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When Defiant Teens Push Their Parents "Over The Edge"

Let’s be honest here: parenting a defiant, disrespectful teenager can take its toll on any parent, leaving him or her flustered and on edge - day after day - with no relief in sight. After all, a person can only take so much abuse before “cracking.” Anger is a natural emotion, but when it escalates to rage, the result is similar to throwing gas on a fire; it can turn an average argument between parent and child into a “war of wills.”

When dealing with your "difficult" teenager, do you find that your fuse is getting shorter and shorter? Have arguments and fights simply become “a way of life”? Studies have shown that teenagers whose parents often express rage are more likely to be difficult to discipline. So, it will be in your best interest to be in more control of your emotions. Here’s how to accomplish this feat…

How parents can control anger and rage against their defiant teens:

1. Assertiveness training is particularly helpful if you are a person who bottles up rage and then lets it go in an inappropriate way.

2. Be willing to forgive. Resolving conflict is impossible if you’re unwilling or unable to forgive. Resolution lies in releasing the urge to punish, which can never compensate for our losses and only adds to our injury by further depleting and draining our lives.

3. Choose your battles carefully. Conflicts can be draining, so it’s important to consider whether the issue is really worthy of your time and energy. If you pick your battles rather than fighting over everything, your teenager will take you more seriously when you are out-of-sorts.

4. Divide your teenager’s disobedience into "behavior to ignore" (e.g., annoyances), which are not worth the wear and tear of getting angry about, and "misbehavior that needs a consequence" (e.g., destruction of property, lying, stealing, etc.), which requires a response – for your sake and your teen’s.

5. Exercising regularly helps your body release tension.

==> My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

6. Focus on the physical sensations of rage. While it may seem counter-intuitive, tuning into the way your body feels when you’re getting worked-up often lessens the emotional intensity of your rage.

7. Focus on the present. Once you are in the heat of arguing, it’s easy to start throwing past grievances into the mix. Rather than looking to the past and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the present to solve the problem.

8. Identify problems in your past that could contribute to present rage. Were you abused or harshly punished as a teen? Do you have difficulty controlling your temper? Do you sense a lack of inner peace? Identify present situations that are making you outraged, (e.g., dissatisfaction with job, spouse, self, teen, etc.). Remember, you mirror your emotions. If your teen sees a chronically mad face and hears an angry voice, that’s the person he is more likely to become.

9. If your rage seems to be spiraling out of control, remove yourself from the situation for a few minutes or for as long as it takes you to cool down. A brisk walk, a trip to the gym, or a few minutes listening to some music should allow you to calm down, release pent up emotion, and then approach the situation with a cooler head.

10. Know when to let something go. If you can’t come to an agreement with your teen, agree to disagree. It takes two people to keep an argument going. If a conflict is going nowhere, you can choose to disengage and move on.

11. Learn a few relaxation exercises. Breathing deeply has a calming effect on the body and mind. Breathe deeply in through your nose, drawing the breath down below your naval, and holding it for a count of 5. Release the breath slowly. Form the habit of doing this several times a day, and learn the feeling of relaxation. Recall this feeling and practice the breathing when you find yourself becoming angry.

12. Put your safety first when emotions are getting real heated. Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe or threatened in any way by your teen, get away and go somewhere safe.

13. Review your own adolescence. Think about the ways rage was expressed in your family when you were growing up. In some homes, rage is taboo, causing people to suppress their feelings and becoming fearful of expressing rage. For others, rage was expressed at home, in extreme ways. Reflect on how your childhood experiences have influenced how you deal with rage.

14. Set clear boundaries about what you will and will not tolerate.

15. Slowly count to ten. Focus on the counting to let your rational mind catch up with your feelings. If you still feel out of control by the time you reach ten, start counting again.

16. Spending time outdoors in natural environments is a great stress-reducer.

17. Stretch or massage areas of tension. Roll your shoulders if you are tensing them, for example, or gently massage your neck and scalp.

18. Use your senses. Take advantage of the relaxing power of your sense of sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste. Also, you might try listening to music or picturing yourself in a favorite place.

19. Yoga classes are a good way to learn some calming techniques.

20. You may want to work with a therapist who can help you effectively parent your defiant teen without getting angry. Seeking professional help is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s a sign of strength and pragmatism and can improve your quality of life.

==> My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

Best Comment:

Anonymous said...  Yesterday was one of THOSE days. I have had your Defiant Teen ebook for a week and was able to keep the situation from going over the edge:   When my son refused to turn down the volume on the PC and also threw some insults at me on top of it...... I calmly turned off the PC... unplugged the keyboard, put it in the backseat of my truck, and left on an errand... returning an hour later to a quiet house.  Thank you so much for your ebook... It is awesome :) 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

What a great newsletter - so timely and helpful - thank you so much!

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