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​​​​Disciplining Teens Issue1234

Dark ​Clouds Rolling In

Even the happiest pre-teen child can ​suddenly be transformed into an angst-filled, moping and ​moody teen. ​Things that wouldn't have fazed him or her a few years ago now seem ​monumental in his or her scope. On an emotional scale of 1-10, your child, who once hovered near the 5 or 6 mark, is now stuck on the ragged edge near 9 or 10.

There are several things at work here causing this change. Some of it is the effect of the physiological changes in your teen's brain - emotions are ruling the day. But there are other factors at play as well.

It is in the early teenage years that children begin to discover their identity and independence. This creates a ripple effect that vibrates throughout their adolescence. First, it means they're less interested in engaging in activities or conversations that interest adults. They have their own passions and concerns. This can lead them to seem aloof and uncommunicative. It can also lead to frustration because your activities are keeping them from enjoying theirs. Frustration leads to anger and rage.

Another source of frustration born from this newfound independence is the fact that while teens feel as if they don't need parents and other adults around, they still require us for things like rides, money and signatures for permission to engage in school activities. For a newly empowered teen, this can feel somewhat weakening.

Understanding the root causes of your teen's journey from sunshine to storm won't stop it from happening. However, it will give you insight into your adolescent's current mental state, which will eventually help you better communicate with him or her - something that parents should strive for at all times.

Teaching Activity

Expressing Emotions

Expressing emotions is difficult enough for an adult, let alone for a teen who is grappling with these alien feelings for the first time. Art has been a fundamental way to communicate emotion for thousands of years. For this activity, have your teen think of a particular feeling or emotion and have him or her represent it with a collage cut from magazines and catalogs. Alternately, if your teen is so inclined, you can have him or her do this with an original sketch or painting. The important point is to represent the emotion in question graphically, rather than by voice. Discuss it together and work to find ways to deal with it.

Social Skills

Dealing With Frustration

Teenagers are often dealing with romantic relationships and infatuations for the first time. This entails opening up emotionally to another person and leaving themselves exposed and unguarded. When a romantic gesture is rejected, it can seem like the end of the world. To guard against overreaction, try the following:

  • Identify - feelings of frustration as they arise.
  • Determine - the source of these feelings.
  • Breathe - deeply and relax when frustrations arise.
  • Discuss - frustrations with a caring adult or peer.
  • Find - alternative activities that promote feelings of success.

Coming up in Issue 2

Discipline Dispassionately


Set Expectations


Using Structured Problem Solving (SODAS)

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