Some teenagers are focused on school, sports or other positive activities. The biggest “problem” that their parents might have with them is dealing with their sloppy room or them forgetting to do a chore. Other parents have a teenager who is a rebel without a cause and although at times they can be trusted, letting your guard down is never a wise move.
Rebellious teenagers can get themselves into a lot of trouble. Parenting a teenager who has a strong will that they only seem to use against rules can be frustrating. Today’s teenager has technology at their fingertips (literally) which can open many doors but it can also invite trouble in.
How do you cope when your teenager is always challenging your authority? Firstly, be happy that your teenager is so strong-willed. Someday that personality trait might come in handy. Envision them standing up for what they believe in and possibly making a difference in the world. Do you feel a little better now?
It is a parent’s responsibility to keep their child safe. Even if that child is now a teenager, they still need guidance and someone watching over them. Rules and curfews are necessary because even adults have rules that they must obey. Allowing a teenager to come and go as they please without you knowing what they are doing is just irresponsible parenting.
Parents need to ask questions of their teenagers. If they get mad – so what? Let them get mad. You are the parent and until they are of legal age or out on their own, you have every right to ask who their friends are and where they are going. It can be a scary world out there especially for a teenager who doesn’t think through the consequences of their actions.
Many teens have died from making wrong choices. Many parents are clueless to what their teens are even into. Know who your teen is. If you are uncomfortable about their behavior, talk to your teen about it.
Besides asking questions of your teenager, you also need to listen carefully to what they say (or don’t say). You need to have conversations with your teen about issues that affect them. Do not wait until they are teens to talk about birth control, sex, drugs and alcohol. These are conversations that you should have had back in middle school. If these topics make you uncomfortable, consider dealing with the consequences of an unwed teen daughter or a son with a drug problem.
Remember what it was like to be a teenager. If your teen is so different from the way you were at their age, try and relate to what they might be feeling. Teens are just trying to fit in to a world where they are between childhood and adulthood. It can be a confusing time. Some may do stupid things to fit in or feel accepted.
Watch out for warning signs of trouble in your teen. Sneakiness usually means they are trying to hide something from you. Teenagers might act dumb sometimes but they know how their parent would react to certain behaviors. Know who your teen’s friends are. If possible, talk to their parents and know what their living situation is like. If your teen is going to a friend’s house, there is nothing wrong with checking with the other parent to see who will be supervising them. Teens can be left home alone but if your teen is the rebellious type, they are probably hanging around with teens that might have more opportunities to experiment without a parent like you keeping an eye on them.
Don’t worry about your teenager hating you. Believe me, down deep, they do not hate you at all.
Give your teen limits and be firm about punishment. As they begin to exhibit better behavior, give them more space. Parents need to be on top of what their teen is doing. Have them check in with you periodically when they are out.
When your teen reaches 15 or 16 years old, many of their friends may be driving. In some states, teen drivers are not allowed to have other teens in their cars. Just because there are laws doesn’t mean that all teens are going to follow them. Have rules with your teen about getting into cars with teen drivers.
You and your rebellious teen can live under the same roof without constant tension. You need to learn how to pick your battles, be firm about what kind of behavior you expect from them and be consistent with how you follow through with punishment. You also need to reward their good behavior and tell them how proud you are of them when they do behave in a mature and responsible manner.