3 Simple Ways to Handle your Teen's Tantrums
Teenagers - one minute they're laughing on the phone with their best friend, the next they're slamming the bedroom door screaming, "I hate you." Teenagers are moody creatures. They misinterpret emotions, don't understand consequences, and pretty much assume the entire world is against them. Talk about attitude.
While their anger and mood swings are frustrating, it’s not entirely their fault. Raging hormones and a work-in-progress prefrontal cortex - the part of the brain that controls our understanding of moderation, consequences, impulse control, and deciphering body language – are partly to blame, according to experts. But just because their temporary bipolar, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide personalities can be explained by science doesn't mean parents should just dismiss irrational behavior and give them a free pass. After all, the way they learn to deal with their emotions now will follow them in the future. That said, here are three tested tips to help you "deal" with your teenager's temper tantrum the right way.
1. Give Warnings, Not Threats
Teenagers do not respond well to threats. They find threats to be a challenge and sometimes do precisely what they're told "not to do" just "because." But instead of threatening your teen that if he or she disobeys or acts out, x,y,z will happen, tell him or her about potential consequences in a matter-of-fact way so that they understand that you're not bluffing. Teens often respond better to nonchalant statements such as, "ok, just know that if you disobey your phone will be taken away." Of course, your teen will only realize that you mean business if you actually come through on your promise if he or she disobeys. For extreme cases, you might want to consider establishing a behavioral contract with your teen - something that says in writing if your child disobeys you, the mentioned consequences will happen.
2. Keep Your Cool
Even if you feel as though your blood is about to boil, it's important that you don't get too emotional and keep your own temper in check. This is because teenagers thrive on power struggles. If you yell, this will only prompt your teen to react in the same fashion. Instead, you need to find a way to express your displeasure with your child by using your words in a calm manner—this will also significantly reduce any misunderstandings between you and your child. For example, if your teen comes home late and doesn't call to tell you so, try not to blow off the hinges the second he or she walks in the door. Instead, in a calm manner express to your child how his or her irresponsibility has made you feel: "I'm not angry, but I do worry when you don't call or pick up your phone," Or, "I'm not mad, but it does irritate me when I ask you to pick up your clothes and you don't."
3. Avoid, 'Because I said So'
Finally, you need to learn how to openly communicate with your teen. When denying a request, avoid simply saying "because I said so." This will surely stir up tempers. Instead, make sure to always explain why you won’t allow your teen to do something, again, in a calm manner. Chances are if you take the time to thoroughly explain why you don't feel comfortable lending your 16-year-old your car at midnight, he or she won't ask you about it again. But if you angrily said, "Because I said so" you might never hear the end of it.
Teenagers can sometimes be like human landmines—you never know when they might blow. But the above tips should be able to help you handle the situation a little bit easier.
This post was written by Angelita Williams, a returning guest blogger at SJD, who writes professionally for online courses. She can be reached at angelita.williams7 @gmail.com.