What is it, teens and attitude?
One of the biggest struggles between my teen Fadiera and me is dealing with her attitude.
I have learned that her attitude seems to relate to feeling misunderstood and not having the ability to communicate how she is feeling.
I have figured out the best ways to help with this is by making time to listen to her actively. When I notice that her attitude is increasing or avoiding me, I know I need to clear some time in my schedule. We sit down over lunch or activity, asking her to tell me what is going on and how she feels.
Criticism is also a big trigger for her. As parents, we want our teens to learn and grow as a person. However, when we try to help them solve a problem or complete something, they are often interpreted as criticism. One of the best ways to counteract this is by sharing our experience not telling them what to do. I usually start these conversations with statements like “when I was your age, or once when this happened to me I.” This approach helps them think about alternatives while allowing them to make their own decisions.
Self-Doubt also appears to be related to Fadeiras’ attitude. It seems like she has difficulty making decisions and cannot commit to decisions. When this is evident, I spend some time with her and talk about her situation and options. One thing I have learned about this situation is never to tell her how to handle her problem. These moments are about empowering and developing problem-solving skills. I also help Fadeira develop these skills by asking her opinion on things that I am trying to make decisions on.
One of the first reactions when on the receiving end of her attitude is to yell, mirror her attitude, and punish; however, these seem to increase the problem. I realize that I am still her parent, but I save setting boundaries with her when emotions are not as high. One of the best times I have found to address these concerns is during our alone time together. I try to plan times to spend time with her each week. Sometimes we go to lunch, on a walk, or to a movie.
Finally, I have found that acts of kindness go a long way with Fadiera. I often will sit down next to her, shoot her a smile, compliment her individuality, or bring home one of her favorite snacks. I feel that this helps her see the positive view I have of her and respect who she is becoming.
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