The mere mention of adolescence often produces strong emotional responses from adults. Teens have strong emotions, and evoke strong emotions from the adults around them! This stage of development is easily recognizable by the strong need of the teen to define their own identity apart from their parents. Some push back and limit testing is developmental appropirate. But like when the teens were toddlers exploring their environment, adults need to provide safe firm boundaries. This week we are talking about the top 7 reasons why kids misbehave and how adults can step in and change the course of misdirected behavior. We are using Scott Sells book, Parenting Your Out of Control Teenager. Now that you know about Unclear Rules, Not Keeping Up With Your Teen’s Thinking, and Button Pushing, you are ready to learn about #4.
Reason #4 Teenager Drunk With Power- Often times a family comes in for family counseling and it becomes apparent very quickly who is in charge- the teen! The kids know it and the parents know it. Teens know they can give their parents orders or boss their little sister around because it is allowed in the home. The teens have not been able to focus on developmental tasks of childhood because there are not enough boundaries enforced by adults at home. Teens who have too much power want even more power. It can all start simple enough, not following through with threats because you don’t want to upset you child. Maybe you avoid asking your child to perform a task because you do not want to deal with the tantrum that often follows. I know a family that stopped going to church, a ritual that brought the family much joy, because their teenage daughter whined too much about getting up early. These simple acts of handing over your power send very clear signals to your teen that you cannot handle them! Parents, do not let your children hold you hostage! Set clear understandings that bad behavior is not rewarded at your house.
If your child is drunk with power, you may need to take strong action to take it back. Communicate with the coparent and organize a coup d’etat! Take back your power! Your teen will most likely resist such an overthrow, but it is for their own good. While teens may look like adults, they are not. They cannot reason or use logic at adult levels quite yet? So do not give them power by allowing their misbehavior to limit your actions. Teens still need and feel safe when they have firm dependable boundaries. They may not thank you for it, but they need them all the same.
Please check back as Natalie and Joleen talk about more reasons children misbehave. If you’d like more information on each of these 7 reasons this week, we encourage you to get the book by Scott Sells, Parenting Your Out of Control Teenager. Thank you for reading!
***Adapted from “Parenting Your Out of Control Teenager” by Scott Sells pages 15-16
Written by Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT
Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT is a licensed therapist and Registered Play Therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Alexa enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Alexa also does play therapy, family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield