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Oppositional Defiant Teen

As a parent, you may be dealing with an angry or an oppositional defiant teen, who is yelling at you from time to time. For many of us parents, we automatically yell back! It’s a natural response. We unknowingly internalize the yelling as: “Who does he or she think they are?” When you yell back at your teen, it challenges them and effectively “ups the ante.” Another words, it escalates the argument and prolongs the altercation.

Don’t stoop to your teen’s level

Once you respond to your teen in the same out-of-control manner, you are now on the same level and our guaranteed to get more push-back from them. When your teen brings you down to his level, he or she gains the perception that they are in control because they can make you lose control. One of the most important things to remember is that feelings aren’t something you can control or necessarily reason with when a teen loses their temper.

Understand that teens are not adults

First, realize that even though adolescents might engage in adult-like behaviors, their brains are not advanced to think logically like an adult. Adolescent brains are still developing, and they continue to do so into their early to mid-twenties. As a result, teens often perceive things in a very different way than their parents.

Here’s what not to do

There’s no excuse for your teen to yell, curse or name call at you and alternately, there is no excuse for you to respond in the same manner either. It’s also more effective to avoid threatening your teen with consequences in the heat of the moment. For example, it serves no purpose if you give your teen an ultimatum by saying: “If you don’t stop screaming, I’m taking your phone or laptop away from you.” It’s unlikely that your teen will stop yelling. It will only make the situation worse and keep the argument alive.

Here’s what you should say to your teen

“If you do not calm down, you will pay a consequence later” and then walk away. It’s best not to stay in the same room (go outside for a short walk). By holding your teen accountable, means that you set the rules and the limits, and you provide a consequence when your teen decides to break the rules.

Parents need to let teens know the consequences before they act out. Let them make their own choices. Rules were literally made to be broken and when they are that’s how we as humans learn the important lesson about consequences and accountability. When we were teens, some of us broke the rules and many of us dealt with the consequences, hopefully learning from those experiences so that we don’t break those rules again.

A parent is the CEO of the family

When you’re being yelled at by your teen, try treating him or her like an employee and remember you’re the CEO of your family. When things are turbulent, address your teen in the same tone as a professional boss would with his company employees. Stay calm and neutral, and stick to the facts. Let your teen know that you are having a hard time communicating with him. Try saying something like: “It’s really hard for me to listen and respond to you when you are yelling at me.” or “When you stop yelling, I’ll be able to listen and talk to you.” This way, you are establishing ground-rules with your teen and letting them know that their behavior isn’t working. Remember, you’re the CEO and you need to remain calm. This tactic usually lowers the temperature in the home rather quickly.

Remember, your house rules will need to be adjusted as your teen gets older in order to enable them to become more independent.

It’s normal for parents and teens to disagree and have arguments at times. However, if your teen ever becomes violent – or as they say in the clinical world – suffers from Oppositional Defiant Disorder and becomes overly aggressive towards you or other family members, as the parent, you must take that seriously and call for help. There may be something else going on with your teen that you are not aware of like alcohol or drug abuse.

Lastly, be a proper role model. If you don’t want your teen to yell at you, don’t yell at him or her. Your house isn’t a battle field.


How to deal with an angry or oppositional defiant teen?
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