We all remember what it was like to be a teenager—even if it was a long time ago—but dealing with a rude, aggravated teen can be difficult no matter what. Still, it can help to try to remind yourself what they’re going through when you get caught in their path of destruction. Remember that words have more power than almost anything else… if you know how to use them.
Use “I” Statements, Not Accusatory Words
One of the best ways to control your phrasing when it comes to talking to your angry or unruly teen is to use “I” statements. This means saying things like “I feel…” or “I think…” These statements will allow you to keep your focus on yourself and to remind your teen that there are two people in the conversation. But it also works in another way.
“I” statements help to avoid accusatory language that is focused on the other person like “Why can’t you just do what you’re told?” or “You’re being ridiculous!” If you start to accuse your teen, the fight will only worsen. And the longer you continue using “I” statements, they might start to do so as well, realizing it’s easier to get their feelings across if they aren’t constantly on the deffense.
Teenagers often feel affronted when they receive advice from their parents. If you feel like your teen is doing something wrong or something you don’t approve of, it’s a better idea to ask them why they’re doing it rather than telling them what they should be doing instead.
Asking calm, careful questions without a loaded message or double meaning will force them to look at their behavior and really consider whether or not they are taking the right path, as opposed to giving them advice, which, in most cases, they will probably do their best to ignore.
Sometimes, teenagers try to get into a fight with their parents because something else is going wrong. If your teen seems frustrated for no reason and is being rude to you, it’s best to tell them the truth: not that you are sick and tired of them acting like this but that you will be here for them if they feel like talking about what’s bothering them. If you refuse to argue—but still promise them you’ll be there when they’re ready to talk—you can actually avoid the fight altogether.