First, let us understand something of the background and what the difficult teen is actually going through. They are experiencing hormonal changes and we all remember that puberty is not exactly a honeymoon period.
Are we available to talk about these things if there is ever an opening from the teen? Are we prepared to switch off the computer and our mobile and get into a listening mode for a change? That will be a nice contrast to our favourite mode of lecturing.
The second thing to understand that the peer pressure he or she is under is very strong and all pervasive. There are all sorts of pressures to look and dress in a certain way. They are under pressure to try out drugs, sex and will want to be part of the group.
There is nothing worse than being the odd man out. I was like that as a teenager and I suffered because of it and spent many a lonely evening at home on my own. My parents were not willing to talk or even give me a bit of quality time. I was ostracized on two fronts.
So, if a difficult teen shouts that he hates you, what can you do? There may be a temptation to shout back that you hate him too and there is full reciprocity here! That however is mistake because these are hurtful things and we have descended to their level and are reacting in exactly the same way as they are.
If we say things like this, there is no way we are sending a message of support, affection or encouragement. We are giving the impression of outright war and the battle lines are drawn.
If we do fall into that trap, we should apologize later and talk about how difficult it is for both of us to control anger. We also realize at that point just how feelings and emotions take over and when they do, rational arguments go out the window. The difficult teen may open up and agree and express how troublesome anger management can be. It is a great opportunity to talk about how we control anger.
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