How to handle an impossible teen

Mariam Ndahiro, a mother of two boys and a girl, gets closer to insanity every day trying to discipline her children. They are very stubborn and are at the stage most parents fear – the terrifying teens! 

Mariam Ndahiro, a mother of two boys and a girl, gets closer to insanity every day trying to discipline her children. They are very stubborn and are at the stage most parents fear – the terrifying teens! 

“My daughter comes back home late and hates doing housework. My sons are always playing games, sometimes it gets worse and I fail to control what I say to them. I scream at them with threats that I regret later,” Ndahiro said.

 

Every parent gets mad and says things in the heat of the moment that they regret later, but there is no such thing as a perfect parent. Some parents also feel like their children are testing them.  

 

“You wonder why what you say doesn’t have any effect, on them or why it goes in one ear and out through the other,” says Ndahiro.

 

When your child repeatedly ignores you, defies you or fights with you over everything, you might even wonder if you’re doing things right, or if somehow you’re failing at parenting.

James Lehman, in his book “Focus on the behavior, not the person”, says, “I don’t like to think about parenting in terms of good or bad. It’s more helpful to talk about effective parenting versus ineffective parenting.” 

To help with such sticky situations, below are some of the things you should never say to your teenage child, according to Lazarus Ocira, a specialist in child protection.

“No one else will like you if you do that!” It’s an easy thing to say, isn’t it? You know your child wants to fit in. You know the child wants to be liked. But you simply can’t shame your child into better behaviour.

“If you keep this up, you’re never getting a new thing!” Withholding a big ticket item is not effective especially if the goal is far off. Plus, threats don’t teach your child problem-solving skills.

“I forbid you to do that”. Forbidding an activity actually increases the chances your child will take unsafe risks. It’s often more effective to use the opportunity to help them learn and grow.

“You little $%^&##@!!!”

Swearing, name-calling, or attacks on your child’s personality are not effective techniques when dealing with your child’s behaviour. Effective parenting is calm, clear, and focused on the issue at hand.

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