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My Teens Got Attitude: How Do I Respond?

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Even the best of teens will go off the deep end from time to time. You can chalk it up to stress, chemicals, brain development, being overwhelmed, or all of the above. During my presentations about COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR TEEN, I’m always asked, “But what do I do about attitude?” Here’s my simple formula:

  1. STAY CALM-This is the most difficult part of the formula. If your teen is rude or talking back, our fangs come out and we are ready to rumble. We wonder where we went wrong as parents. We wonder if this is going to start happening more often. Take that inner wolf and tame it.
  2. RESPOND- Ok, this part is difficult for some parents too. Responding means that we think about what we are about to say and what we want to teach our teen. Try to respond (thoughtfully) not react (emotionally). In other words, don’t let ‘em see you sweat. This doesn’t mean that you can’t tell them that it hurt your feelings or made you angry, just keep the emotion under control.
  3. MOVE ON- Not every parenting moment needs to be an after-school PBS special. We’ve pointed out that the behavior was not ok and now we are ready to move on with the day. Let’s face it, if every time they pull out an attitude we have a huge disagreement, many of your days are going to be miserable.

The home is often a teen’s emotional safe place. They keep it together all day at school, at after-school activities, and with their friends. When they come home, their façade cracks and their emotions come rolling out. We get the worst of it. Ugh. If you can’t stay calm, remove yourself from the situation. Take a walk. Go to the bathroom. Take a drive. After you get yourself calm, then RESPOND and MOVE ON.

You got this!

With Heart,

Coach Sheri

Teen Wise

If the disrespect is continual or becomes verbally abusive, this goes beyond the scope of this simple formula. You need to have a serious talk with your teen or seek guidance from a professional.

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