Think of the many external forces pressing in on teens today. Teens often feel trapped between childhood and adulthood and the expectations that go with that awkward transition. They are accountable to teachers, coaches, employers and their parents who add stress to their life that they are often not able to manage well. Not mature enough to deal with those pressures, teens often express their emotions in outbursts of rage. They will tend to hold it together (hopefully) around other adults but let loose when they are around you—a wonderful perk to parenting!
When verbally attacked, a person’s natural response is to retaliate. The one attacked yells back or fumes inwardly. When your teen loses control, and you are the recipient of their outburst, how do you respond? Do you “retaliate,” and yell back? Have you reflected on the possibility that your teen probably has caught this vibe and learned that, in your home, this is the way communication happens? Anger is contagious; if you tend to respond in rage, your teen likely will, too.
Anger never demands respect but rather shows a person is out of control. Have you been modeling anger to your teen? Yelling increasingly louder to diffuse a tense situation is the least effective way to respond.
Consider taking a personal inventory of how you respond to your teen when he or she has reached the boiling point. Have you treated your teen disrespectfully or unfairly? Has your teen possibly felt constrained or even overlooked? Have you made commitments only to break them? Do you multi-task when your teen is talking? These are hard questions, but your responses may be indicative to why your teen responds the way they do, reflected in how they communicate with you.
Your goal in parenting is to love your child well, and parent in a way that fosters a godly relationship with your teen. If you have perhaps contributed to a culture of communication in your home that results in raised voices or even rage, consider asking God for guidance and strength to change. Tell your teen, when things are calm, that verbally assaulting each other will not be the acceptable way to communicate anymore. If anger has been the typical way you interact with your teen, keep in mind your son or daughter probably won’t respond the first time you try to respond calmly. Change won’t occur overnight, but it won’t happen at all unless you commit to trying!
I hope this Online Parenting Class has been helpful—albeit challenging! I’m honored to walk through these issues with you, and I want you to know I’m always available as a resource.
Please check out this week’s online parenting class:
Standing firm with you,