you are listening – regardless of what they are saying, try to be relaxed, attentive and non-threatening while they are talking (if they are sitting, sit with them and don’t stand over them, etc).
  • Make conversations feel less threatening – sometimes sitting face to face is too much for teenagers.  Maybe talk while doing dishes, shooting a basketball, riding in the car, or doing some other activity.  This may take the pressure off them and make it easier for them to say what they really want to say.
  • Stay calm.  Being judgmental or having a strong emotional reaction will shut them down. If they feel like you are judging them or that they really upset you they will likely shut down and not come to you in the future.  This can be difficult to do since your teen may be talking about something that you disapprove of, something that scares you or even something that shocks you.  Trying to keep your emotions in control will allow the conversation to continue so that you can get all the information and let your teenager know that they can come to you, even in difficult situations.
  • Remember there is power in silence – sometimes just listening and hearing what they are saying without judging them is more effective than trying to offer advice.  If they feel they can really tell you what they want to say, they will be more likely to come to you again.
  • Respond in a way that keeps them talking – if you do respond to them, ask a non-threatening question or ask for clarification rather than just giving them your opinion or telling them what you think they should do.  Say something like, “that sounds difficult, what you do think you might want to do to make it better?”  You are not lecturing, advising or judging – you are being curious and letting them know you are interested in their thoughts.

I want to be clear that if your teenager has done something really wrong or if they are unsafe that you should not just sit and listen to them – in those situations you will need to step in with consequences or an intervention that is in the best interest of your child.  I am talking about all the other situations that arise where your teenager is working on being independent, trying to figure things out on their own and dealing with the difficult things that come up in the life of a teenager.  If they know you will listen – they will come to you and often times it matters less what you say and more that you are just there as a support to listen to them.

Go to www.HowToParentATeen to get more FREE parenting tips, to check out our parenting coaching programs and to sign up to get tips like this FREE every single week.

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Does your teen have Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) or do you suspect they do?  If so, they will respond differently than most teens when you try to set limits or implement consequences.  They will often rebel and will challenge you more, disregard rules more and sometimes even thrive on conflict and pushing your buttons because it gives them a sense of power and control.  Having a teenager who is ODD does not make them a bad person by any means.  Teens with ODD are often very bright, creative, determined and have many of the same strengths other teenagers have.  With that said, they can be very challenging and tiring for parents because of their determination and willfulness.  Below I offer a brief clinical description of ODD and then some tips for parents of teenagers with ODD who are struggling with managing their challenging behaviors.

Criteria for Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD):

At least 4 of the following behaviors must have been present for 6 months or more for a child to meet the formal clinical diagnosis for ODD

  • Often loses temper
  • Often argues with adults
  • Often purposefully defies rules
  • Often purposefully annoys others
  • Often blames others for their mistakes or bad behavior
  • Often is easily annoyed by others
  • Often is angry or resentful
  • Often is spiteful or vindictive

(All of these are behaviors that most parents see to some level in teenagers, however, teenagers may meet the criteria for this diagnosis if the behaviors are frequent and more severe than the average teen)

In addition, these behaviors:

  • Cause significant problems at home or at school
  • Are not due to another Mental Health diagnosis
  • Do not meet the level of Conduct Disorder (teens with conduct disorder are more likely to be violent, steal and become involved in criminal activity)

If you believe your teenager has ODD, you can certainly explore getting professional support for them as well as for you since parenting can be increasingly challenging and frustrating.  There are formal evaluations that can be done by a therapist or even at school if you feel these would be helpful.  The good news is that many teenagers grow out of this diagnosis and the challenging and rebel behaviors go away as they enter adulthood.  One of the biggest frustrations for parent with teens with ODD, as I mentioned above, is getting them to follow the rules and to care about the consequences.  Below are some suggestions for parents who are struggling with this issue:

