Are you a serial yeller? Do your teens know how to push you past the point of no return? Have you noticed that the more out of control you get, the calmer you teen becomes? Yelling does not work! Neither does yelling in combination with taking everything away you just gave your teen for a holiday gift like the new smartphone, Ipad, Itouch, or laptop. If you find yourself yelling you have already lost the battle. It's time to put up the white flag and surrender.
I met with a couple recently, engaged in a battle with their teen daughter that seems likely to last forever unless someone blinks. The daughter has basically learned that she doesn't have much to lose, since everything that gets taken away just gets given back in time, and she can yell as loud as and as mean as her parents, particularly her mom. The more unlikable this teen becomes, the more frequent and louder these arguments are. And by unlikeable, I mean entitled, full of attitude and disrespect beyond all reasonable boundaries. Because of this, few nice words are shared between them. The daughter has had some challenges this year, starting a new school and being separated from all her friends, yet she has continued to make good grades, and has become involved in activities in this new arena. No small task for a 15 year old. But because she is such a brat at home, the good stuff is getting lost in the scuffle. So what's happening here. Mom and daughter share a common personality trait. They are strong, assertive women. See how well we can re-frame something negative to something positive!
If you are a person who likes to be in control, the teen years will be a huge challenge for you. If you have a teen who has a strong personality, just like mom and/or dad, double that challenge, and if your teen has watched and learned over the years how you get people to do what you want, than watch out, you have hit the triple crown whammy! They are paying you the highest compliment: imitation being the highest form of flattery!
If you want your teen to stop be disrespectful and bratty, you have to blink first! Your teen has learned how to bait you, and being a well-trained seal, you jump for the bait. When you get that pit in your stomach after you have asked your teen to do something, get something and say something, and their response is surly, disrespectful or he/she completely ignores you, don't jump for the fish. Yelling here will not not not not not not not not........ get them to do whatever it is you want!!!!!! GET IT!! Look them straight in the eye, give them a head shake and a shoulder shrug and WALK....A....WAY. Done! When they come to you for a ride, money, help with homework, laundry for school the next day, you give them that same head shake, shoulder shrug, and walk away, with a "I would have, cause I love to do things for you, but we don't seem to be on the same page today about helping each other." And that is it. Do not say another word. Don't get sarcastic, don't have a "tone" in your voice. Stay neutral. Now this doesn't mean you don't speak to your teen for the rest of the day. It just means that the favor-doing, ride-giving, laundress is off-duty for the rest of the day. Just that day. Every day is a new day. And who knows, maybe tomorrow will be a better one.!