It's only natural for all adolescents to challenge authority at times. There is a type of adolescent that can take this to the extreme. They are referred to as "defiant adolescents" and can be very trying for parents to communicate with.
Defiant adolescents are not your typical adolescents. They will not challenge your authority once in awhile. Defiant adolescents will try to challenge almost every statement that you make as a parent. Don't feel special though, they won't do this to just you as their parents. They will do this with teachers, relatives, and authority figures alike. Finding a way to communicate with adolescents who fall into this behavioral category can be tough, but it can be accomplished if you as a parent can exhibit a thick skin and persistence in your effort to get through to your adolescent.
The typical defiant adolescent feels that the world is against them and nobody knows how they feel. They will feel that all rules are made to make life harder on them and to be unfair. This is why as a parent you need to be careful when setting boundaries and rules for your defiant adolescent. The adolescent will question your rules, be prepared for this. To be prepared, make sure the rules you set have logic behind them and you are ready to point out the logic. You don't have to argue back and forth with your defiant adolescent though, just reiterate the logic of the rules. Do not let the argument get personal. Remember, a defiant adolescent opposes the rules and not necessarily the person who made them. If your child challenges every rule you make, then you can be slightly flexible and only make the rules that you feel are truly necessary for their safety.
Defiant adolescents are confrontational but not stupid, many are very smart. They will benchmark how you treat them when compared to how their friends are treated by their parents. If they feel the situation they are in is better than their friends they may relent a little in their opposition, but do not expect them to give it up completely.
Remember that a defiant adolescent feels that nobody understands them. To help counteract this belief, schedule family outings doing activities that your adolescent enjoys. Take an interest in one of their hobbies.
Help them to attend events or activities that build on their hobbies and attend the events with them. When you are sharing this time with your adolescent it's a good time to keep your ears open. If they let their guard down they are likely to express some of the things that make them feel frustrated and the need to oppose you as a parent. If you listen closely you can start to figure out ways to use the information they provide to you. You don't necessarily need to change your parenting methods, but refer back to things they tell you and they will start to realize that you are not just a parent enforcing rules, and that you listen to their thoughts. Even though it is important to listen and bond, you also must keep a barrier between yourself and your child as well.
Remember you are their parent and not their friend. If a defiant adolescent feels that you have shown weakness and they can control you, they will walk all over you as a parent. Explain to them that you are just trying to raise them to succeed in the future, and that the family is not a democracy. Explain it does not have to be a battle over every issue and that you and them as parent and adolescent can enjoy times together, yet in the end you have final say in the household.
Defiant adolescents are hard to get control of at first. Once you have gotten control, as a parent you need to make sure you maintain a general level of control and authority. These adolescents will never stop challenging your rules, but they might reduce the number and intensity of the challenges. This most often happens once they realize you are not the enemy, you are their parent. It also happens when they realize that your rules are not just made up to be punishments but do have logic to help your adolescent succeed in the future. Mom and dads must realize though these changes will not happen instant. Parenting a defiant adolescent is harder than parenting your average adolescent, but when done correctly can create an even stronger bond between you and your child.
My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents