Parenting Adolescents – Enduring Teen Attitudes

teen_attitudeAs your children grow from newborn to adolescents you will notice that they will more actively display their distinct personality traits. Sometimes it is positive and sometimes it is negative.

Believe it or not, and I have said this before, you can always help your child move toward a more positive mindset versus a negative one.  Below are 3 common areas that may present a challenge for you and your adolescent, if not checked (or acknowledged) early:

Attitude, respect and chores are the three most common issues encountered by parents concerning their adolescent children.

You may ask yourself why are attitude and respect among the most common issues encountered by the parents of teens and adolescents?

Although attitude and respect are typically interpersonal relationship issues versus behaviors, they are closely related; however, a child’s negative attitude is not necessarily a direct result of their lack of respect for their parents. It may have a much deeper meaning.

Based on the above statement, let’s ponder for a minute the birth of your child. At that moment you and your child became two distinct and separate beings. Once the umbilical cord was severed, your child was no longer physically connected to you.  From that moment on it was inevitable that your child would become more and more their own person, and develop their own independence as a result. As they move into the teen years, it becomes even more important for your child to continue to physically separate from you as they become their own person. As such, your teenager’s bad attitude will have multiple motivators and meanings.  Commonly their bad attitude or show of disrespect is designed to show you (the parent) their capacity for not having to depend on you–hey that’s a thought…and one worth pondering because it has validity. In a sense your child is saying, “I want to show you that I can resist you, and during my resistance, is it possible that we both can tolerate my need to push away from you?”

Some parents will encounter resistance or passiveness when attempting to get their child to do chores.

More or less you child will view it as nagging, and as a result will attempt to resist you. This is typical behavior for teens and adolescents. You may only notice forgetfulness in your teen versus arguments; but this can still be considered a form of resistance.  Just know that your child is growing and coming into their own. What is needed from you at this time is consistency and understanding. It also can be tempting for you to argue with your child, but please know, this solves nothing and only compounds the problem, not to mention creating distance with your child.

When your child argues, complains and either fails to complete a chore or genuinely forgets, it is their way of conveying their need and ability to push against your expectations in addition to resisting their need for your approval.

During this time it is also important for you to remember that your child is for the most part (unless there is a more deeper psychological meaning), engaging in healthy struggles, which will ultimately end in their standing on their own two feet, and learning who they are and more importantly that you are not the enemy, and moreover there to support them wholeheartedly, desiring nothing less than the best for them.

It basically comes down to growing pains, except instead of them scraping their knees as they learn to walked years earlier, which is individualized–during this teen phase, you too will endure some of the bumps and bruises along the way.  Remember to stay in survivor mode and be strong for you and your child during this critical time in their development!

Food for thought…and as usual, I would love to know Your thoughts.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Arcy p. Swopes says:

    Great stuff you got here. The stir is awesome. I think you are doing a great service here and I will share it with my friends. Thanks


    1. Thank you very much. With two grown adult children, it’s now time to help new parents!


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