Building Relationships With Defiant Teens
Discouraged and defiant teens aren't going to follow rules and directions simply because they respect authority. Unlike most kids, they don't. Having a positive relationship is the key to getting teens to respond. How can you develop a positive relationship with your struggling teen? How do I help things go right?
It takes time, and patience, but listening to kids, showing genuine caring for them, and showing respect for them are key ingredients. These three things can be difficult for parents to maintain, especially when the teen becomes angry or defiant.
Avoiding Power Struggles with Defiant Teens
Power struggles are common when teens are oppositional and refuse to follow the program. But remember, power struggles are usually lost/lose situations, and they often wind up damaging the relationship in the process. Instead, make sure the rules, rewards, and consequences are simple and structured. Instead of making demands on kids, gently remind them of the rules, and offer a choice, where possible, to help them save face. If a teen is angry, don't try to push him to complete a task right then; instead, help him de-escalate and then refocus his energies. Make sure what you are asking is within his ability level. Lastly, watch the tone of voice, body language, and word choice; make sure none of these are conveying an attitude of disrespect or anger.
Teaching Positive Skills
Defiant teens are often deficient in important skills areas necessary for positive development. Helping them correct deficits in these areas can lead to better relationships and self-control.
Social and Communication Skills – This includes things like reading body language and tone of voice, maintaining friendships, and resolving conflicts.
Positive Decision Making – Help teens learn how to think through the steps of making choices, including predicting and analyzing the possible consequences of their options.
Coping Skills - Defiant teens often have trouble with anger. Help them learn how to recognize and express their feelings, and develop a repertoire of things they can do to calm themselves down when they are angry. Working with defiant teens can be both challenging and rewarding at the same time. These challenges can be lessened by focusing on relationships, listening and building critical skills. Some parents seem to have a natural talent for working with young people. These parents seem to make the biggest impact on their teens, gain the most respect, and, most importantly, teens genuinely cooperate with them. What do these parents do in their relationships with their teens that set them apart?
For more information call the professionals of Wingate Wilderness Therapy now at 1-800-560-1599.