5 Myths and 5 Tips for Dealing with Difficult Teens

Sometimes society tends to create negative assumptions about how teenagers behave. We hear all kinds of misconceptions about teenagers from other parents, grandparents, teachers, and have our own too.

But, saying all teenagers are the same is far from the truth. So, do not be surprised when your teen feels uncomfortable when you or their grandparents “accuse” them of being “rebellious” or “uncommunicative” just because they are teens!

If you want to be the best parent you can be for your teenager, it’s important to put numerous myths aside, especially the ones about “difficult” and “problematic” types of teens.

According to The Parent Cue, during teenage years, it’s not uncommon for parents to become more distant when they should actually reestablish their role and strengthen their connection even more.

As parents, we need to realize the importance of flexibility and adjustment and to accept changes, not to frown upon them.

One of the best ways to achieve this is by ignoring conventional “wisdom” concerning teenagers. By putting myths aside, we will have a much clearer perspective of what is going on with our teen and a greater chance of finding a solution together.

If you are having a hard time with your teenage daughter or son, don’t worry; you are not alone, other parents are going through the same or similar struggles.

Whenever you begin to feel frustrated and disappointed because of something your teen said or did, remember the uniqueness of young adulthood from both a physical and mental point of view, and its impact on your child.

They are searching for their place in the world and we need to help them find it. But, this is not always going to be a smooth ride so make sure you have the right equipment!

In this report, we will help you on your parenting journey by outing the 5 most common myths about dealing with difficult teens and provide 5 practical tips to help you deal with your teen.


5 Major Teen-Related Misconceptions to Put Aside

1. Teens do not want to spend time with their parents

Although you may think otherwise, your teenager does want to spend time with you, even though they may not be the initiators.

Of course, they will dedicate a large part of their free time to be with their peers and friends, but this doesn’t mean that they do not want to build a positive relationship with you and that you do not matter.

Take into account that this is the period when they are discovering themselves through socialization.

It’s vital not to take this “distance” personally and accept that you may not be their priority at this point; but, remember, they need time with you as much as you need time with them.

We need to stop being so hesitant in taking the initiative when it comes to spending more time together with our teens- it’s our role as adults and our teens will appreciate it.

2. Teens behave badly on purpose

Though it may seem like it they are doing things just to spite you, your teenager has very little control over their “bad” behavior, according to Alan Kazdin from Time.

He/she is not manipulating you intentionally or spending a lot of time alone in his/her room to come up with ways how to bother you.

Your teen is actually a “victim” of different mental and biological shifts. Kazdin points out that the brain changes going on in teens are known to elevate their impulsivity, susceptibility to peer pressure, and risk-taking.

These areas continue developing until late adolescence. Though not every teen will experience these changes in the same way, they can be the reason behind their problematic attitude.

3. Teens will behave better after being punished

Many parents who deal with problem teens punish them in order to teach a lesson. Punishment is used as a last resort when nothing else seems to help.

But, punishment, especially when more severe, will not improve or change your teen’s behavior, both short- term and long-term, and may even worsen it.

This could lead to your teen becoming even more distant and uncommunicative than before. On the other hand, acting on the consequences from set boundaries is important- we just need to know the right way to do it.
We’ll come back to this a little later on.

4. Teens will improve their actions through reasoning

Though it keeps the confrontation less damaging and stressful and helps teens build their problem-solving skills and capacity to handle conflicts, Kazan suggests that reasoning will not always contribute to a positive change in your teen’s behavior.

This is not just common occurrence among teens, but amongst adults too. For example, though we know that fast food and sedentary lifestyle are not good for us, we may not necessarily begin with a healthy lifestyle as of tomorrow, right? With teens, this is even more challenging due to the changes they are experiencing.

5. Teens want total independence

Yes, teens love having freedom and being independent so that they can explore their individuality.

However, although they want to become a person of his/her own, they still need your love, understanding, and support, despite not showing it as often as they did when they were younger.

This doesn’t mean that your teen wants to pack his/her bags, leave home, and “become” an adult. They can only achieve this through interdependence, Stephany Tlalka from Mindful suggests.

What does she mean by interdependence? This is a connection during which parents and children depend on each other, i.e. both sides are capable of receiving and giving care.

Our teens may be more focused on nurturing their friendships in teenage years and feel more connected to peers rather than adults but, this doesn’t mean they want to completely isolate themselves from you.

5 Tips to Deal with Difficult Teens

1. Do not give in your authority

Preston Ni from Psychology Today explains how difficult teenagers tend to push parents’ buttons and therefore, we end up acting negatively.