As an adult, dealing with difficult teens shouldn’t be such a herculean task. However, before you get to that level of ease, you need to understand who they are first.
A teenager is a person between the ages of 13 and 19. During this period in the human life cycle, teenagers are most likely to be going through puberty. It is the bridge that connects their childhood to adulthood.
At this time, they will be experiencing a legion of emotions that they are not familiar with. Their bodies begin to grow at a faster rate than they’re used to. Things that were once clear or inconsequential become foggy and overly important. At this stage, more than ever, they need guidance.
How do you go about dealing with a difficult teen?
It could be your younger ones or your students or even your children. Regardless of who they are to you, the following should help you in dealing with teens:
1. Keep Calm
A lot of teenagers have an inclination towards being disrespectful. Often, and sometimes, unwittingly, they want to push your buttons and see how far they can test your patience. They usually do this by being disobedient, talking back, or teasing you endlessly. When this happens, remain calm. The last thing you want to do is show cracks in your armor. It’ll quickly be read as insecurity and truly difficult teens will capitalize on this.
2. Show empathy
For some reason, a lot of teenagers feel misunderstood. Unfortunately, rather than communicate this clearly, many resort to frustrating you through their actions. When dealing with difficult teens, show empathy. Help them realize that you understand and you’ve been there before. It won’t work immediately but it’ll pay off in the long run.
3. Be gentle but firm and assertive
Defying authority is just another day in the life of a difficult teenager. However, while you’re showing empathy, ensure that you don’t become too soft. They’re like gold. Occasionally, they need to be refined. So, know when to communicate discipline by putting your feet down, and insisting on your words. This is especially important when they do something wrong. It’s not advisable to beat the living daylights out of your teenage son or daughter. However, you can still find ways to correct them when wrong.
4. Concentrate on the head when dealing with a group of difficult teenagers
Teens often do things for validation. As such, they do them with a group of other friends. So, if you ever find yourself trying to deal with difficult teenagers in a group, place your attention on the leader. When the head goes down, the others are likely to follow suit.
Now, while you’re implementing all these, you need to know that it won’t magically transform your teenagers. During the course of the seven years they’ll spend being teenagers, their attitudes might be recurring. When it happens, remain patient. Stay calm and do the needful as stated in this article. Good luck!