Children are Snakes… How to deal with teenage attitude and behaviour
We teach our children because they will be growing into a new generation of adults. This generation will be taking care of us, and creating the people that care for us as we age.
They are our blood, or own a massive place in our hearts, becoming family. We naturally want to protect and grow them.
Why do we want to teach this?
What will it add to our lives?
What will it add or take away from our child’s life?
If we teach this, what could change?
– Discipline vs Punishment
How do we teach them though? Why do they even have attitude in the first place?
A lot of us mix up punishment and discipline.
Discipline is teaching skills and spending the time expanding our child’s mind.
Punishment is an action that limits or balances out a grievance.
Punishment is smacking a child.
Discipline is sitting with them and talking to them in language they understand, allowing them space to learn and process. Showing that making mistakes is a part of growth.
Where do I mix up discipline and punishment?
How can I change punishment for discipline?
Is this still an area that needs improvement?
Are there any old systems I can remove now?
One thing is for sure, making mistakes takes time.
This is why we like to jump in and do things for the children in our lives.
We could wait and watch the struggle, offering suggestions and guidance,
Or we could just jump in and get ‘er done…
Hard Now, Harder Later.
When we don’t spend the time, we end up spending more time…
How much time do I spend with my child?
What takes up most of my time?
What takes up most of their time?
How much possible time do we have each week?
What can you do to spend more time together?
Is the time together quality time, or are we distractible?
Our children have a lot of time with outside influences.
It seems the further we advance, the more we connect, the more busy we get, and the more we need to make space from our children.
Family friends who arrange alternate weekends or something super awesome like that I don’t even know about yet…
Beyond, and because, of that
… there isn’t much time,
not many opportunities…
Everything slips by so quickly, because sooo many priorities pull at a parent’s life.
So, how do we become more aware of the influences in our child’s life?
FIND OUT HERE
What could have caused this sudden change?
Is there different music?
Do they have any new friends?
Are these changes actually a concern?
Could we indulge the change for 3 months?
The first thing we do when discovering the influencers in our child’s life, is to watch their behaviour. All of the changes that we notice must have come from somewhere, so why not at least try to figure it out? If there’s different words coming from their face, less joy in their face, more barriers between you, different choices consistently that don’t match up to normal childhood development Play detective.
Think it through.
Try to play back the previous few months…
What else has changed?
Think back to the influencers questions above
Is the behaviour disrespectful or rude to anyone?Will these behaviours cause the child problems?
How much are these behaviours bothering me?
Can I ignore these behaviours?
Could this change on it’s own?
Can I wait for it to change itself?
Also, be paying close attention to their language.
Look for words that they use a lot,
Figure out where they come from,
What it is telling you…
The language our children uses tells us a lot about their minds.
The words that slip out betray them, but give us a window into their hidden worlds.
Is the language abusive or manipulative?
Is the language actually an issue?
Can we teach the child to use it appropriately?
Will the language cause problems at home, school or with others?
Can the child control their language?
– “I’ve noticed”
There’s is absolutely merit to keeping some of our observations hidden, for a time!
We also absolutely must learn to share these negatives and positives with our child.
They need to know that we are watching, that we care about all parts of them.
This all gives us chance to explain different ways to do things,
Ways to make their lives easier!
We need to be sure to keep it calm and just listen when we invite them to share.
Keep the opinions and options for a follow up talk 😉
Am I emotional about this?
How does the behaviour add stress to our day?
Am I calm about this situation?
Can I be rational and relational as we discuss this?
Is my child ready to talk about this now?
Instead of even sharing your thoughts, throw it on them,
Just ask them flat out why they are doing what they are doing.
Behaviours that are bothering you may be things that simply haven’t been thought through,
It becomes our job to give them their ‘whys’.
To understand where our child is mentally, we need to be careful to not tell them how they think.
I have noticed when children are given suggestions they will usually take one, rather than explaining how they truly feel.
What happened first?
Alright, what happened next?
When did everything go crazy?
How did that make you feel?
Can you find a solution? How could you fix it?
Did we miss anything? Can we look at this differently?
What should we do now?
– “Here’s how I…”
We have years of experience to share with our children,
So why hold it back?
Take the opportunity to explain to your child what you do in similar situations.
If you physically can, show them the tools you used,
When it’s a mental tool, explain how it works, why it works.
Just teach everything you can,
Remembering one thing…
We are telling these stories to help our child,
If they are rude and uninterested that is their choice.
Explain that you can help them, but let them decide if they use the help.
Being rejected when we share a part of ourselves can hurt,
It can mess with the relationship for a little while.
Be ready to feel hurt, you know it wasn’t what really happened, so why take it personally? 🙂
Can I give it a go?
Can I show you how I used to do it?
Wanna see what I’d do?
Are you sure? (positively!)
You could try…
One great way to begin these types of conversations is to explain why something matters.
In ways and words that make sense to our child,
Explain why we want them doing something a certain way,
Why a certain behaviour is too risky,
What your opinion is…
But then stop.
