The worst part about living in the entitlement mentality society we live in is that it often is the very culprit that leads to bad teen behavior. Teens see adults misbehaving and getting away with it. Company execs can run a company into the ground and still walk away with millions. Politicians can make costly mistakes and still get reelected. People can make an error and then sue someone else to recover from it. Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised at bad teen behavior, but if you want to turn it around with your teen, it’s not too late.
If you’re dealing with bad teen behavior in your teen there are some definitive steps you can follow to help change your teen’s attitude:
1. Talk More. Talking to your teen sends a message that you care. Even if you are talking about what will happen with that company exec or that politician, explaining that there are ramifications for their poor choices even if we don’t always hear about them in the news, you can have an impact. Talking is where it starts. Talk to your teen about his or her bad teen behavior; make sure your teens know that every choice they make about how to behave has a consequence. Tie privilege to behavior. If your teen is disrespectful and rude, refuses to do chores or respect curfew, is verbally abusive, or exhibits any other bad teen behavior, then your teen doesn’t deserve to have time out with friends on Friday night, a cell phone, or video games.
2. Set the Right Example. Bad teen behavior is learned. If your teen sees you trying to avoid taking responsibility for your mistakes, blaming others, or behaving poorly that’s the type of behavior they will mimic. If, on the other hand, they hear you apologize when you make a mistake, hear you take responsibility when something goes wrong, and see you treat others with respect, they’ll learn to do the same.
3. Consistency and Follow-Through. Making threats never works, and neither does yelling. If anything, the bad teen behavior will increase because your teen will lose respect for you. Instead, be calm, clear, and firm. Walk away rather than engage in fights. Set boundaries and stick with them. If your teen makes a choice to be disrespectful or break a rule and you’ve indicated that choice will have a consequence (no phone, no going out on the weekend) stick with it, follow through, and make sure the consequence is experienced.
Bad teen behavior is not something you can completely eradicate. As teens, it’s their job to push limits and test boundaries. But you can keep the behavior at a tolerable limit with a few changes in approach.
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Article Added on Saturday, April 17, 2010
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