Oh, the teenage years. The eye-rolling, back talking and general disrespect are often synonymous with this period of your child's life as his hormones surge. Teens like to push a parent's boundaries and may resort to using sarcastic language or outright sulking to try to get his way. Being prepared with a variety of punishments may help you curb this behavior so that you can have a more positive home environment.
If your teen's attitude comes out because of her lack of appreciation, make her do the task that she is complaining about. For example, if she doesn't like dinner, have her make it the next day. If she does not appreciate her own possessions, have her volunteer at an organization for needy families. By matching her complaints with a punishment that is linked to her behavior, she may be able to see how her behavior is unacceptable.
When your teen stays out past curfew and then complains that his friends all get to stay out later, you may want to remove his privilege of coming and going. You can take away the keys to the car to communicate your disapproval of his behavior and attitude. Other privileges that you may be able to remove include playing video games, watching television, using a cell phone or going out with friends. Whatever the consequence, be sure that you communicate the potential for the removal of a certain privilege and be consistent to show that you mean business.
Just like the cuss jar in which a child has to put money into a jar for every bad word she says, you can punish your teen for her attitude through a monetary means. Start by including her allowance in a jar. For every eye roll, heavy sigh, sarcastic comment or other sign of disrespect, you can have her place a portion of her allowance in another container or on a piece of cardboard. When she sees that her behavior is costing her real money, she may be motivated to change her ways.
Drawing up a written contract with your child can help prepare him for the world to come. Just like with school or a job, your teen should know that there are certain rules and consequences for disobeying those rules. Have your child sign it and have each parent sign it.
Some teens are bored and don't have enough activities to take up their time. Others lack an awareness of the work that their parents do in and out of the home. Giving teens more responsibilities may help improve their attitudes. Get bored kids out of the house and involved in an activity they enjoy. A part-time job may be feasible and will teach your teen about being responsible and respectful to others. Assigning additional chores may show your teen the types of tasks that you do on a daily basis.
When you realize that you have a teen with an attitude on your hands, it may be time to sit down and talk it out. Acknowledge the problem and communicate your expectations of your teen's behavior. Ask for your teen's input regarding potential punishments for prohibited behavior. Teens may sometimes be harder on themselves than parents are.
- Child Welfare Information Gateway: Setting Rules and Consequences with Teens
- The University of Alabama Parenting Assistance Line: Discipline and Guidance
- Kids Health: Disciplining Your Child
- Good Housekeeping: Stopping the Back Talk
- Disney Family.com: Arguing and Back Talk
- Family Education: Behavior Makeover: Talking Back
- HealthyChildren.org: Methods of Punishment for Teens
- Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images