  1. Be really clear about the rules and keep them as consistent as possible:  I often suggest that parents write the rules down and both parent and teen sign them which makes it harder for teens to challenge them, manipulate them or say they did not know about them in the moment.
  2. Do not give chances:  the rules need to be the rules ALL the time and need to be enforced consistently.  If a teen with ODD thinks they have any wiggle room or that they can bully or badger you into changing the rules, you will be challenged over and over which will result in your feeling completely drained.
  3.  Only issue consequences you can enforce 100%:  this is the biggest and most important part of all of this.  Teens with ODD are those who, when grounded from the phone, will still sneak on it when you are sleeping.  Or when they are grounded from going out, they will sneak out the window.  If you issue a consequence you cannot fully enforce, you will lose powerSome examples of ways I have helped parents with this issue are:  completely turning off the cell phone service or blocking the internet service in the house, taking away a laptop or unplugging the keyboard from the computer and locking it in the trunk of the car where it cannot be accessed, restricting providing rides for teens to do fun things or restricting spending money given to them.  They will still try to get around these things and will likely have some level of success.  If you restrict them from the phone, they will use friend’s cell phone, so what is important when issuing these consequences is to say something to your teenager like, “Because you did not come home again on time for your curfew, I have taken your cell phone and you will not be allowed to use it for one week”.  (you are not saying that they are not able to talk on the phone at all for a week because you know they can use a friend’s phone – you are saying they will not be able to talk on THEIR phone for a week which is something you CAN control 100%).

This can be tiring to say the least and parents often feel like they are being punished too by having to turn off the internet or dealing with their teenager’s constant badgering when consequences are issues and enforced.  This is all very true and is the reason why many parents throw in the towel and give full control over to their teenager.  But it does not have to be that way – get the support you need and if you are consistent, you will see progress.

For more tips on staying consistent, go to the How To Parent A Teen website at www.HowToParentATeen.com and download the free audio program for parents of teenagers.

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I have worked with so many parents who talk about the frustration and sadness they feel about how rude, disrespectful and entitled their children can be at times and with the amount of arguing that goes on in their homes.  I think what can be so difficult is that as adults, many of us could never imagine speaking to our parents or doing the things that we see some children doing today.  Let’s face it, we are living in a different time with kids being exposed to things that make them want to grow up faster, with kids being exposed to other kids doing bad things more often and with increased challenges in supervising children (more parents working, social media, more controversial content on TV, etc).  These are certainly not excuses for bad behavior, however, it helps to remember that kids today are living in a different world and navigating through different challenges.

What these behaviors can do for many families is create unbelievable conflicts where parents are accused of being old-fashioned, not understanding, unfair, ridiculous…and worse.  This leaves children extremely frustrated with their parents and leaves parents extremely frustrated, hurt and disappointed with their children.  The dynamic that then plays out is one where children and their parents are on opposite sides of the battle field, both fighting for the “win” they so desperately want.

The problem is, it should not be about a win/lose situation.  It should be about what is best for the family and what is in the best interest of the children.  When parents are able to shift their mindset to this, situations can be easier to manage and responses can be more thoughtful and proactive rather than only reactive.  When parents remain calm, they are more in control and children understand this.

Let’s face it though, it is not easy to stay calm when your child is challenging you, questioning you, nagging you and telling you how awful you are, right?  What is important though, is that you DO stay calm during these times.  When anyone yells and repeats themselves over and over, it is generally coming from a place where they feel out of control (kids do the same – the less they feel heard, the louder they yell).  When parents yell and make harsh decisions in the moment based on strong emotions, children sense this and they know that they are in the driver’s seat.  If you are a parent who has done this, you are far from alone – most, if not all parents, do this because it is a natural reaction to a strong emotional state.  However, it typically results in either an unrealistic, excessive punishment, in saying things that shouldn’t be said or in having a completely ineffective conversation.

If you are a parent who wants to reduce your arguing with your teenager, try implementing the tips below:

