Staying calm while interacting with a raging teen can seem nearly impossible. Often, the teen is saying things that are hurtful and disrespectful. This tends to cause us to feel offended, defensive and want to either cry or seek revenge, but knowing the benefits of keeping calm can motivate us to make it a priority.
Whenever we react to a child’s behavior with anger, hurt or disgust, the child is getting the message that they are in charge and think, “I’m on top of the situation here! I know exactly how to push Mom’s buttons!” Later, the teen will likely begin to feel they are ‘bad’ and have thoughts like, “Wow, I’m just a kid and these adults can’t even handle me. I must be really bad!” When a child feels they are bad, you tend to get more undesirable behavior.
The key to a positive parent-teen relationship is mutual respect. When an adult seems consistently thrown off by a teen’s behavior and reacts accordingly, the teen finds it difficult to respect the adult. Kids need strong parents, especially during the teen years. They feel more secure when their parents are lovingly in charge.
When we remain calm in the face of a storm, we teach our kids to do the same, but keeping cool is often difficult because we don’t know what to do. We can always tell our child we think best when we are calm and will get back to them with an answer (or consequence) later.
A parent should never argue or defend themself to a child. Explain once, and when they attempt to argue, repeat a one-line response like, “Doesn’t work for me,” or “You have my answer.”
Amy Egan is a CTA certified life and parenting coach and co-founder of Inner Evolution—group life coaching for women. For more information, call 214-356-7646 or email email@example.com.