Hi, so you’re one of those, huh? A parent with a teen. A teen with an attitude. Does it get any more frustrating?
Currently in my own household I’ve got two teen boys who love to talk back and argue with EVERY SINGLE WORD that I say.
Now, I try to take these times in stride but it doesn’t always happen.
More times than I’d like to admit I’ve lost my temper, flew off the handle and ended going back and apologizing for being a sucky mom.
But really, it’s OK. No one’s perfect. Not kids, not moms.
Or dads (if you’re a dad reading this).
Thankfully, our Heavenly Father has given us the perfect example of mercy and grace that we can extend to our children.
So, what do we do?
How can we get past all that garbage that is overtaking our beautiful child and help them navigate their feelings as well as keep our sanity?
How To Find Peace In The Chaos Of A Teenager’s Attitude
Well, honestly, there’s no clear-cut answer to this.
It’s kind of a trial and error process to see what works best for your child.
That being said, I’ve learned some things of great value over the years that might help you in your calming the raging storm that seems to be ever-present in your teen and bring some peace to the family.
It’s no secret that life with teens can be a season of opposition, defiance and error.
Scientifically speaking, it’s not entirely their fault. Science has shown that a teenager’s brain is actually incapable of receiving certain messages.
According to Time magazine, “It turns out the teenage brain is nowhere near fully baked and that the brain’s structure and its effects on development continue into a person’s 20s.”
Apparently, during the challenging teen years, the part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for making decisions and self-control is the last to develop.
This means that teens are more susceptible to peer pressure which can include anything from cheating on a test to taking drugs or driving on the wrong side of the road.
Keeping these things in mind, it’s even more important, that when a problem or disagreement arises with our teenager, we take some time to breathe and calmly evaluate the situation at hand before making any harsh decisions.
Sometimes we need to step away before we do or say something that is going to hurt our child’s feelings or worsen the situation. Further, we need to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves.
When we don’t take time to refresh and relax, negativity, stress, poor judgment and even anger get built up causing unnecessary relational harm.
Take some time to feed the inner self.
For some helpful tips, check out The Busy Mom’s Guide To Self-Care.
Keep Your Cool
Whenever I’m faced with a confrontation regarding my boys, the first thing that I do is remember to ask myself, “Is it really that big of a deal?”
Is staying up that extra five minutes or playing the video game for 10 minutes more really that big of a deal? No, not when you look at the big picture.
When you stop to take stock of what really matters, it is then that you see these are just insignificant tidbits that will eventually be obsolete in your family’s lives.
The important things to consider are what kind of human being am I bringing up in this world?
Are they turning out to be a decent, functional, level-headed person?
Do they exhibit character traits that show compassion, sympathy, and kindness?
Do they have goals or are they just drifting through the teen years without a sense of purpose?
It’s when I start to ponder these important attributes that I realize that a few more minutes of game time is not the end of the world. And believe me, it prevents a whole lot of arguing, whining, and even crying (from me anyway).
In addition to reflecting upon the situation at hand, I often remind myself that it’s more important to win the war.
This particular thought-process of the end-game, big-picture can be extremely helpful in times of tribulation.
There are countless things vying for our teen’s attention.
Music, friends, school, jobs are at the top of the list and each one has hidden temptations around every corner. The enemy takes no breaks and he tries everything he can to keep our kids disconnected from us, God, and others.
Life is made up of more important aspects than the temporary troubles we see right now and when it comes to trying to find peace in the chaos of a teenager’s attitude, the most important thing we can do is show them love.
They have so many doubts and struggles that we know nothing about.
It’s our duty to make them feel special and valued during this genuinely difficult time.
It’s only through our love will they realize that it’s OK and normal to be different or even feel helpless.
When we try to win every battle, we only push them further away, putting more of a strain on our relationship with them.
By showing a strong, unwavering love even when they are acting a fool, allows the door to be open for conversation.
Time is of the Essence
Our kids are growing up and we’ve got to let them learn to manage their own time, make mistakes and grow from them.
While we can guide, share stories and provide insight, they must learn to balance life themselves.
Our God-given purpose is to bring up our children in the ways of the Lord and teach them how to be fully functioning members of society.
If we can be the parent with a plan, the parent who sees, understands, and remembers what it’s like to be a teenager, the more we will be able to reach them and help them because ultimately, isn’t that the goal?
If you take with you anything today, please remember that these teen years are the time they need you most. They need your patience and understanding. They need your calm and direction. They need you to lead with love, not conviction.
It’s important that we, as parents, realize and accept that this time of discord and defiance is temporary and that it goes by much too fast.
To quote Uncle Ben from Spiderman, “These are the years when a man (or woman) changes into the man he’s going to be for the rest of his life…”
How true that statement is.
Now what? How do you put this into practice? I’ve listed a few questions that you can print off and read whenever you feel that the chaos is getting out of hand.
- Is it really that important?
- Am I leading my child in God’s way?
- How can I help my child without hurting my child?
- If I were to choose that option, am I only making the situation worse?
- Am I considering my child’s feelings/outcome?
- Will this benefit our family as a whole?
- Do I need to step away?
- Is this a battle or a step to win the war?
- Will this build my child up?
- Am I exhibiting love?
- Am I being too hard on my child out of my own fears/doubts?
Thank you for the opportunity to share my struggles with you. I genuinely hope it helps you during the beautiful yet challenging teen years. If your children are still small, you might like my post on The Two Best Pieces Of Parenting Advice I Ever Received.
Have a blessed day.