  1. Control your behavior, don’t try to control theirs:  you have 100% control over your reactions and if you remain respectful and calm, it will make a difference.  When we change our behaviors, the behaviors of those around us usually change.  Don’t spend all your energy trying to make your teen stop yelling or swearing…just control what you do.
  2. Give your teen a quota:  expect that your teen will make some mistakes and will become emotional and remember that they have many lessons to learn during this time in their lives.  If you give yourself a quota (for example…your teenager will yell about a rule at least once per week), then you are going to be better prepared for this when it occurs and will not respond in a reactive way.  Over time, you will be able to help them better manage their emotions if your emotions remain under control.
  3. Don’t feel the need to rescue them all the time:  your teen will make mistakes and may have to tolerate some uncomfortable consequences for these mistakes.  This is healthy and will help them learn to be good decision makers.  Don’t feel like you need to control or prevent them from making all bad decisions.  They will end up resenting you for trying to “control them” and will never fully understand the consequences of bad decision-making.
  4.  When they are talking…listen:  when your teen is talking (even if you feel that the arguments they are making are not legitimate), listen to them.  Let them know that you are hearing them so that they don’t have to keep raising their voice.
  5. Walk away:  don’t continue to engage in an unproductive conversation that keeps going back and forth.  If you are on one side of a tennis court and walk away, the other person can no longer hit the ball back and forth – the same is true with interpersonal interactions.  If you disengage from the fight, there is no longer a fight to be had.  Simply say something like, “I don’t think this conversation is helpful to either one of us so I am going to leave until we are both calm enough to talk about this in a better way”.  Then leave (walk off the court)…if they want to get in the last word or comment as a means of re-engaging you…resist and urge to respond and maintain your control.

This is not always an easy thing to do but when done consistently it really makes a difference.  For some great tips on additional techniques that will improve your communication, relationship and overall parenting confidence with your teen – go to www.HowToParentATeen.com  and  gain instant access to the free audio program titled 3 Power Strategies for Parents of Teenagers.

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Parenting a teenager (or any child for that matter) is not an easy job, yet it is the most important job in the world.  Parents are faced with daily challenges and decisions that need to be made based on their gut, intuition and common sense – as well as being based on the love and committment they have for their children.  This sometimes leads parents to just want to make difficult situations their children are facing go away – why wouldn’t they?  They love their children and don’t want to ever see them in pain, in trouble or suffering in any way.  The problem is this however…pain, trouble and suffering are all part of the human experience.  I know we don’t like to think about it but throughout our lives, we are always going to be faced with challenges, with situations that scare us and with situations that make us sad.  These situations are part of life and we will need to deal with them when they cross our paths and children will need to deal with these same things when they are adults.

So as a parent, rather than rescuing your child from the tough stuff,  you want to give them the tools they will need to deal with stress, frustration, fear, sadness and all the other things that WILL affect them in their adults lives.  You will want them to learn the skills to deal with these situations when they are children, rather than when they are adults and the stakes are much higher.

Below are a few tips you can use when these difficult situations arise for your child so that you are teaching them skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives:

1.  Help them talk about the situation calmly:  role model being calm yourself and help your child learn to express what they are feeling and what their dilemma’s are in a clear, calm manner

2.  Help them review all options available to them:  don’t give them the solution but rather, ask questions that will help them see all of the possibilities they have for solving their situation in a way that results in the best overall outcome

3.  Resist the urge to give them the answer or to intervene on their behalf:  try to hold back, even if it is difficult, and give them the space to try to figure out how best to proceed when they are in a difficult situation (obviously if there are safety concerns you should intervene and do whatever is necessary to keep your teen and others safe)

4.  Offer suggestions for dealing with difficult emotions:  children need to learn frustration tolerance and emotional management skills which will allow them to be more effective in managing difficult situations.  Listening to music to calm down, exercising, talking, writing or journaling, distracting their mind, deep breathing and many other activities can help when emotions are high and thinking becomes clouded

5.  Support them in developing a plan to avoid a similar situation in the future:  rather than lecturing, blaming and telling them what they did wrong, encourage them to talk to you about how they think they can avoid having a similar situation happen again in the future.

It can be tempting to fix things and make life as easy for those people who you love the most, however, when you do that, valuable lessons get lost and the development of critical skills does not take place, leaving children without the necessary skills they need to be successful in their adult life.  For more information and parenting advice, go to www.HowToParentATeen.com and sign up for our weekly Ezine and Free Audio Program:  3 Powerful Strategies For Parents Of Teenagers. 

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I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this!!  Whether it is the color of their hair, a new piercing, boys with long hair, girls with really short hair, clothes too baggy, clothes too tight or some other “teenage fashion” – it happens.  You wake up one day and look at your teenager and think – I can’t believe they are going out looking like that!  As a parent you may feel angry, embarrassed, frustrated or just plain exhausted with their quest for independence.  Before we go any further, let’s dissect this a bit more…so that you can figure out what is driving this emotion for you.  For some parents, having their teenager dressing or grooming differently than how they were raised feels disrespectful.  For other parents, it is another example of how their teen is going against what they taught them and it just plain makes them mad.  And let’s just be honest, for some, it is embarrassing.  Parents don’t want to show up for a holiday with their teenager who has blue hair and have to answer the questions of judgmental relatives for the next 5 hours and understandably so!  For some parents, how their teen looks feels like a reflection of the quality of their parenting so there is fear that they will be negatively judged if they have a child who does not just blend in with the “norm”.

