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Parenting Articles about Adolescent & Teen Behavior

Articles from the experts at Empowering Parents to help you manage your teen’s behavior more effectively. Is your adolescent breaking curfew, behaving defiantly or engaging in risky behavior? We offer concrete help for teen behavior problems.
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How to Respond to Disrespectful Children and Teens

How to Respond to Disrespectful Children and Teens

Ask any parent and they’re likely to have at least a few instances in which their child was disrespectful, rude or inconsiderate – even outright defiant. Sometimes disrespect comes along with adolescence; other times a child may show disrespectful behavior from an early age. Either way, it’s a behavior that can push any parent’s emotional buttons!

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Teen Temper Tantrums: 3 Steps to Stop the Screaming

Teen Temper Tantrums: 3 Steps to Stop the Screaming

You thought “The Terrible Twos” were bad. Now you’re dealing with “The Terrible Thirteens,” and it’s just as bad, if not worse.

When you ask your child to help around the house, inquire about school or say no to something they want to do, your teen explodes. When she was two, she cried, kicked and screamed on the floor. At 13, she’s yelling, slamming doors, storming out of the house and screaming, “You can’t control me!”

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The Strengths of the Oppositional Defiant Child

The Strengths of the Oppositional Defiant Child

Do you have an ODD child or teen who constantly argues and fights your authority, refusing to follow the rules of your home? When the number for his school shows up on your caller identification, do you cringe in fear of what trouble he’s in now? When you have an oppositional, defiant child, it’s painful to read the seemingly endless Facebook statuses of proud parents beaming about how wonderful their child is. One mom recently shared with us, “I’m happy for my friends that they seem to have such great family lives. But it’s hard to see posts about their kids getting straight A’s, when my son swears at me every night about his homework.”

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Negotiating with Kids: When You Should and Shouldn’t

Negotiating with Kids: When You Should and Shouldnt

Does it seem like every time you tell your child “No,” it turns into a tug-of-war? One mom shared with us recently, “Absolutely everything’s an argument with my son. Even the simplest request. He just can’t take no for an answer. It’s so frustrating!” Many parents find themselves in a negotiation with their children when they are met with any kind of resistance. Negotiating is an important life skill. By definition, it means coming to an agreement through discussion. It’s about finding a middle or common ground. But negotiation can also mean to get over or around something, such as negotiating the vacuum around the furniture. When it comes to children, they often try to negotiate “around” us to get the result they want.

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Punishments vs. Consequences: Which Are You Using?

Punishments vs. Consequences: Which Are You Using?

Do these situations sound familiar? Your 10-year-old won’t listen to you when you tell her to come inside for dinner. You rack your brain for a way to change this behavior so that in the future she will do as you ask. Your teenager breaks curfew – again. You thought you had addressed this with him the last time he got home late, but here you go again. As parents, we know the importance of parenting from our principles, things like teaching our children to own up to their actions and face the fallout when they make poor choices. And you’ve tried. You’ve talked to your child over and over, you’ve explained your reasoning repeatedly. You’ve given them restrictions, taken things away and grounded them for a month. Yet nothing seems to be getting through. It could be time to look at the difference between punishing your child and using consequences.

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Are You Doing Too Much for Your Child?

Are You Doing Too Much for Your Child?

As parents, many of us do things for our kids that we were able and expected to do for ourselves when we were children. Our parents didn’t often feel the need to negotiate with our sports coach, solve our every problem, or entertain us in our free time. A big difference from today, when all too often we are over-involved in many areas of our children’s lives. Sounds funny, I know. How can a parent be too involved or do too much for their child? Isn’t that just being a good parent? But when we don’t expect our kids to take responsibility for chores or their behavior, and we attempt to smooth away all the bumps and bruises that are a natural part of childhood, we aren’t doing our kids a favor. Instead, we’re bringing them up to avoid taking personal responsibility and to expect that others will take care of things for them – even when they are really able to take care of themselves. We’re teaching our kids that life is full of unmanageable problems, when what we want them to learn are the basic skills to manage those problems. Stepping back and taking on the role of coach and teacher instead of “do-er” and “fixer” was one of the hardest things I had to do as a parent. But as my husband James Lehman said, it is also one of the best things you can do to help your child build their social and problem-solving skills and learn responsibility.

