Managing your teen's anger and defiance will be an ongoing challenge.

How to Get an Oppositional Defiant Teen to Obey

by Kathryn Hatter

A teen who exhibits oppositional defiance will challenge you in many significant ways as you deal with his explosive behavior. His aggression can be frightening and worrisome, to the point where you may fear for your physical safety. Specific techniques may help in managing your teen and encouraging him to cooperate and comply with your commands.

Encourage your child to stay calm when he’s faced with stressful or upsetting situations. It may be common for your child to overreact and become agitated or aggressive when he feels overwhelmed or anxious. Deep breathing, counting to 20, taking a walk or manipulating modeling clay might help him blow off steam and keep calm.

Maintain your own self-control to ensure that you handle the situation calmly, advises the New Leaf Academy. (ref 1) Resist the urge to allow your child to provoke you with words or actions, so that you can model the correct behavior. If you find yourself becoming frustrated, take a time out yourself for a few minutes until you feel calm again.

Give your teen specific rules that she must follow, along with consequences for failing to follow the rules. Choose your time to communicate the rules wisely, opting for a moment when your teen is feeling calm and relaxed, if possible. This will make it less likely that she will overreact to the rules and expectations.

Communicate your limits on behavior clearly with your teen so he knows what will happen if he loses his temper and acts violently or aggressively, advises social worker James Lehman, with the Empowering Parents website. (ref 2) For example, if your teen hurts anyone or destroys property in anger, it’s reasonable to warn him that you will call the police in order to protect the family.

Enforce rules and expectations consistently. If your teenager fails to obey, follow through with the promised consequences. If your teenager becomes angry and loses control, follow through with the warning you gave about calling the police. Once your teenager realizes that you will impose the consequence, she may try harder to control herself.

Seek professional help for your teenager and your family to help him manage his emotions. A therapist can guide him toward achieving better self-control and give you suggestions for interacting more positively with your teen. It’s imperative to provide your teenager with skills for managing his emotions before the behaviors escalate, warns the Intervene Teen website. (ref 3)

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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