Finally, in some instances, parents fear for their teenagers safety which tends to be more common for girls but can apply to boys as well.  Some parents become concerned that their daughter is wearing clothes that are too revealing or which may lead others to believe they are much older than they are.  Although, sadly, this is often what is promoted by the media – in such situations you should intervene and try to educate your teenager about the potential dangers of dressing in a provocative manner.  Unfortunately, there ARE people who will prey on teens who dress in a way that (whether intentionally or unintentionally) gives off the message that they may be promiscuous because they are willing to reveal a lot of their body with how they dress.  If your teenager is in this category and does not seem to be responding to your efforts to non-judgmentally educate them about any dangers or who are putting themselves in potentially dangerous situations, you may want to have them speak with a professional who can help you both understand what is driving this behavior.

However, for most teenagers, this is just part of their process of growing up and teenagers take their “differentness” to varying levels.  I was recently working with a parent who was concerned because her son was letting his hair get too long.  She felt like it would negatively affect his college interviews and was honest enough to also admit that it was embarrassing for her because her family gave her a hard time about it.  What was happening, however, was that her stress about her son’s appearance was causing her to have a lot of negative emotions towards him which he resented and therefore he started pulling away from her.  Through coaching, we were able to come up with a specific plan for her to re-engage with her teenager.   It involved her not addressing his appearance at all (which was not easy!) and to focus instead on what they were doing together, how he was doing in school and at home with chores, and just simply enjoying one another’s day-to-day company and interactions.  It was amazing for her to see how powerful this hair thing had become in their lives.  He had become defensive in all their interactions because he knew she would bring up his hair, and she became angry and frustrated because he was not willing to hear her pleads for him to cut his hair.  The hair became the center of their relationship and resulted in their not communicating, enjoying being around one another and both were feeling pretty bad about it.

When the hair subject was taken off the table you would be amazed at what happened!  I want to be clear that this did not happen overnight but it did happen much quicker than my client may have imagined.  She stopped talking about the hair.  We came up with some great strategies she could use to help her let go of this topic (even though she still wanted him to cut his hair) and refocus on their relationship.  After about a week or two, they began engaging more and talking more.  Her son was able to see that they could have a conversation that did not turn to her criticizing his hair so he was more willing to engage and spend time with his mother.  Then the real kicker happened – his FRIENDS started telling him they did not like his hair long and that they thought he looked better with it a little shorter.  He also realized that it was somewhat of a pain to take care of as it continued to get longer and that he was not looking as good as he may have wanted with the long hair.  Then…TA DA…he showed up at home after school one day with short hair one day.  My client had the sense to not make too big of a deal about this – she simply told him he looked handsome and then focused on how the rest of his day went.  She knew not to make this the focus because there was a control piece to this whole thing.  My client’s son was trying to exercise his independence by having his hair the length HE wanted it and when she was insisting it should be short – he only wanted to keep it long.  Now, it was his decision to have it short so she was very wise to let him keep it as his decision and not say anything like, “it’s about time” or “I told you that you looked better with short hair”.

You see, often times this is a phase that teenagers go through but the phase can have a valuable purpose.  Some teens do this to rebel from their parents, some to just try to exert some control in their lives which sometimes feels out of control to them and for some, they are just trying on a new look to see how it feels and to see if it helps them define themselves.  As hard as it can be, if there are not safety issues at play, parents are wise to let their teenagers go through this process.  Don’t define them solely by their looks and continue to appreciate them as a whole person.  You can be honest with them and tell them that it is not your first choice of a look for them (because they are going to pick up on this anyway) but that you still love them just the same and want them to dress and look in a way that is comfortable for them.  And then…most importantly…show them this with your actions.  Accept them for who they are and don’t make them feel “less than” based on their looks.

