Is your teenager’s behaviour driving you insane? Do you think your teen is out of control and needs help? You were probably a rebellious teenager at some time. We all went through the phase of staying out late and behaving weirdly. But there is a difference between normal rebellion and abusive or aggressive behaviour.
Teen behaviour is difficult to understand because many factors contribute to their behaviour. School or home stress, learning difficulties and feeling awkward in social situations are triggers for bad behaviour. Feeling rejected by peers or not accepted creates emotionally reactive behaviour.
Puberty causes thinking and feelings that are confusing. Then all of a sudden, the body changes and they start to have an interest in sexuality. Testosterone in boys is starting to rage causing dominant, angry, aggressive behaviour. Girls also have hormones surges which cause moody, emotional behaviour. This results in girls being bitchy, spiteful and nasty.
You may wonder what the difference is between rebellious and monster behaviour. Teens are hard to read through their moody or angry outbursts. Here is a general guideline.
Normal rebellious behaviour in teens includes:
- acting secretive
- only interested in spending time with friends
- rebels against authority
- angry outbursts.
Monster behaviour in teens includes:
- failing at school
- alcohol or drug abuse
- breaking the law.
Warning signs to watch out for include:
- in repeated trouble for breaking the law
- noticeable changes to appetite and sleeping patterns
- changes to their appearance
- depression, anxiety and mental health issues
- new friends that influence negative behavioural patterns in your teen
- spending excessive time alone.
Developing an identity
Temperament is genetic, and a teenager’s behaviour is 60% genetic and 40% conditioning. And your temperament is what helps shape your personality and character.
Personality is what you show to the world. It is your nature. Character is who you are inside. These are your distinct mental and moral qualities.
At around 15, a teen’s identity starts to develop. It is when they start questioning who they are. Identity links to your basic values and influences the choices you make. And your choices reflect what you value and who you are. For example, a teacher values educating their students.
Few people choose their identity or who they are. It is usually an extension of your parents’ values or of the local dominant culture. This can bring conflict as these values may not align with your true self. So, you can lead a life unfulfilled. People who live life true to themselves and their values have fulfilling lives. Teens are struggling with developing their identity and what they want to do in their lives.
External and environmental influences
A teen’s identity is shaped by external influences around them and their environmental conditions:
- External influences today include singers, celebrities, friends, social media, sports, social groups, gaming and the internet.
- Environmental influences include gangs, drugs, alcohol, school, home life, street life.
What shapes a teenager’s identity is their perception of who they identify with. If your teenager has a healthy emotional reality, they connect with those who inspire them to be honest and act with integrity. If your teenager has a negative, unhealthy emotional reality, they may connect with similar people can be poor role models.
Teenagers want to be individuals which is great. We need people to be different to make our world interesting and exciting. In today’s world, external influences and environmental conditions shape our teenagers’ personalities into people we cannot identify with.
Times have changed since the1940s, 50s and 60s. A child’s identity was shaped by very few influences. Singers and fashion were more conservative, and television only went to air in the 50s. Children had carefree lives and fashion was only a statement for some adults.
Kids learned respect at a young age at home and school. There were strong boundaries in place for bad behaviour. I’m not talking about being beaten, but one word from your father and you sat still. Children didn’t have an expectant attitude and everything was not about instant gratification.
Fast forward to the 21st century. Look at what is shaping people these days. It has changed a lot in 60 years.
Dealing with a monster attitude
One of the biggest problems that causes bad or monster behaviour is attitude. Teenagers today have attitudes that can cause a family to be in crisis. Some families break down because of teenage attitudes.
I have studied teenagers for a long time. And this can be the toughest group to help because their attitudes create social resistance.
A teenager with a negative, opinionated attitude can cause so much stress and tension in the family. Parents cannot relate to why their child’s attitude is so bad given. What is attitude?
The definition of attitude according to the dictionary is it is a set of values to help to guide our behavior. Attitudes are the response to our values. Values decide what we see as right, wrong, good or unjust. Attitudes are our likes and dislikes towards things, people and objects.
Then came my big breakthrough to help teenagers become more loving and respectful human beings. After years of studying what attitudes really are, I finally got this distinction and then came my breakthrough. Attitudes form when you come across something you do not relate to. When someone says or does something you cannot relate to you create an attitude. Your attitude is then supported by a belief and that belief is then supported by an emotional reaction. So, if your attitude is positive, your beliefs will be positive. The emotional reaction will be happy and joyful. If the attitude is negative, the emotional reaction is angry, aggressive, resentful, nasty and often filled with hate thinking.
The hardest thing is to influence a teenager that has a bad attitude. To stop losing your teenager to poor role models, you have to shift from being a parent to a mentor. To do that you need to develop a mindset your teenager can better relate to. You also have to let go of your attitude towards them, and build trust and respect together.