Give them time in the silence,
Let their little brains sit and stew…
Be ready for their follow up questions and dig in to the angle they are comprehending this from.
Listen, and give them options rather than directives.
– Your Line. (boundaries)
Now that our child’s choices are made, it’s time for our choices.
We need to step in and step up with our boundaries.
Boundaries protect all members of the family, like laws do in each country.
There needs to be a middle ground, where freedom isn’t effected too much,
But rules need to be strong enough to protect the vulnerable.
Good boundaries pull up the weak, and calm the strong.
In parenting this begins with the things that annoy us.
Eliminating these first leave us with more positive feelings, and more joy.
What is bothering me most?
Is X a priority?Will this change on it’s own?
Is this a phase?
Am I wrong to be annoyed about X?
Is this boundary too much?- Consequences
Once boundaries are drawn, some of the consequences will be obvious.
A lot of parents seem to like matching consequences with the behaviours,
Finding ways to keep the punishments and infraction in the same vein.
I recommend aiming for something that feels the same, or teaches the same lesson.
There are three basic types of consequences
Natural, Earned and Unintended
We are trying to prepare our children for the natural consequences,
Bringing awareness to the reality of unintended consequences,
And showing them the power of earned consequences.
Boundaries and consequences teach our children that they have control and power in their lives.
Proper boundaries should grow with the child and help build confidence and competence!
Be sure to think about this when deciding on consequences.
Why do I want to change this behaviour?
Why does this need a boundary?
Can I do more to help?
What do I want this consequence to teach our child?
What could this consequence incidentally teach our child?
Is this unintended message in line with what we are trying to teach?
– Grace, and strategy
Consistency is key with our parenting, but sometimes it’s beneficial to drop the rope!
When we can feel ourselves losing the plot, or can see our children struggling too often, it’s time to deploy our empathy.
Having a massive weight hanging over us doesn’t help us learn…
It adds stress, and can put us into survival mode.
Because our children are still learning to navigate life, they don’t understand this pressure.
They may get the feelings, but their brains are physically incapable of connecting all of the dots.
We need to be ready to give them understanding and space, while keeping our expectations consistent.
Is this all too much?
Are we all being effected with this choice?
Could our child still misunderstand what we expect?
How can I help to take away the pressure?
Could dropping this expectation temporarily teach a bad habit?
Is it worth continuing with this expectation for the time being?
Growth comes with pain 100% of the time, I’m starting to believe this is why most of us stop striving for more at some point.
Learning these new skills is certainly taking a toll on our children somewhere,
Just changing a simple behaviour can be frustrating internally.
As children, they have the external pressure and joys of our reminders.
When we move into adulthood however, we have less and less people helping to guide us.
Meaning it is easier for us to trap ourselves into bad and negative habits and reactions.
It is work, but raising children gives us the opportunity to build our own skills!
When we have trouble expressing ourselves to our children we can reflect, and allow ourselves to grow.
Is this skill I am teaching beneficial to my child?
What are possible issues my child will have learning this new skill?
How can I support, but not smother, this discovery in my child?
Are any of my habits and reactions making this process more difficult?
Can I stop or change these behaviours?
What can we learn from the lesson our child is working on?
Where can we improve and model this behaviour in our home?
Everything in our lives is created, and destroyed, in our own minds.
Those situations you are thinking about right now,
If we had known how to respond differently and control our emotions,
They would be different, and our reactions would have been more calm, changing the outcome dramatically.
When we are passionate about something, or feel it will impact enough parts of our life, we tend to respond faster, and with more emotions.
Being swept along by a wind of let down and unspoken disagreements.
The dam breaks open!
But, we can learn to control our minds.
We can take over.
We can slow things down.
We can take the time.
We can decide how to think about every situation.
This is called framing. Taking our internal camera, we can change the entire angle and perspective.
Maybe the situation we are experiencing currently feels like the sun shining right into our eyes, this ruins our shot. Putting the sun behind us lights the subjects properly, giving us better framing.
Perhaps someone is extremely emotional about something we have done,
Using our empathy we can attempt to understand where they are coming from.
With that new information the hurtful words they are saying have some context,
We can now extract the useful information, the valid criticism, and help ourselves.
Growing and improving our lives.
Re-framing like this helps us to stay positive, keeps a good perspective and makes both patience and changes easier on us.
There are many other ways to give ourselves a bullet proof mindset,
Here are some questions to get you started (and remember, we are responsible for our children’s mindsets)
Why do I think X?
How does this thinking serve me?
Does my thinking cause me any problems?
How often am I positive about things?
How often am I negative about things?
What don’t I like about myself?
What is my biggest problem right now?
Why do I do that?
Where did I learn X?
How do I change X?
There you have it,
How I have dealt with teenage attitude in schools, the community, my family, my home… everywhere and anywhere.
The biggest piece for me was my own mind and finding ways to understand what the other person was truly feeling and trying to say. Where have you had failure or success with teenage attitudes?
Let us know in the comments!