The teenage years can be stressful for both kids and parents alike - it's a huge time of change, development and growth. If your teen has a rebellious streak, it can be extremely frustrating and isolating to deal with, but it's important to remember that all teens go through a similar phase.
While it might be hard to comprehend, rebelling is your teen's way of asserting their independence, carving out their own ideas and testing authority. Not only is this a totally natural part of growing up, it will also help with their brain's development as they grow into adults.
But knowing why teens rebel doesn't make it any easier to deal with. Here are a few tips for coping and managing when your teen goes off the rails...
1. Understand and gain perspective
To a certain extent, teens need to rebel - it's simply a part of life. Take a step back and try to focus on how they might be feeling right now in order to better manage any incidents. If your teen suddenly doesn't want to attend family events or participate at home, try to reach a compromise with them rather than forcing them into it and causing another argument.
2. Know that it's not personal
Changing hormones can have a huge affect on your teen's mood and attitude. Just because they are shouting and slamming doors doesn't mean they have stopped loving you or that you are a bad parent. Accept that your child may want to spend more time with friends than at home with you - over time things will balance out.
3. Be proactive
Yes, it's important to accept that rebellion is normal, but that doesn't mean that you should let everything slide. Let your teen know that they will be held accountable for their actions. For example, if they are late home they will not be allowed out the following night. Set down these ground rules and where possible engage in discussion with your teen so that compromises can be reached that suit you both.
4. Use honest communication
Rather than shouting and roaring at your teen when they do something wrong, try to speak logically and calmly to them. Let them know that their actions have an affect on others and that you are disappointed or hurt by what they have done. Honest communication is key in all areas of your teen's life so try to encourage this where possible and to set a good example.
5. Show respect
In the same way that your teen should respect your position as parent, you should also be aware of their needs and emotions. Recognise that they are their own person - just because they are not as obedient or as outgoing as their older brother or sister is no reason to get annoyed. Reward positive actions with trust and praise, and let them see that you love them and believe in them.