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4 Steps to Managing Your Child’s Screen Time

4 Steps to Managing Your Childs Screen Time

Is it just me or does it seem like children have lost their playfulness? Many of us can recall summer days spent playing games outside with friends, riding bikes, playing hopscotch, or making forts in the woods. Now, though, it seems that most kids prefer to lead a wired existence, constantly connected to some electronic device. Many parents are exasperated by their child’s constant technology use and the degree to which tablets, TVs, video games, laptops and smart phones have taken over their household. I once talked to a desperate mother whose child was sending upwards of 20,000 texts per month (No, that is not a typo.) Like this mom, many parents who we hear from are fed up and looking to take back control. Here are 4 steps you can take to manage or limit your child’s use of technology so that it works for you and your family.

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How to Talk to Your Child About Marijuana: 4 Responses for Parents

How to Talk to Your Child About Marijuana: 4 Responses for Parents

Since Colorado voters passed a law earlier this year legalizing the sale and purchase of marijuana, many parents have wondered what this means for their children’s future. As a resident of Colorado, I have been inundated with questions from concerned parents wondering not only how to broach this topic with their kids, but how to frame their responses and keep kids healthy and safe.

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Is Your Child Responsible Enough to be Home Alone? Dos and Don'ts for Parents

Is Your Child Responsible Enough to be Home Alone? Dos and Don'ts for Parents

Many parents are at a loss for what to do with their older children during the summer months – they may get the summer off, but you probably don’t. That leaves a whole chunk of time to fill each day. How do you know if your child is responsible enough to be left home alone? What if you know he isn’t, but he won’t stop begging to be in charge of his own schedule this summer?

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Inside Your Teen's Brain: 7 Things Your Teenager Really Wants You to Know

Inside Your Teen's Brain: 7 Things Your Teenager Really Wants You to Know

Have you ever wondered what’s going on inside of your teenager’s head? What was she thinking when she made that choice? Why won’t he listen to what I’m telling him? It can seem as if an adolescent is completely wrapped up in a separate world, feet planted firmly in the air instead of on the ground. As parents, we often come away bewildered or frustrated when our teen’s perspective seems so utterly different from our own.

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Is It ADHD or Sluggish Cognitive Tempo Disorder? 4 Ways to Help Your Child Focus

Is It ADHD or Sluggish Cognitive Tempo Disorder? 4 Ways to Help Your Child Focus

Is your child forgetful, irresponsible, moody and prone to daydreaming? Does he seem to lack motivation and become easily bored? This behavior could be related to SCT, or Sluggish Cognitive Tempo Disorder. This new way of looking at certain ADHD-like symptoms in kids has been generating quite a bit of buzz lately in the media and is definitely controversial.

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Disrespectful Kids: How to Get Your Child or Teen to Behave with Respect

Disrespectful Kids: How to Get Your Child or Teen to Behave with Respect

We all know that kids can act in many disrespectful and rude ways to parents: they can slam doors, roll their eyes, and tell you they hate you, to name a few.It’s natural to get very worried and frustrated and wonder if these types of behaviors constitute out-and-out abuse, or just “rudeness and mild disrespect.” How can a parent know when these rebellious and rude behaviors have crossed over a boundary and gone way too far?

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Life Lessons for Kids and Teens: 5 Skills Every Child Needs to Learn

Life Lessons for Kids and Teens: 5 Skills Every Child Needs to Learn

When my son received his GED this year, I put together a small scrapbook for him with photos, quotes, and cards from his friends. I also considered the life skills he’s already mastered and thought about the ones he’s still working on. The big aha moment for me? Realizing that everything else in life builds upon the ability for kids to be able to dothese five things…

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How to Talk to Teens: 3 Ways to Get Your Teen to Listen

How to Talk to Teens: 3 Ways to Get Your Teen to Listen

You know the drill: you’re trying to talk to your teen about curfew. Or dinner. Or absolutely anything—and they pretend they can’t hear you. They start an argument with you, or give you an eye roll and a Whatever. Or they turn up their music. They won’t lift their eyes from their screens. They scoff or grunt in your general direction. There’s no eye contact, no acknowledgement, and absolutely no hint of, “Yes, Mom, I understand what you’re saying to me.”

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