Monday, July 15, 2013

5 Steps to a Defiant Teen

1. They are only young once and you are striving to be the perfect parent, so make sure that your kids have no responsibilities whatsoever.  They after all, did not ask to be born, so you really have no right to give them regular chores.  You decided to live in this house with these kids so be prepared to do 100% of the work that needs doing.

If you should, on rare occasions, ask them to help, for example to bring in the groceries from the car, understand that they might tell you they don’t have time, were just leaving, it isn't their job, or that you should ask their sibling to do it.  Be understanding and gently explain that it is nice to do things for others, but you see this isn't a good time, so maybe they could help another time.

2. Money – they need a lot of it.  Don't ever add up all that you give them in a month’s time.  Just listen to each request and if it is reasonable, give it to them.  They are much too young to learn how to budget.  Besides you do not want to make them feel bad that they are completely dependent on you so just cheerfully, hand over the money requested.  After all, if you can afford it, there is simply no reason to say no.

3. Make sure you are completely, instantly available to them whenever they ask you to be.  When they want a ride, provide it.  When they want a snack, drop everything and make it for them.  When they want to have a friend over, always say “yes” even if you have plans.  Don’t make too many plans with your spouse or other adults for fear they will get in the way of being available to your child when they want you.

4. Entertainment – take an active interest in assuring that your child always has some fun things to do.  Make plans, buy the tickets, and invite other kids to join you.  Enroll them in soccer, music and dance lessons, art classes, theater classes and 6 week summer camps. When nothing special is planned, make sure you suggest activities or offer to play a game with them so they won’t get bored.  It is important to make sure that every waking moment is filled with positive experiences so that they won’t go off and get into trouble.

5. Above all, micromanage them every minute of every day to assure that they are safe.  Call them on their cell phone whenever you haven’t seen them for more than 1 hour.  Do it in the name of building a good relationship with them to show them you are interested in what they are doing and who they are doing it with.  Assume that if you have been out of touch for more than an hour they can be up to no good.

If you laughed and said “no way” to these suggestions, you are in the minority.  Too many parents are doing all of the above without ever realizing they are.  But somewhere between age 13 and 16, they suddenly see their child’s grades slip, undesirable friends and evidence of illegal substances.  It is SO late to deal with at this point (not impossible but really hard).  So if you see yourself in the above, step back, evaluate where your child is headed and make some strategic changes to your parenting style!  In a few more years, your child will thank you!