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The Teen 'Tudes
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We don’t tend to see a lot of posts around about teens, so for this edition of Who’s The Expert, we’ve reached out to parents of teens to see how they deal with the attitudes that inevitably surface from young ones around this point in their lives.
Having worked a fair bit as a relief teacher in high schools, I have come across a few young people who like to push the limits from time to time (I’m sure we can all remember the relief teachers we came across in our own high school days and how we thought it was a great opportunity to try and get away with a few things!)
If you're thinking teenagers are pretty much as described in this classic from My Chemical Romance...
... as much as I love this song, I am happy to say that most of the time (at least in my experience) I don’t come across attitudes or disrespectful behaviour from teenagers that are that tricky to deal with all that often.
The couple of times I have stumbled across young people acting in an undesirable way I’ve find sitting down and having a chat about behaviour and expectations tends to work effectively.
I have a few strategies to share from the Oh Beehave! library too, but before we get into that, I’d really like to share with you some tips from Dylan from Four Arrows and Me.
Dylan is a marketing professional, entrepreneur, and a single dad focused on raising his four boys to be kind, mindful, and authentically unique. He blogs about his how he engages his boys and the strategies he uses along the way at www.fourarrowsandme.com.
Dylan has shared with us how he’s tackling teenage attitudes and defiant behaviour with his young guys who are just starting to delve into the world of teenagerhood.
My oldest is entering both the teen years and the puberty phase of his life, with three more coming behind him over the next several years. Like a normal teenage boy going through these changes, sometimes he will challenge me or display an attitude that we as a family do not allow in our home.
It does not happen often because from a young age I have taught my boys a theme of acceptable attitudes and how we are practicing to be a good man while still a young person. However, when this kind of disrespect or attitude comes up, my priorities become two things - don’t embarrass him and seek to understand through empathy.
In these moments, I ask him to speak with me alone to discuss what’s going on and why the attitude is displaying the way it is.
Often times with a few minutes of nonjudgmental discussion he can better understand how to handle his feelings, I better understand what's going on in his mind, and it establishes the fact that I love him and want his best to come out in this situation.
In the rare case that does not work and the attitude is truly rebellious or defiant, I remove privileges from him, such as no iPod or computer, etc.
In my experience, seeking to understand as a first step is all that is needed to correct a hormonally induced teenage rage!
Completely agree with Dylan on seeking to understand as the first step, and on the back of that, I'd like to share a couple of strategies from the Oh Beehave! library to finish off:
Catch Them Being Good
There is an old saying amongst teachers that promotes the idea that young people will do the right thing so long as it is noticed and acknowledge, it's called "catch them being good".
It basically means, look out for opportunities where the young person is doing the right thing and give positive reinforcement / feedback (make the ratio about 1:6 – give six pieces of positive feedback to every 1 criticism or discussion about behaviour expectations).
It is also really important to be specific when giving feedback, for example; “thanks for putting the dishes away” or “thanks for bringing in the washing” or "I appreciate you being on time for me to pick you up".
The more you provide positive feedback to your teenager, the more likely you are to see them repeat positive behaviours.
Teenagers are less likely to be disrespectful and display difficult attitudes when they feel listen to and respected themselves.
Make a habit of asking your teenager for their thoughts or ideas about different topics or issues and share with them your thoughts and ideas about different topics or issues.
Be open to the idea that your child may not always share the same views as you.
Being in the habit of regularly talking about your views with each other can also make it easier for you to have an open discussion about attitudes and respect in the future.
It is possible that your teenager isn't aware of, or has even considered how their attitudes or behaviours are affecting you.
Be open how you feel when they do or say things that affect you.
"It upsets me when you say “…” and it makes me feel like you don’t respect me."
Despite how it might feel somtimes, it is unlikely your teenager is deliberately going out of their way to make you feel awful.
Being open can help them understand how the situation looks from your point of view, and it may help them open up and explain what it is they are trying to achieve by saying or doing whatever it is they are doing that upsets you (hopefully it sounds something like... "I didn't mean to upset you, I just wanted you to understand xyz").
Until next time, we would love to hear your tips on how you manage teenage attitudes and deal with disrespectful behaviours when they arise.
Let us know in the comments below (if you have a website, feel free to include the link) 😊
If you have a topic you would like us to include, a tip you want to share, or you would like to feature as a contributor on "Who's The Expert" get in touch (let us know if you would like to receive email alerts!) or join our facebook group!
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