When your kids arrive to that particularly nasty stage of life — the teenage years — it’s going to be one hell of a task handling any conversation or argument. The tricky part is that for the first time you’re gonna see them actually growing up, but they are not adults just yet; in fact, they’re just half way there. As a parent, this particular phase of your child’s life is by far the hardest to bear. Power struggles with teens are tough to be sure, but there are ways to wade through them, even though it may seem impossible at times.
The Power Struggle The Parent’s First Mistake
Parents often lose their patience and when they detect a change in the teenager’s behavior, the swiftest way to handle that would be increasing previously established boundaries. By this time, your kid has probably outgrown the boundaries that were set long ago. Remember, as we’ve said they are half way to becoming grownups themselves. This means they no longer fear parent authority as much as they did when they were were younger. They mostly go where they please now, leave home when they please, and they have friends they can talk. They most likely have friends whose parents will even let them stay at their place, so they can also seek refuge their when they are bored.
So, make peace with the fact any argument or discussion boils down to a lose-lose scenario. The nastiness of your situation is that you carry all the responsibilities for this individual who is about to grow up and you are thinking about safety, financial matters and such. The teens simply do not have those responsibilities yet. When your teens are defying you in some way with their rebellious behavior, they most certainly are not concerned about the future. The biggest power struggles occur and parents hold their teen children to high expectations. That’s when the fighting starts and that’s where they start defying the most.
Parenting Steps for Avoiding Power Struggles With Teens
Parents should stick to certain methods and principles to get them through this stage of their kid’s life. Some of these methods are nothing new and they have been used by so many parents in the past, and will most likely be used many times in the future.
- Put authority aside, set a proper and decent role model: The idea is to try and let of all those rules and regulations you’ve been setting up as a parent all those years. That may not be easy, but you’re gonna have to do it as some point. Once you’ve gone easy on your authority talk to your teenage kid and don’t try to full them or outsmart them – this probably won’t work, since they are quite capable of outsmarting you as well. Avoid cursing or shouting as much as possible. That only causes more problems and will most likely raise tension and anger. Try your best to reassure them. It’s important to show respect to them and no matter what you can see things from their angle. Don’t say “you are grounded” straight away. Instead, try “let’s just talk.” Communicating openly and discussing things are usually best ways to keep kids in check. They will start working things out on their own and will respect you back.
- Be aware at all times: Focus on your feelings. As much as it is important to help your teenage child, your own inner feelings are of great importance too. You have to remain interested and engaged, too and be aware of their feelings as well. This is a bit of a nasty paradox nature has created – no matter how sensitive both of you will be, you are quite simply two different individuals now. Each of you wants and deserves each other’s respect.
- Keep things healthy and in perspective at home: Your teenage kid must have structure and routine to life. Go easy on strict rules, and offer guidance that will be useful to them. Don’t be mad and angry at them all the time, and try sharing happy moments as much as possible; usually, because they are older and feel different, these moments will be rare (no teen wants to spend too much time with mom and dad). So, try and have some laughs, with them, you’ll notice the appreciation for you will grow. You don’t have to be too lenient, just a bit more flexible, and not rigid or strict.
Creating this kind of structure for the teen, will help them figure out their own lives. They will be getting the lesson you are trying to teach them, but they have to understand it and learn it on their own.
More Useful Advice on How to Avoid Power Struggles With Teenagers
No matter what you do, remember patience is the key here, especially when dealing with things like major arguments, when you feel like you are losing your mind and are getting more angry by the minute. It’s important to keep a clear head and remain calm. Remember, you are setting the example here.