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Disobedient Teenagers

We all know that children like to push the boundaries occasionally; they test their parents, their teachers, even their friends. Sometimes they are looking for reassurance that somebody cares enough about them to notice and react and respond to them. Other times it is hormones causing temporary confused and stroppy behavior, as their bodies change it can have some quite unnerving effects. However, there are times when a parent cannot fathom what has suddenly turned their normally pleasant child into a defiant and rude monster!

It is difficult to be a teenager in the 21st century but it is equally hard being a parent. Teenagers have a lot of pressure on them to succeed, to be like the kids in the top stream, to do well at sports, to be liked. Some of that pressure comes from parents but a lot is self inflicted. They truly believe that life is supposed to be like the families in the sitcoms on television, and there is an assumption that if their life is not like that, then someone is to blame. If, as a parent you try to instill the value of working hard and earning respect, you can be accused of being old fashioned and out of touch.

If your teenager has got a bad bout of envy of a lifestyle that is beyond their reach, they will sometimes take it out on the parents. When times are tough, the teenager cannot have all they want, the computer will have to wait a while longer, and the mobile phone cannot be upgraded just yet. With resentment at what they perceive as unfair, comes disobedience. You, the parent have let them down, so they refuse to acknowledge your authority. They challenge you at every step, and you stand firm and do not give in, so they raise the stakes. The teenager thinks if they are difficult enough then you will eventually give in, and they will get what they want.

It is a difficult situation to be in; you cannot afford, either financially, or morally, to give into this blackmail, but part of you feels guilty that your teenager is going without. Sometimes a hefty dose of reality is required, a visit to those who are truly unfortunate may shock the teenager back into realizing how lucky they really are. Other times it escalates, until the defiance becomes uncontrollable and your teenager simply refuses to do anything you ask them to. There is little choice at this stage; if all else fails, consider calling in the experts, asking for help. A short stay at a residential home, away from the family and where emotional blackmail cannot work, can turn the defiant teenager back to the pleasant child they once were. You will be doing your teenager and your family a favor if the value of respect is once more understood.

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