Does your teenage daughter come home from school and immediately start telling you about the huge fight she had with her best friend? Or, perhaps your son doesn’t want to speak at all and only responds with grunting and slamming doors. To prevent the dark moody cloud in your house from spreading and hovering over everyone including yourself, take in the big picture, remember what it was like to be a teenager, and determine the role you will take in your child’s drama.
Remain calm and keep your emotions under control when teenage drama begins. Step into another room, count to 10 or take a deep breath. Say, “I want to hear what you have to say about this, but I need a few minutes to gather my thoughts first.”
Refuse to not let your teenager’s mood determine your mood or emotional state. Let her express why she is upset about not getting invited to the big party or what her best friend did last night, but remember that those are her emotions, not yours. Do not feel guilty for enjoying your day or for feeling good when she is down.
Make your teen accept responsibility for the drama that he causes in his life. Encourage him to spend some time reflecting on his regrets, what he did to go off track and what he can do differently the next time. Have him write a letter of apology, when appropriate, if he behaved foolishly causing someone grief, such as if he pulled a prank or spread rumors. Help take the emotion out of the drama and encourage your teen think to logically about the situation.
Enforce appropriate consequences if your teen is at fault. Speak respectfully with her and explain why the consequence fits the crime, instead of simply saying, “Because I said so.” Choose your battles carefully. Parents can simply ignore drama that is bound to just blow over, like blurting out something embarrassing in front of the class, but you should confront situations with weightier ramifications, such as sexual safety.
Give up your right to have the last word with your teenager. Do not take the bait to continue in a dramatic argument with your child. Take a deep breath and drop the debate, before you are caught up in a senseless altercation that no one can win.
- Build up your teenager’s self-esteem. Let him know that his self-worth comes from within -- encourage his talents, passions and personal interests.
- Talk to your teen with the same respect that you would give to a coworker or friend.
- Do not make your teenager’s drama about you. Keep the ball in her court.
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