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Living with an angry teenager

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Living with an angry teenager


I have an 11-year-old. Her body is changing and so is her attitude. I often find myself stooping down to her level when she says “I am not going to do that!”

Once she starts her daily arguing, throwing tantrums, calling names and/or pushing my husband and I away, I find that my husband and I start to argue with each other over the way we discipline her.

I am so frustrated sometimes I do not want to go home. We have tried time out, taking pleasurable things away, spending more time with her and telling her repeatedly that we love her. I am at a loss of what we should do to turn her attitude around and to make my home a place of harmony.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


You and your husband should read the book “Parenting with Love and Logic” by Fay and Cline. In the meantime I’ll give you a few ideas on parenting teenagers.

Most teenage bad-behavior is motivated by one of three things. It is either:

  1. A request for love and validation,
  2. A request for attention or
  3. A request for more freedom

Step back from the situation and ask yourself what is motivating this behavior today?

Once you can clearly see why she is behaving the way she is, you can assess your options for a response.

If she is angry all the time, which is normal for teenagers, she may need a little more space and freedom. If she is asking for validation, she wants you to accept her as she is. If she is creating drama to get your attention, you may need to spend more time as a family.

No matter what you do, you must stay calm and in control when dealing with your teen. You must stay logical and loving. A never-fail approach, no matter the situation, is to have a validating conversation with her.

Ask questions about what she is feeling and what she thinks about this situation. Listen without responding. Validate her right to see the situation whatever messed up way she sees it.

Respecting her right to feel the way she feels — even if she is wrong — shows her she is important and valued. Then ask if she would be open to a little advice from mom or dad? Only give it with her permission. If she says ‘no’ wait for another day. Respecting her in this way earns respect back.

The best way to validate another human being is by listening to his or her feelings. Teenagers aren’t always in the mood to talk though. You may have to wait for the right moment.

If freedom is her issue, give her the freedom to make more choices. Explain the natural consequences of her choices and then leave it to her to decide.

Remember the desire for freedom is a natural trait in all human beings. It is a fact of life that the oppressed will always rebel. As parents of teenagers, we have to find a balance between loving guidance and lots of free agency.

Our children learn their greatest lessons from their mistakes. Don’t be afraid to let a headstrong child make more choices on their own. Stay out of their way as much as possible. Care but don’t control. If she is pushing for more responsibility, give it to her. then give her more and more freedom as she ages.

As for the fighting in your home, it takes two to fight.

If you refuse to play it’s not nearly as fun.

You and your husband need to stop blaming each other. You are both responsible for these two relationships but the only thing you have any control over is you.

Ask yourself…

How can I make each of these relationships better?

How can I step it up and behave more mature, calm and loving?

How can I stop getting defensive and give love instead?

You must get control over your own emotions, if you are going to teach your daughter how to handle disagreements calmly. You must teach by example.

This means recognizing everyone is inherently good but scared to death most all the time. Fear that they aren’t loved and respected drives most of their behavior. Have more compassion for your spouse and child. They are doing the best they can with what they know. They just don’t know everything.

Choose to be the love in these relationships.

Focus on how you can make each other feel safe and validated. Once they feel safe, you can have great conversations about making things better.

I hope this helps.

How come it takes so little time for a child who is afraid of the dark to become a teenager who wants to stay out all night?

Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She and her husband are the parents of 7 children. She is a sought-after life coach and speaker.

How You Can Become a Peak-Performing Person and Leader: Tackling Taboo Realities Like Sexual Violence and Tobacco Use Head-On by Hemda Mizrahi

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How You Can Become a Peak-Performing Person and Leader: Tackling Taboo Realities Like Sexual Violence and Tobacco Use Head-On by Hemda Mizrahi

Peter Prichard Photo Cropped Sarah Beaulieu Photo Cropped

Leadership and social change experts Peter Prichard and Sarah Beaulieu joined me on “Turn the Page” to discuss two taboo topics—tobacco use and sexual violence. In sharing compelling personal stories that galvanized their social change missions, Peter and Sarah demonstrate how truth-telling can empower you to become a peak-performing person and leader who chooses to make a difference

Sarah and Peter extended their information sharing after the show to provide you with additional support and encouragement.

