One of the biggest challenges of parenting today is dealing with rebellious teenage sons and daughters. In our fast advancing world, children are easily influenced by things around them. As peer pressure grows, children want to imitate and behave in the same way as their peers and friends behave. This is the first step wherein your child starts to become rebellious.
Research says that children of strict parents are likely to be more rebellious, while those who are overtly cared and loved for are likely to fall to addictions early in life. It is important to understand “How to deal with teenage rebellion”.
It is important that parents maintain a harmonious balance by laying down some firm family rules but at the same time being affectionate in their parenting journey.
Here are some guidelines on How to change rebellious teenage children
Keep your mouth under control and avoid arguments.
One of the key things while dealing with rebellion is that the conversation becomes argumentative. It is important to know that the more you argue, the more defiant children will be. So choose your battles wisely. Do not overreact and take it personally as it is a normal teenage behaviour. Having said this, it is important that there are firm family rules which need to be adhered to.
Over a period of time, your child will understand that there are certain rules that need to be adhered to as you are very firm about those things, while there will be other parents that will be fine with those things.
For e.g., some family rules that we follow are:
- Prayer time is a special family time of the day.
- Speaking respectfully to elders, even if you disagree.
- Avoiding wrong and bad language.
Then there are many things that they can decide to do, like which clothes to wear, what food to order, which toys or gifts to buy etc. So choose your battles wisely.
Love is a powerful tool in your relationship.
Love is very powerful and has a long lasting impact on your relationship with your children. Fear is exactly the opposite of it. When your children are fearful of you, they are not going to come to you in times of doubt and problems. They will try out every other option before coming to you, in fear of reprisal and reprimanding.
There will be times that you will have to forgive them and encourage them to look forward. Show them your unconditional love. Reading the Bible and understanding God’s love has helped me to forgive and love my children. Though I am not perfect, I make an attempt to try and demonstrate God’s love in our relationship. Try to love them for who they are, rather than for what they do.
Keep the communication channels always open.
No matter what the circumstances are at home in terms of dealing with a rebellious teenager or child, the communication channels should always be open. They may be angry with you for not agreeing to their terms but still they should know that they can always approach you. You should be the first person that they turn to for help or guidance.
Remember, there will be many opportunities in your daily life wherein you can talk to and keep communicating with your children.
Always encourage them to explore things that they would like to do and not what you would like them to do. Don’t make them chase your unfulfilled dreams. I have two lovely daughters – one is extremely good in playing the piano and is also very creative, while the other is a sports enthusiast. Let them do the things that they enjoy. Once they realise that you encourage them in their endeavours, they will always be comfortable sharing things with you.
Set clear family boundaries.
Setting clear family rules is very important. Children should know their boundaries very clearly. Do not overtly react but explain to them in a calm and responsible way the consequences of drinking, drug abuse and other things. They should be made aware of the dangerous consequences.
You should not always accompany your child but give clear instructions and guidance that they need to adhere to in your absence. For e.g., never take a lift in a car in which the driver is drunk or has taken drugs. Leave the party when you observe drugs and other inappropriate things.
It is important to consistently discipline your children when they break these rules. Do not punish them but communicate to them effectively and firmly about the wrong effects of their decisions. Tell them about the legal implications of drunk driving and drug abuse.
Address their anxiety, trauma and stress.
This is also a time when children are very anxious and stressed out, about many things in life. Their studies, friends, new relationships, career choices and on-going hormonal changes in their body make them anxious and stressed out.
It is important to continuously communicate and find out what stresses them. Research had indicated that teenagers are so addicted to social media that less likes and following leads them to suicidal and depression thoughts.
Get them involved in volunteering for charity purposes, doing selfless acts of kindness, which will channelize their zeal and energy towards a good cause. Sports and exercising also helps in keeping them healthy.
Stop offering wrong kind of help.
Today, parenting has become more of a rescue act. Many parents step in and offer wrong kind of help. They try to rescue their children from all the painful consequences of their irresponsible decisions. The result is that we have self-centred, selfish and rebellious children who always want to have their way, no matter what the situation.
It is important for parents to understand that they cannot live their children’s lives. They need to fall, rise up and try again. Once you stop rescuing them, they will feel the pinch of their irresponsible decisions. Though it may not be easy as children will use guilt, argument, condemnation etc., do not be emotional but in turn tell them the truth and the facts.
These are the situations they need to experience, in order to grow up into a responsible adult.
Some of the other things that need to be kept in mind while dealing with a rebellious teenager –
- Do not blame yourself but try to be a better parent by changing the existing home environment to accommodate your children.
- Do not defend them when they are wrong.
- Be firm and unemotional when dealing with unjust demands.
- Always pray for the peace and protection of your loved ones. What God can do is beyond your imagination. He can change your child from being totally rebellious to being completely obedient. For me, meditating on bible verses for children gives me a lot of strength and comfort.
These are some ways of parenting rebellious teenage children. Remember parenting is a journey and there is no such thing as perfect parenting. You have to work out ways which will best suit you and your children.
Please read our earlier article Top 8 ways of raising good teenagers without pushing them
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