Teens, like toddlers, are now living in swirl of hormones, thoughts and emotional states that are confusing and bewildering. Unlike toddlers, teens are more rational and can understand that they are confused and in a way to cope with this they try to examine different attitudes to find one that seems the most "mature"; that is why they are so frustrating and confusing. Teens are as open emotionally as toddlers, throwing their versions of "temper tantrums", if you look closely at these tantrums, you will see much of your own anger behaviour, and that is also a clue on how to help your teen weather these storms and to more maturely handle these emotions.
Realize that much of what a teen is dealing with, the same as a toddler: Frustration. For the toddler the frustration come from not being able to express themselves, being able to do what they want, having control over their own lives, and doing those things they assume are "adult". The frustration is very similar for teens. They both are on the cusp of new levels of growth, but for teens we must deal with them with more rational action than a toddler. We need to respect that our teens are being adults, not children and we must now, just as we did with our toddlers, deal with our children as we want them to become.
Among the ways we teach our children is how we model the behaviour we want, teens/toddlers are very intuitive, they know what they know. Our goal is to have our teen talk with us, so that requires treating them as we would any adult, which they are emerging to become.
First, pray over the situation, gather as much evidence of what is going on. Look at the facts only, not others opinion, or what rumors, gossip is around your teen. Find out what happened.
Second, create an atmosphere of trust by not speaking when in the heat of emotions. Wait until both of you have cooled down. Understand your teens emotionally state, do they close down, become combative, or passive/aggressive so that you know how to approach them positively. Find or create a private place for these talks, teens will not want to have their laundry aired in front of others and if you wish them to talk, remember not to have them feel embarrassed.
Third, have a game plan in mind before you talk. You are the parent and you are in control of what will be happening after the talk. You also want to create trust so talk with not to your teen. Enlist your teen in a plan of action about the situation, by getting the teen engaged there is a greater degree of success, but remember it is your game plan you and your teen are working on, not what the teen wants.
Speak calmly, try not to become emotional
- If your teen is emotional, upset, talk with them calmly, teens sometimes will be emotionally to try and distract you from what is important to talk about, trying let them briefly vent and then get them on track. Think of it as vent and release. Venting helps them clear themselves emotionally, release some emotionally energy.
- Stay in the present; speak with them about what is happening now, not what happened in the past, being in the present creates bonds of trust and understanding.
- Don't let them bring up the past; it is a way of blocking process for you and them.
- Speak from the heart but not emotionally, leaving emotions behind means that you can clearly hear what your teen is saying.
- Create an action plan, what you want, what your teen will do, and the consequences if the action plan is not followed.