This article is by Renae, Maria Elena, and Bridget the writers of the Ask A Teen Column where readers can write in to ask our teens for advice, email firstname.lastname@example.org for your question.
“What advice do you have for teens who are rebelling. Hanging out with the wrong crowd? How do you approach them? Nicely? bootcamps? Threaten? How do you reach them when they are on the verge?”
It’s natural for teens to rebel against their parents. Parents symbolize something having “control” over part of their life. There are different types of teenagers out there and you know your teenagers actions and personality. If you know groundings for discipline is effective, then ground them. If you know they are reasonable and will listen if you talk to them, then have a long talk. By the time they are teens, you’ll have developed a method that keeps your kids safe and smart. You can’t be there to watch them make decisions all the time. You can’t stop your teen from hanging out with certain people but you can educate them on the situations they could be put in by their influencers and how to get out or avoid those situations.
The best way to approach a teen about their rebellious acts is to be understanding but firm in where you stand. Boot camps are probably overdoing it and threatening at the wrong time can make teens even more rebellious. You have to communicate! Communication is key. Tell them exactly how you feel about their behavior and who it is affecting. My mom had always told me “One day, we will get along. You just need to wait a few years before we can understand each other.” Well I got older and she was right. We get along better now. Back then, I was mad at my mom for punishing me and I didn’t understand some of the decisions she made for me but now that I’m older I can see that she really helped me. The method she chose for me was taking away everything in my room and grounding me. I had a mattress and a blanket. Her method was cruel but it worked. Her method put into words “Leave opponent with no other options.” I’m not suggesting you use this method but if it comes down to it, it works.
~ Renae is a 16-year-old from Lowell, MI. She is a creative individual who spends a lot of her time reading and learning Japanese because she would like to become a Journalist in Japan.
During the teen years, it’s completely normal for a teen to start to rebel for many reasons some of which may be from home or school, don’t think your teen is the only one because chances are there are plenty more teens out there who are rebelling. If you are looking for help, try to reach out to other mom’s or the internet to find ways to cope with these things.
Now for a way to go about handling this type of situation is very tough because of course you don’t want your child to take your concern the wrong way. I think the best way to do this is to approach your child and really sit down with them and tell them how you feel about their recent behavior or their new friends. Make sure you mention to them that you are only doing this because you care about them and your not judging them in anyway. I definetly don’t think bootcamp would be the answer, just because your teen may get really upset, but then again if the situation has reached a point to where you know you can’t handle it alone, then yes, you should resort to bootcamp but only when it’s really neccessary for the child.
When your teen is starting to hang out with the wrong crowd then i think you should confront them and tell them that you don’t approve. Most teens think their parents don’t care about their lives, so maybe if you show your concern they may think about hanging out with other people, now if the crowd is really giving your child a negative influence then i think you should take action and not allow your child to see them again. Try different options and which ever seem to work the best for your child, then stick to that.
If you think your teen is on the verge of rebelling, talk to them!!! Talking is the best way to help this kind of situation, they might re-think and realize that you love them, thus they won’t rebel. Always remember that communication is the best policy, ask your child how their day went at school and ask your children to be more open-minded and also talk to you more. If you have strong communication in your relationship, chances are the child is more likely not to rebel.
~ Bridget is a 15 year old from Austin, Tx. She has a passion for writing and aspires to be a journalist when she’s older, when she’s not writing you can find her listening to her ipod or at a concert!
It depends on the personality of your teen. If you threaten a rebellious teen with boot camps or taking away their phone/internet usage/TV, it will only make them rebel more. You don’t want to approach a rebellious teen too nicely either though because you need to establish your position and power to show them that you won’t break down and change, they’re the ones who have to change to fit your standards. If they’re on the verge of doing something that may harm themselves or others, I feel like it’s a parental instinct to put the teen on house arrest. Here are some steps you can follow to approach your teen about this:
- Find a time to speak to your teen when they cannot avoid you or walk away, for example: during a car ride.
- Try to understand their reasoning for their actions, whether it is out of the ordinary behavior or just a new set of friends. They may have some reasons that you don’t know about that can clear up some suspicion.
- If you’re still suspicious and worried about your teen’s attitude or responses, let your teen know that you’re concerned about their decision-making skills. A lot of times, teens become defensive when you question their credibility and then they make it difficult to carry on a civil conversation. If that happens, stay calm and not accusatory because eventually they’ll feel bad for becoming defensive for no reason.
- >Advise them to reconsider some of their choices or if that doesn’t apply, sternly but calmly remind them of their boundaries and your rules and expectations of them because teens don’t ever want to disappoint their parents.
While I was never, and never plan to be a “rebellious teenager,” I have given my parents some trouble by becoming defensive when they’re confronted me about certain decisions that I have made that they didn’t agree with. On different occasions, my parents have stayed calm or gotten angry in return but I always feel guiltier later when they stayed calm and expressed their concern and all I did was act unappreciative and questioned their credibility. I think when parents have their children, they’re always told that when a teen becomes argumentative or defensive about their actions, that means that they’re lying. It’s not always true. If you’re accusing us of doing something that we didn’t, of course we’re going to try to defend our reputation and judgment to you. To recap: stay calm, attempt to understand their reasoning, and guide them to the right path. Good Luck!
~ Maria Elena is a 16-year-old from Wilmington, DE. She enjoys dancing and cooking and her favorite subject is Math because she likes solving big equations.