As your adolescent makes his way toward the teenage years, many physical, mental and emotional changes are taking place. Your once-sweet little boy may now be a moody, sassy mini-man with an attitude. To tame some of his annoying behavior and to lesson the negative effect it has on you, you can learn to recognize the situation for what it is and how to deal with it.
Some preteens get in the habit of interrupting people when they are mid-sentence. If this is the case in your house, he may be feeling left out and is trying to get your attention. Model the appropriate behavior, instead of preaching at your preteen. He's more likely to respond positively if you show him how to effectively communicate and respect others, rather than lecturing him, especially if your actions contradict your words. When he's talking, really listen and wait your turn. Take time each day to let him talk about his feelings, ideas and experiences. This can be at family mealtime or a special time that you set aside just for this reason. Ask him open-ended questions that require more than a yes or no answer. You may notice a reduction in his annoying interrupting if you give him your undivided attention for a few minutes each day.
Your adolescent may have been compliant during the early years, but as puberty sets in, you may have a little arguer on your hands. You may notice that every time you give him a simple instruction, you are met with a defiant “no” or an annoying “why?” Instead of stepping into this arguing circle, tactfully offer choices instead of demands. Try “Do you want to take the trash out before dinner or after?” instead of “Take the trash out.” You'd be surprised how many arguments you can avoid just by giving him a say in the matter. This gives him some independence and power, without relinquishing your role as a parent. Arguing with and yelling at your child will only make matters worse.
Choose Your Battles
If you try to pick at every annoying behavior your kiddo throws at you, you’re going to feel drained and defeated. Instead, let him spray his blue hair for crazy hair day if it means that much to him. Ignore his annoying noises, tapping on the table and dirty socks thrown on the floor. Accept that you’re going to hear fart and booger jokes. Save the battle for the real issues, like drugs and violence.
Increasing Good Behavior
When you want him to ditch the annoying behaviors and increase the positive ones, catch him being good and praise him for it. Be genuine and honest. Use words to describe the behavior you noticed, such as “I really like how you helped your sister clean up her spilled milk” or “I appreciate you taking the garbage out without being asked.” Praising the good and ignoring the not-so-good will increase the chances that he’ll continue behaviors that get your attention. According to the University of Michigan Health Care System website, focusing on the negative may actually increase the likelihood that he will do it again.
- HealthyChildren.org: What’s Going On in the Teenage Brain?
- Kids Health: Connecting with Your Preteen
- Kids Health: Understanding Puberty
- Kids Health: A Parent’s Guide to Surviving the Teen Years
- University of Michigan Health Care System: Bad Habits/Annoying Behavior
- Empowering Parents: Help! My Child is "The Constant Interrupter"
- Family Education: Dealing with Daily Teen Behaviors
- Mind Compass: The 8 Goals of Adolescent Misbehavior
- ABC News: 10 Tips for Parents of Defiant Children
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images