If you are a parent of a 13 to 19 year old, you have probably learned that there are many ways to deal with teenagers and the funk they bring each day. The hard part is that they are constantly changing and growing and learning. They have a hard time being still and seeing beyond themselves. They can be infuriating and wonderful. There are no easy, fool-proof ways for dealing with teenagers in your house. But with some patience and a little luck, you can get through it.

two teen girls in a restaurant booth

When everyone is in a good mood, you get authentic smiles like these!

Dealing With Teenagers

As kids develop at different ages, don’t expect each of your children will react the same way. To help you understand ways of dealing with teenagers, heck out our reasons you know for sure you have a teenager.

family with two dads kayaking in Monterey Bay near Cannery Row

Us trying a family activity. Can you tell the joy this has inspired?

Reason You Know You Have a Teenager

  1. Isn’t very fun to have around all the time.
  2. Your child mocks you with no irony.
  3. He/she says, “it’s not fair” 10 times a day.
  4. Gives you attitude like you’ve never, EVER seen before.
  5. Refuses to do what you ask without sighing and/or the rolling of eyes.
  6. Insults you under his/her breath daily.
  7. He/she cries. A lot.
  8. Wants to be dropped off a block from school.
  9. Finds everything you do embarrassing. Like OMG embarrassing.
  10. Slams doors so hard you seriously think about taking that door off its hinges.
  11. Goes through emotions like most people flip through TV channels.
  12. Your child hates you. And loves you. But still hates you.

We call this look “Dead Eyes”. We see it often.

24+ Ways of Dealing with Teenagers

Now that we have established that you do have a teenager, what is the best way of dealing with teenagers when the eye-rolling, clothes hoarding, emotional outbursts start up? We’ve put together a list of ways to make peace with your kids during this season of life.

  1. Don’t take difficult behavior personally.
  2. Take a deep breath before reacting. Lots of breaths, actually.
  3. Be compassionate.
  4. Focus on the positive all around you (although it’s probably not coming from them).
  5. Try to take healthy risks.
  6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
  7. And then compromise some more.
  8. Let your kids create group rules and boundaries.
  9. Parent actively and appropriately.
  10. Try to be there after school as that is when all those bad things you are scared will happen, will actually happen.

    This is her “I refuse to smile” look.

  11. Keep your standards high.
  12. Make it a high priority to eat meals together.
  13. Keep the lines of communication open. Make sure it is a two-way street.
  14. Practice good self-care and insist your kids follow your lead.
  15. Keep kids safe and connected to the family by keeping computers in your common space.
  16. Don’t push your teen into independence before she’s ready.
  17. Talk about her period and periods in general from well before the first one, so there is no shroud of shame around them.
  18. Repeat to self: It’s just a phase.
  19. Never stop making the connection between eating well and feeling good.
  20. Help her find an escape hatch.
  21. It’s more important to listen than to fix.
  22. Know that your child isn’t mad at you. She’s mad at life.
  23. There is nothing too insignificant to brag about at the dinner table.
  24. Think about the emotional needs underlying the behavior.
  25. When they are being disrespectful, it’s sometimes a sign that they have emotional needs that aren’t being met.
  26. Set clear and consistent boundaries.
  27. Don’t escalate the situation by yelling.
  28. Be a role model. Your kids see what you do before they see what you’ve done.

Sometimes a hug is all they need to become human again.

Patience and Common Sense

Dealing with teenagers is not easy. We thought this season of life might cause less anxiety. However that is definitely not the case. With some patience and common sense you too can see this through without too many calamities.

For more tips, check out our tips on teen dating rules here.

And this is her actually smiling!