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The teenage years involve many changes, both emotional and physical, which can result in a lot of confusion for teens themselves as well as for their parents.  One of the major tasks associated with adolescent development is that of gaining increased independence.  This means you may notice your teenager disagreeing more, becoming more defiant, looking differently and trying to push you away.  Many parents of teenagers struggle with trying to determine what changes are “normal” or “healthy” and what changes should cause them concern.

Below can be used as a guide for parents who are wondering if the changes they are seeing in their teenager are a normal part of the developmental process or if they should be considered problematic.  Unfortunately there is no black and white answer but by thinking about the information below as well, as listening to what your gut tells you, you should have a pretty good sense of whether you may want to consider some outside intervention or whether your teenager is “just being a normal teenager”.

Normal Behaviors of Teenagers: 

Expressing a difference of opinion more often / Arguing more with you.  Unfortunately this is very normal (but certainly not fun!).  Teenagers are starting to think more independently and like to assert this independent thinking when they can.  This is not a bad thing much of the time and should be considered normal.  When you may start to be concerned is if the arguing is constant, they get out of control when arguing or their opinions or ideas could lead to dangerous behaviors.

Change in appearance.  This is also very normal.  Teens usually start to dress differently and may push the limits with their hair, makeup, piercings, etc.  Generally teenagers are struggling with both how to fit in as well as with figuring out who they are.  This is very confusing for teenagers and they may go through a couple different “styles”.  You may not always like their choice of style but should allow some freedom of expression during this time.  When you may start to be concerned is if they are getting excessive piercings, tattoos, dressing very provocatively or in a way that is against a school or potential job dress code.

Mood swings.  Unfortunately this is also typical during adolescence and parents are most often on the receiving end of such mood swings.  During adolescence, your child is experiencing many hormonal changes which impact their overall mood.  In addition, they are experiencing many changes, pressures and a lot of confusion which further contributes to these mood swings.  Often, teenagers see their lives as all good (someone they like paid attention to them) or all bad (a friend was talking about them behind their back).  When you may start to be concerned about these mood swings is if your teenager seems to be angry most of the time or is being aggressive.  In addition, teenage depression can be very concerning so it is important to watch for signs of excessive isolation, crying, sleeping or eating a lot and especially if your teenager is having any thoughts of death or of hurting themselves.  Any increase in violence, aggression or any instance where your teenager is hurting themselves should be addressed immediately with outside support if necessary.

Withdrawing from family or from activities they used to enjoy.  Wanting to spend less time with family members is very common among teenagers.  Friends become the center of their world and they generally become consumed with what their friends think of them, who is doing what and with wanting to spend as much time as possible on the phone, computer, texting or hanging out with friends.  In addition, they may have a shift in things they enjoy doing.  This may be a genuine change of interest that is a result of maturity or may be an effort to fit in more with a group of peers or wanting to explore new interests.  This is all normal and exploring new things (as long as they are not dangerous or unhealthy) is a good thing.  However, if your teenager is not speaking to you at all, outwardly refuses to do anything at all with family members including major holiday events and / or has stopped showing an interest in any activities, this could be a warning sign of depression, anxiety, substance use of some other deeper issue.

Experimenting with drugs or alcohol.  The bad news is that this is very common during the teenage years.  Most teens do some sort of experimentation with drugs or alcohol.  While this should not be ignored by parents (parents should issue consequences, review their rules, provide education about the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol, etc), it does not automatically warrant the need for professional help.  Signs to look for that may indicate your teenager is doing more than experimenting with drugs and alcohol include:  decline in academic performance, increased difficulty getting up for school or missing a lot of school, loss of friends or significant change of friends, missing money, significant behavioral changes.

As I have stated, it is difficult to give any clear cut answer for when outside parenting support or consultation or intervention for your teenager are warranted.  As a parent, you know your child, so it is important to gather factual information, but to also listen to your gut which could be telling you something is wrong.

For more ongoing parent tips, sign up for our free ezine at How To Parent A Teen and follow us on Twitter

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Does it feel like your child turned into a different being once adolescence hit?  Well, they very well may have.  The good news is that there was not an alien take over, the bad news is that this is unfortunately very common and you, as the parent, feel the brunt of it.  Understanding it does not completely change it, however, it can make it better and it does seem to help parents better manage their own emotional responses to the behaviors of their teenagers. The information I am sharing does not describe every teen boy or may not describe your teenager 100%, however, it is meant to offer some feelings of normalcy about what you may be experiencing with your teenager as well as an understanding of why some of these behaviors are typical of teen boys.

