5 Toxic Behaviors That Poison Your Relationship With your Teen- Attacking the Person

Toxic Behavior #2: Attacking the Person Rather Than the Misbehavior This can happen when you don't separate out your teen's misbehavior from their character or personality. When you confront your teen on missing curfew, which of the statements below sounds most like you?

  • "You've missed curfew again. I knew I couldn't trust you to be home on time. You're manipulative and sneaky. I don't know why I bother talking to you about these things".
  • "You missed curfew again. Our written contract says if you miss curfew, your driving privileges are taken away for the next 3 days".

If the first statement sounds like you, then you're attacking your teen's character and personality. If the second statement sounds like you, then you're attacking the behavior itself.

Remember this:

  • Don't call your teen names, or attack their character. Don't say "You're manipulative" or "You're lazy". While these statements may be true, they're hurtful and won't motivate your teen to do what you're asking them to do, or won't stop them from doing what you're asking them to stop.
  • Talk only about the problem at hand. Hold your teen accountable for their behavior and if they broke any of your rules. Stick to the punishment (that you shared beforehand would happen if they broke the rules), and do not comment on their personality or flaws.

Please check back in tomorrow as Alexa shares Toxic behavior #3! Thank you for reading.

*Source: "Parenting Your Out-of-Control Teenager" by Scott Sells, Ph.D.

Written by: Tamara Wilhelm MA, LMHC, LCAC

*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling  at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.