Starting with the least extreme and dangerous, let's look at what some teens will tell themselves in order to manipulate parents into getting what they want. Scott Sell's book Parenting Your Out Of Control Teenager goes more in-depth in discussing each one of these. Level 1: Disrespect
Here's the thinking of your teenager: "I want to go to this event and I don't want to be told what to do. If my parents tell me something I don't want to hear, I'll start cussing & rolling my eyes because it pushes their buttons and gets them upset. If they're upset, they'll give in to me because they'll be too frustrated to back down. Therefore I get what I want".
Sound like a scenario in your household? How do you get around this? Don't let the words or eye-rolling get to you. Detach. Know when you're being manipulated and hold your ground. Say (quietly) to yourself, "You can cuss and roll your eyes at me till they pop out of your head, but you're not getting me to back down from my position!" You have to stay calm and in control even when they're out of control.
Level 2: Truancy or Failing School:
Here's what your teen is thinking: "Cussing isn't working anymore. It's not fazing my parents and they're not backing down. I need to take it to the next level. They value my education & it would really drive them crazy if I start to ditch school or come home with D's or F's".
Happening in your household? Are you willing to do your homework too? Talk to the school, contact your child's teachers daily and see when your kid is skipping school. Drive your kid to school. Show up, make sure your kid is there, even if it embarrasses them. Find out what homework they have and have them do it in a public area of the house versus their bedroom, or with friends.
Are you struggling with a child who's doing more dangerous things? We've got it covered. Check back in as we'll cover running away, pregnancy, drug abuse and much more. Thanks for reading.
*Source: Parenting Your Out Of Control Teenager by Scott Sells
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.