Why is my son so different since he hit adolescence?

Do you lack communication with your teen son?  Do you feel like they live in their room and you hardly see them let alone know anything that is going on in their life?  Are they constantly out with friends yet you have no idea who thesefriend are, who their families are or what they do when they spend time together?  Do they decline your offers to spend time doing family things?  If any or all of these scenarios apply to your son, you have a pretty typical teenage boy.

So what is going on?  The first and strongest reason for boys behaving in this way is that they are working towards achieving independence and in order to do this, they need to separate from you, who they have depended on for so many years of their life.  They do not know how to do this thoughtfully or gracefully (or may not even really realize they are doing it) so they just isolate from you as a way of not feeling so dependent on you.  It kind of makes sense if you think about it in this way, although it does not make it any less frustrating or concerning when you are on the receiving end of it.  Secondly, it is normal for boys to be embarrassed about changes going on as their bodies mature.  Boys also experience an increase in sexualized feelings which can be overwhelming and not something they want to discuss with their parents.  Finally, it is very normal during adolescence for friends to become more important than parents or other family members.  This is not a negative reflection on the family but rather a shift from seeing the family as the center of the world to really wanting to discover the larger world that is out there as a way of establishing independence.

Often times mothers feel this pulling back more than fathers do.  This is because mothers are generally seen as the nurturers and the caretakers (although not always) and therefore sons need to push their mothers away in order to begin to create their independence.  This is obviously very concerning for a mother who may try harder to reach out to her son in an effort to increase communication and to remain actively involved in his life.  This, however, is actually not helpful and can create and increase in opposition, isolation or family discord.  Understanding the reason for the behavior can be helpful for mothers so that they do not take this pulling back personally and can allow their son some space to begin to develop independence.  Sometimes this pulling back is not so obvious with fathers, however, it still exists.  Sons may connect with their fathers around other things (playing sports, a game on the TV, a project in the house) while maintaining an emotional distance during this time of developing independence.

Boys more often than girls will isolate and avoid confrontation when possible.  However, that is not to say that boys do not display strong, negative emotions towards their parents which can be scary and very problematic.  Yelling by adolescent males can be very aggressive and threatening in nature and at times the anger turns physical which can result in their throwing things, breaking things and at times even lashing out physically at a parent.  As is already stated, this can be very scary – for both the adolescent who has likely grown in size and strength and for the parent.  It is never acceptable for children to break things or cause harm to others in the household.  It is also never acceptable for parents to become physically aggressive with their children (it is illegal for starters) which can leave parents feeling like they are ineffective and helpless.  In such situations, the use of outside support may be necessary in order to prevent further aggressive outbursts and to keep everyone in the home (including the individual who was demonstrating the aggression) feeling safe.  Sometimes (although every situation is certainly different) giving your teenage boy a little bit of space and alone time when they are feeling upset is helpful in preventing such an outburst.  This does not mean that you do not ask them to follow through with certain expectations or that you avoid having difficult conversations with them…it just means that you do it at a time where they are more in control of their emotions which ultimately leads to a more productive interaction for both you and your son.

There is certainly much more information related to what makes teenage boys tick, however, this overview is meant to help you, as the parent, gain an understanding about what may be going on for your child which will help you make decisions that are best for you and your family regarding how to deal with your teenage son effectively.  I do want to stress that while most boys go through this process of isolation or distancing safely, there are others who experience significant difficulties during this difficult period of transition.  Some adolescent boys begin to use drugs and/or alcohol as a way of gaining confidence in social situations or for managing their confusing emotions.  Others become involved in negative peer groups and succumb to the peer pressures associated with criminal activity.  As is stated above, some become emotionally out of control and become aggressive and violent.  If you have real concerns about such behaviors, you should consult with an expert who can help you determine if additional support or help is needed.

As the parent, you know your teen the best.  Trust your instincts while allowing yourself to be open to understanding what might be going on for them.  And, one of the most important things to remember while enduring the stress that can be associated with parenting a teenager while dealing with everything else in your life, is that you need to take time for yourself, do the things you enjoy and practice good self-care on a regular basis.

Follow us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/KarenParentTeen or go to our How To Parent A Teen website for additional resources and programs designed specifically for parents of teenagers.

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