Spend quality time with them talking about the social issues they face in the 21st century. Issues such as sex, drugs, relationships, dating, career choices, music, etc. Being a mentor is different to being a parent or a friend. Mentors add value to a teen’s life from another perspective.
Teenagers are vulnerable. Their identity is forming and their minds are heavily influenced by many factors that parents cannot control.
Here are a few quick tips to help you cope with your teen’s poor attitude.
Change your approach
Grounding your teen or confiscating their electronic devices will build resentment against you. Instead find consequences for their actions that fit their poor behaviour and help instil different values. Have your teen help around the house, visit an elderly people’s home together. Even take in a child that needs respite care. Do things that show them how lucky they are and how to be more responsible.
Ignore bad behaviour
As parents you instil certain values and standards in your children as they grow. But when your chid hits the teens, they can shrug their shoulders, roll their eyes or just walk off ignoring you. Do not react when your teen does this. Ignore them. Keep doing whatever you planned to do.
Teens expect you to yell and shout and run after them to make them do what you want them to do. Stay calm. Being rational instead demonstrates how disappointed you are in their attitude and behaviour. Let them know how you feel and that you hope they soon grow out of the current phase.
Lighten up the situation with humour. You can make a choice to either react in an angry way or by using humour. Inject some laughter into an intense argument. This can help your teen see the problem from a different perspective. It can help you to see each other’s point of view.
Be careful not to use sarcasm or to ridicule your teen, or you will alienate them further.
Are you tired of telling your teen to stop answering you back in a rude way? No matter how often you ask nothing changes? Instead of telling your teen not to be rude. Calmly let them know in no uncertain terms there are consequences for rude behaviour.
Often kids do not mean to be rude, but they get excited and carried away. When your teen understands there are consequences, they may show more respect.
Show your kids your appreciation. When they do something well show genuine appreciation for the achievement. We are often quick to criticise, so we need to be just as quick to show appreciation. This shows your kids you are not always out to nag them.
Become your child’s mentor
Being a mentor to your child is harder than being a parent. It requires time and effort above your parenting duties.
Children do not develop their emotional intelligence until the age of 21. So, at 15 it is not fully developed. Teens make all their decisions based on emotion and not logic. If, for example, your teenager is at a party and offered drugs, they will answer based on how they feel about taking drugs. The group’s emotional connect is towards taking the drugs. If the collective group has an emotional excitement about the opportunity of taking a drug your teenager will be more likely engage and participate in drug taking.
Your teenager will seek counsel from their friends if you are not a mentor to them. Teenagers identify with other teenagers when it comes to their problems. The challenge is that a 15-year-old has limited life experience. When it comes to helping friends to overcome problems, social media and the internet may influence how they help. This is not only detrimental to solving a child’s problem but can affect their decisions and choices.
Here are some ways you can mentor your children.
Create one-on-one dates
Create special one-on-one dates with your teen. You were a teenager once so do things teenagers love to do. Connect with them through their emotions not their logic. Teens love going out to eat, fishing, go karting, football, shopping, concerts and festivals.
Earn trust and respect
Teenagers learn to be loving and compassionate through experiences. Once you win their trust and respect, helping out at a soup kitchen or volunteering to help homeless youth will help grow their compassion and gratitude. The problem with some teenagers today is they have no gratitude for what they have in their life. Helping those less fortunate can be a lifelong learning opportunity.
Be open and supportive of your child’s individuality regardless of whether you relate to it or not. Remember attitudes form when you do not relate to someone. Your attitude is important to your child’s ability to relate to you.
Children are naturally lazy
Children are naturally lazy. Life skills such as cleaning, cooking or doing chores around the house isn’t in a teenager’s make up. A teenager expects their parents to do all that for them. A child’s brain has been conditioned to expect their mother or father to do everything for them from birth. Once they become older, parents expect their kids to pick up the slack. So, your child’s brain is wired for you to be the servant.
Support teens through their mistakes
Support your teenagers through their mistakes. Your child will make mistakes because we all make mistakes until we die. If you can influence your teenager’s life, they will be more likely to come to you when times are difficult. Learn how best to support your child through their difficult, vulnerable years. Their mental health can be greatly affected by their problems and mistakes. Fear of being judged and rejected by friends and family for their mistakes can lead to depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.
Teach them to help out
To help your teen to help out more around the home, become a team player and train them to be a house athlete. Work alongside them to teach them what to do around the home. It takes a teenager 3 to 6 months to develop the neural network before helping around the house becomes a habit.
If you’ve lost your teenager to their bad behaviour and struggling to get them back, call me. Myself or one of my team can do the work for you, and help you to create a happier and healthier teenager. Book your session at the special price of $79 for our amazing introductory offer.