Your teen daughter may be more interested in talking to boys or hanging out with friends than she is in spending time with family or helping out around the house. She may start to become more difficult, refusing to do her chores, staying out later than she should, or even skipping homework. If she is going through a rebellious phase, she may be engaging in more troubling behavior, such as drinking, smoking or skipping school. Working to establish good communication and clear rules and consequences are just a couple of ways you can help to correct this behavior and bring peace back to your household.
1 Get to the source of the problem. According to Mind Compass, there are eight goals for teenage misbehavior. Among these are the need to get attention, to find some excitement, or to assuage feelings of helplessness. If you can get to the bottom of what's motivating your teen's behavior, you can solve the problem and stop the behavior.
2 Establish clear rules and consequences. Rules help your teen to know what is and is not acceptable behavior. HealthyChildren.org recommends setting rules that are specific and concise -- such as being home by 8 p.m. each day or no Internet until homework is finished. It may be helpful to put the rules in writing or to post them in a common area. Consequences should also be specific, and short-term consequences are best. For example, no phone privileges for two days or no TV for the rest of the night.
3 Be consistent. WebMD says that teens can be master manipulators, and it is important not to give in to it. Be consistent in enforcing the rules, or else the rules will have no meaning. Be firm, but be fair. If there is a real need to break the rules, then do so. Showing some flexibility when warranted will show your teen that the rules are there for a specific reason and aren't just arbitrary.
4 Reward good behavior. Positive reinforcement can help your teen girl get attention for the good things she is doing rather than the bad things. The positive attention can help meet some of the needs identified by Mind Compass, which cause the bad behavior. Rewards can be as simple as praise for a job well done or an actual gift or special outing for things like getting good grades.
5 Establish good communication. Many teen girls act out because they are trying to figure out their place in the world. They may be scared, confused or angry. By establishing good communication with your teen daughter, you can be a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen when she is struggling with these issues. You may be able to help her through them so that she does not feel the need to lash out and engage in troubling behavior.
6 Be involved. WebMD says that one of the best ways to prevent bad behavior is to know what your daughter is doing. Ask questions. Know where your daughter is going and who she's going to be with every time she leaves the house. Get to know her friends when they are at your house. Watch for warning signs that there are problems, such as weight loss, poor grades, or spending a lot of time alone.
- WebMD: Health and Parenting: Curb Your Teen's Bad Behavior with Discipline that Works
- Mind Compass: The 8 Goals of Adolescent Misbehavior
- HealthyChildren.org: Fair and Reasonable Limits for Teens
- HealthyRules.org: General Rules for Disciplining Teens
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Child Welfare Information Gateway: Setting Rules and Consequences with Teens
- Center for Young Women's Health: Be There for Teens: A Guide for Parents
- Mayo Clinic: Tween and Teen Health: Parenting Skills: Tips for Raising Teens
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