Dealing with disrespectful teenage behaviour

Dealing with disrespectful teenage behaviour

– Some of this behaviour is to be expected as part of development – independence is a key part of growing up
– Some moodiness can be associated with the way the teenage brain develops
– Adolescence is a time of growth and development
– Time of connections being pruned on the basis if the “use it or lose it” principle
– Because the prefrontal cortex is still developing in teenagers, they may rely on the amygdala to solve problems (emotions, impulses, aggression)
– parents can assist problem-solving & brain development by encouraging involvement in a range of activities
– Encourage positive behaviour
– Promote good thinking skills
– Encourage adequate sleep
– Let child take healthy risks/challenging activities
– Help child find new and creative ways of expressing how they feel such as sport, music & art
– Talked through decisions, step by step
– Establish family routines for school & for home
– Provide boundaries and set limits
– Offer frequent praise and use rewards to reinforce pathways in the brain
– Be a positive role model
– Stay connected with your child – Be open and approachable
– Talk to the teenager about their developing brain

Promote thinking skills:
– Encourage empathy by talking about your own feelings, your child’s feelings & other people’s feelings – that many people can be affected by one action
– Emphasise the immediate and long-term consequences of actions (remember the still-developing Pre-Frontal Cortex Responsible for planning & making decisions)
– Try to match language level to your child’s understanding
– Step the child through the stages of problem solving and making decisions (Define the problem; List the options; Consider the outcomes that lead to the best solution)
[avoid labelling the child]

Teenage issues:
– coping with stress;
– school/exams/study problems
– body image/ family conflict
– depression

Handling oppositional/disrespectful behaviour:
– Set clear rules
– Stay calm
– Focus on the behaviour not the person
– Be a role model
– praise the teenager for positive communication
– Set and use consequences (Sparingly) for rudeness, swearing, name-calling
– Use humour
– Ignore your child’s shrugs
– reframe – That comment came across as rude – did you mean it to?
– Access allies – partner, friend, other family member

– Arguing
– Bad timing ( I.e. pick times to talk)
– Being defensive /taking things personally
– Lecturing
– Nagging
– Sarcasm

– Throughout all this – look after yourself

– about agreeing to expectations & setting consequences
– involve child
– be clear
– discuss in advance the consequences
– praise
– be willing to discuss & adjust rules



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