How do I deal with my teen's attitude?
Real Mom Problem
“My daughter just turned 13. She barely talks to me now. She acts like I annoy her and she's mad at me. It hurts!”
- 1. Be clear about the kind of behavior you won't allow and the consequences for disobeying
- 2. Understand that this is a normal stage of adolescence and give your teen some space to express frustration
- 3. If friends are impacting their attitude, enroll them in activities where they can meet new friends
- 4. Keep calm and try to maintain a sense of humor
Real Mom Solutions
Teens and attitude are practically synonymous. But does that mean we have to put up with it? See how these moms deal with eye-rolling teenagers.
Don't Stand for the Attitude
Eye rolls to my face aren't allowed. If you want to be pissed, you will excuse yourself from my presence and go pout in your room. I call my teen on it any time and every time. I also try to give him times/places to be a teen. He has earned the responsibility to go places on his own and I let him hang with friends as long as they let me know where they are, and I DO keep tabs on him.
Usually, I just do a verbal reminder that eye rolling or back talking will not be tolerated, and that seems to work. Our son is pretty respectful of us. If it was to continue even after the reminder, he would be punished -- most likely being grounded from either friends or electronics.
We have definitely had more than our share of attitude in the house! We have tried different things with them to see what works best for them individually. The important thing is to teach them what is and isn't acceptable behavior for when they are adults. I normally send them to their rooms after a warning and tell them if they want to have a tantrum like a 3 year old, they will get treated like one. They are allowed to come out of their rooms when they have calmed down and have apologized for their behavior. We are human though, we have our days when we yell but we try to keep ourselves in check most of the time. The situation diffuses a lot faster if you are able to stay calm. We also assign extra chores when they are extremely mouthy, but those nights are far and few between lately. They will do just about anything to not have to vacuum the stairs.
How much of their attitude is coming from their friends? As my teens grew up they copied the attitudes of others. By getting them involved in other activities with new friends, a lot of the attitude problem disappeared. We found a great martial arts studio that concentrated on mental rightness and that helped a lot!
It's Normal -- Give Them Some Space
They can eye roll and sigh 'a little' and I will ignore it a little as long as they do exactly what I wanted them to. They cannot be verbally disrespectful or overtly physically disrespectful. They are allowed to not like what I want them to do and they are allowed to respectfully address it like an adult and propose alternate solutions. No boss/teacher would tolerate bratty BS and neither will I.
I am a clinical therapist working with children and teenagers in a school based position. The eye rolls and attitude are considered very normal and age appropriate behavior as kids are testing their limits and trying desperately to separate from their parents. Giving clear limits and consequences for behavior that you find unacceptable is fine...such as removal of privileges or extra chores. Hang in there, it's just a stage.
Keep Your Cool -- And Your Humor
I handle it with humor. When they roll their eyes, I just laugh and let out a deep, loud sigh...then tell them to do what I say. It is no different than when they were children and would say that I was mean. I answered "yep, I went to mean mom school and graduated with honors." Teen attitude is one thing, disrespect is another. Disrespect is NOT tolerated at all.
The last thing you want to do is lose your cool, yet you don't ever want to grovel. Just take most of it with a grain of salt, remember to keep your sense of humor and choose your battles wisely. And just like the toddler years, catch your teen doing the right thing and reward them accordingly. When they're in grumpy teen mode, give them some space. Just remember, silence is golden sometimes.