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Are you constantly losing your temper with your teenager? It takes a double dose of parental restraint and these important tips to keep control. But the results are a solid relationship with your teen. Today I feel very honored to have a guest post from my blogging mentor Tabitha Philen that shares the tips to stop losing your temper with your teenager
My mother often tells a story of when I turned thirteen. She says I went to bed a sweet twelve-year-old and woke up an angry, hostile teenager. We have joked about the incident for years… until I had my own 13-year-old. Suddenly, the mood swings and rolling eyes became very real, and none of it was funny. I found myself face-to-face with my daughter in a power struggle. The panic of losing the battle made me fight even harder. As my voice bellowed at a crushing volume, I said ridiculous things like, “I will put you on restriction for the rest of your life!” Really? Like I would still have my 31 year old daughter stuck in her room with all electronics banished from her possession? There had to be a better way to make her listen than becoming a yelling mom who demanded obedience (and failed miserably).
How to Stop Losing Your Temper with Your Teenager
Screaming at your teen, or harsh verbal discipline, does not work. So instead of spending the next eight years hoarse and angry with your child, let's look at alternative ways to keep your temper with your teenager.
Stop blaming your teen
“If you wouldn't push my buttons, I wouldn't yell!” What a dumb thing to say to a child! But I said it. With one sentence I placed the responsibility for my inability to remain calm on the shoulders of my teenager. This is the very same child that I have told repeatedly, “No one forced you to do anything. It was your decision. You have to be self-controlled.” Ouch! I must have confused her with this mixed message. My words were communicating one thing but my actions where screaming something completely different. I had to come to a point where I stopped blaming my teenager for my temper and looked inside myself.
Avoid a power struggle
Teenagers are vying for an identity apart from their parents. It's a natural process and what our goal has been since before they were born. Your child is becoming an independent adult. Of course, you and I both know our children still have a lot to learn and a ton of maturing to do. So, we boldly step up to a tug of war and engage in a power struggle with our kids. You know the interesting thing about the game tug of war? Both teams end up with their hands raw and their pants dirty. Instead of starting a battle, try showing respect and talking to your teenager like you would another adult.
Respond without reacting
There are better ways to communicate with your children than screaming. Besides, yelling sets your teenager up for failure because they imitate your behavior. Could one reason why it's hard to keep your temper with your teenager be you are seeing a reflection of yourself? I often think my mother had her prayer answered when my daughter was born. Mom always hoped I would have a child “just like you” so I could appreciate what I put her through. To stop losing your temper with your teenager, stop reacting instead of carefully choosing a response. Remember to model how you want your teen to communicate with you.
Give responsibilities and rewards
As you seek to build trust with your teenager, start increasing the amount of responsibility you place on him or her. Ask your teenager to do harder chores than younger children or leave them in a position of authority over their younger siblings for short amounts of time. Or, if he is old enough to drive, ask him to run an errand for you. Use these situations to start growing your teen into a responsible adult. As you see your teenager become more trustworthy, heap on the praise and offer rewards such as:
- going out with friends
- staying up an hour later than siblings
- increased allowance
- owning a cell phone
- using the car
Show your appreciation by giving him or her the opportunity to explore adulthood. Be available and supportive Recently, our young teen was invited with a dozen of her classmates to perform alongside high school students at a special event. Parents were welcomed to attend so my husband and I did not think twice about tagging along, planning to give her plenty of space. Imagine our surprise to be the only parents attending. My friend, if you want to develop a quality relationship with your teenager, you have to be available. You must support their interests even if it is not something that appeals to you. Your presence (even if smiling from the corner of the room) means more than anything you will ever say. Keeping your temper with your teenager might be challenging, but it is possible. If you need more help, I have more tips for keeping your temper in my free printable, Flip Your Mood Fast. You will receive simple and practical ways for being a more even-tempered mother.