Is a rude teen doomed to grow into a rude adult? Sadly, the answer may be yes, according to a study out of the University of Virginia. The 10-year study analyzed 164 adolescents, along with their close friends and romantic partners. The study found that although youth categorized as “disagreeable” did not report any struggles within their relationships, their friends and partners rated them with low quality scores. This pattern continued throughout the study, outlying a rude and/or difficult person as having “relationship blindness” or an inability to clearly see their own relationship issues that are clear as day to outsiders.
If you would categorize your teen as disagreeable (talking back, rude, impossible to get along with) don’t let it go by as just part of being a teenager. Break the troubled teenager cycle today with these helpful tips.
Encourage Healthy Communication
Let your teen know that healthy communication does not include these things:
- Playing the blame game
- Continually interrupting
- Overly negative tone
- Desire for control
- Arrogant certainty
- Overly hasty evaluations
Encourage your teen to think before they speak. When they do feel the need to say something, ask them to be direct yet kind. If someone were speaking to them the way they are speaking, would they feel good about it? Make that their scale, and encourage them to act with integrity and compassion. Work with them to bring down their wall of defensiveness, and let go of resentments.
Consider enacting a code word that you and your teen both know will be used when you believe they are toeing the line of what is acceptable. This will help your troubled teenager recognize behavior they may not even be aware of, without having to go into a lengthy or combative conversation.
Choose Your Battles
Just as your teen must learn to choose their battles, you must as well. The largest part of being a sociable, friendly individual is knowing when to back down and admit fault. You’re not always going to be right, and neither is your teen. This isn’t the time for introducing power struggles—put your ego aside and teach your teen how to do the same.
Renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow defines self-actualization as an individual who becomes more fully aware of who they are. It’s a lifelong process; one that drives mental clarity and improves self-esteem. Help your teen navigate the stages of change they are going through by getting them to participate in activities that promote whole-person wellness.
Seek Professional Help
Sometimes, troubled teenagers need more help than we can offer ourselves. You should never be ashamed of seeking professional help—rather, you should be proud that you are attempting to help your teen before their behavioral issues become integrated into their adult lives. At Pacific Quest, each student participates in both individual and group therapy as part of their individualized treatment plan. Students are given tools designed to help them work through personal challenges, improve relationships and develop more healthful life skills. If you’re interested in learning more, please download our free Adolescent Program Brochure below.