Reaching out to rebellious teens and getting them to follow your advice
When I was a teenager, what I hated the most was having to listen to what adults told me to do. In my mind back then, I thought I had all the answers. He couldn’t wait until he was older so he wouldn’t have to listen to anyone. I foolishly believed that my parents were telling me what not to do simply to control myself and prevent me from having fun. My irrational thinking made me despise my parents and rebel. At the age of 14, he was unknowingly on a fast track to self-destruction. He relentlessly desired independence and respect. Feeling older, I no longer wanted to be treated like a child. I wanted to explore my options and make my own decisions. Times have changed, but the cycles of life remain the same. If you want to reach teens who normally think they “know everything,” you must try to dethrone their “stinky thinking.”
Teens don’t want to be discounted; they want to be approached with maturity. Young adults generally despise being told what to do. Therefore, to get a better response, give them the freedom to decide how they will meet your demands. For example, if you have to clean the house, cook dinner, or take out the trash, don’t just give forceful orders. Discuss the needs with your child as you would with a respected peer, and let your teenager give you the motto for the schedule and plan how they will accomplish tasks. That doesn’t mean you have to let your teen “run the show,” but rather that you believe you have some control over how you handle the situation. This will make them feel respected and more mature.
It is important for teens to know that their maturity will grant them more privileges. The more responsible they become, the more they should be allowed to do independently. This will give your child an incentive to do the right things. Remember, most children want freedom more than anything else. If they know that behaving correctly will give them more freedom, you will gain their attention and cooperation.
When you have to say “no” to something or make a claim, be polite and explain why you made your decision. Remember, most teens hate being told what to do and have a preconceived idea that parents are simply trying to block their enjoyment. So when you have to make demands that are not favorable to your child, don’t have a “do it because I told you to” mentality; explain your decision. For example, if you decide that your child cannot stay late, explain why, clarify your reason, and convey your message with love.
“Honey, I know you would like to have fun and stay out late tonight, but you have homework to do. I understand that at this point you may think that your homework is not important, but it is. To maintain the lifestyle you have now you must get a good job to pay the bills. To do that you must get your education. The more you excel in your studies now, the more freedom you will have when you grow up to live better. I want the best for you. I recognize your potential and know that your future will be It’s my job as a parent to help you achieve the success I know you deserve. Let’s work together to achieve that goal. ” You could offer this type of dialogue in a warm tone.
Always be open to compromises or suggestions. You can successfully negotiate with your child and get excellent results. Some may think that negotiating with a child is ridiculous, but it is not. Remember that as your child grows, he will want independence. Allowing your teen to feel that you trust him and have a sense of independence will win your favor. This will help both of you get more positive results in your relationship. So, help your child achieve a sense of independence by setting goals and rewarding your child with the freedom to achieve them. For example, a good test score can be rewarded with an extra hour added to your teen’s curfew. You will be surprised how this simple type of privilege, granted only once, can motivate a child to be responsible. Consequently, rewarding your child will ultimately motivate him to succeed.
Parenting is a team sport. A coach needs a winning team to thrive in his profession, just as a father needs to cultivate healthy family relationships for long-term results. Therefore, as you develop your parenting skills, be tactful as a coach. Don’t yell at your kids when they make mistakes, be understanding and learn all the facts. Gain an understanding of the reason behind the adverse behavior, so you can help correct the problem at its roots. Take corrective action to ensure your child’s safety, but maintain a relationship in which your child is not afraid to share the truth. Remember that the truth can always be discussed, but what you don’t know cannot be addressed!
When taking disciplinary action, be firm, but always explain your reasoning. Don’t let your child develop his own ideology behind his actions, which can be destructive to your relationship. Explain the terms and conditions of the punishment and how your child can regain his trust and regain the privileges that were taken from him. Always be the respected voice of reason that your child can count on to be fair and consistent. You want your child to always feel comfortable coming to you instead of turning to the streets for solutions.
If your teen is not receptive to your reasoning, show him a visual example that he can better identify with. Teens often learn best through practical and illustrative examples. I have had remarkable success reaching teens in a prison speaking group targeting at-risk youth. I remember going to a detention center for teenagers where the children were very rebellious. As we waited in our seats to speak, to my surprise, one teenager hit the other on the back of the head, right in front of the staff. When the facility manager scolded the rebellious teenager, she replied “Shut up the @ # $%!” I sat in total disbelief at how rude the boy was. I thought with certainty that it would be an impossible task to reach this particular group of children. Butterflies churned in my stomach as I approached the podium to recite my speech.
After I announced my name, my conviction, and the fact that I was serving a 12 1/2 year sentence in federal prison, there was a sudden cry of silence in the room. You could literally hear a pin drop on the ground. I talked to the teenagers as if I was talking to a friend that I cared a lot about. I explained my past mistakes and how my lifestyle landed me in jail. I spoke in detail about life in prison and explained how my colleagues whom I tried so hard to please, believing them to be my true friends, abandoned me during my incarceration. Before finishing my speech, I reluctantly looked at the young woman who was previously rebellious. She stared at me intently, but it was hard to tell if my message had actually reached her.
When the question and answer portion of the session began, the young woman raised her hand to speak. In my mind, I thought he would say something rude, but he didn’t.
“I’ve been in and out of detention centers since I was 12. I smoked marijuana, cut school, and shopped at my neighborhood stores. Like you, I followed my friends and did things to please them. But, after listening your story I don’t want to be bad anymore ”, the girl shouted as she began to cry profusely.“ I couldn’t imagine surviving in prison for 12 and a half years like you. That can’t happen to me! I don’t want to live like this anymore! “She rolled over as I stepped off the platform and headed for her seat to comfort her. That moment changed my life. It made me realize that despite my past flaws and mistakes, my story could make a difference! My experience mentoring at-risk youth helped me develop a formula for them to accept my advice.
To reach a rebellious teenager, you must first overcome the challenge of making him believe that his current behavior or way of thinking is irrational. Yelling and yelling or just making demands will not be enough. When you respectfully enlighten your children on the reason behind your point of view and give them clear images that explain your rationale, they will understand! Visual examples will last much longer than your words. Even when you are not present, an enlightened child who understands the seriousness of the consequences of poor decisions will heed your advice, because he understands that it is really for your protection.
Don’t just take my word for it. Try the techniques written in this article. I guarantee you will be amazed by the results! Not only will your relationship with even the most rebellious teenager improve, but your advice will come home!