Sarah notes, “One challenge with sexual violence is that many people view it as a “women’s issue.” Sexual violence directly impacts about one out of four women AND one out of six men in the United States. You can learn more about the facts surrounding men and sexual violence at: http://theenlivenproject.com/convo-graphic-the-truth-about-men-and-sexual-violence/

Sarah is working on a book to help men support survivors of sexual violence in their lives and become stronger champions for sexual violence. If you’d like to contribute your perspective to this book, please complete her men’s survey and invite your colleagues and friends to do the same

She shares a few of the many practical ways that you can support stigmatized issues like sexual violence without re-vamping your company’s community relations efforts: follow an anti-sexual violence organization on social media; sponsor a table at a fundraising event; or provide skilled volunteer support to group that works directly with survivors.

She also suggests exploring how sexual violence might intersect with issues that you or your employer already support, citing the following examples: “while childhood exposure to sexual violence can impact your physical and mental health (http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy), few organizations that focus on heart disease, diabetes, or obesity view sexual violence prevention and response as a part of their own work to eliminate these chronic conditions.

Similarly, sexual abuse or assault at home drives many adolescents into the foster care system, or homelessness, which in turn places them at higher risk. Groups committed to ending homelessness for teens ought to consider sexual violence prevention as a part of their strategy. Finally, sexual violence prevention can help to increase rates of high school graduation. According to America’s Promise Alliance (http://www.americaspromise.org), students need safe spaces and social supports to learn and thrive. That includes a home and school life free of sexual violence.”


“In my experience as a leadership development consultant and career coach, individuals who create a specific statement about who they are and what they represent are better positioned to tackle taboo realities or other difficult situations that confront them.” He references Stephen Covey’s best-selling book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” as a valuable resource for creating a personal mission statement (refer to Covey’s chapter on Habit 2, “Begin with the end in mind.”). In Covey’s words, here’s what this declaration can do for you: “Once you have that sense of mission, you have the essence of your own proactivity. You have the vision and the values, which direct your life.  You have the basic direction from which you set your long-and short-term goals.”

Peter recommends Dr. Al Siebert’s book, “The Resiliency Advantage: Master Change, Thrive Under Pressure, and Bounce Back From Setbacks,” and the confidential, free-of-charge, Resiliency Quiz available through Dr. Siebert’s site, www.resiliencycenter.com. The quiz will help you to identify and enhance the behaviors through which you respond to challenges.

Referring to a June 2006 Harvard Business Review article entitled “Leadership Run Amok: The Destructive Potential of Overachievers,” Peter cautions: “Many overachievers act in a way that lessens positive feelings in others.” He points to the research of Jim Collins in his monograph “Good to Great and the Social Sectors,” which describes the most effective Level 5 Leaders as “ambitious first and foremost for the cause, the movement, the mission, the work—not themselves.”

Understanding what you have to offer is foundational to leading yourself and others through difficult change initiatives. Peter’s websites offer tools through which you can inventory the range of competencies that will enable you to contribute to a positive result:
www.makebigtobaccounprofitable.com  AND  www.workforthecommongood.com.

Peter identifies Dr. Paul Bendheim’s, book “The Brain Training Revolution: A Proven Workout for Healthy Brain Functioning,” as a comprehensive, well-researched, and practical guide for accessing your mental capacity to confront challenges. Regardless of the resources you choose to engage, designing a lifestyle that enhances your physical and mental functioning will equip you to contribute to the common good more effectively and over a longer period of time.”

“Facing a traumatic experience like sexual violence has taught me about resilience and strength, and enhanced my ability to support others in their leadership pathways.”

Peter’s own mission statement is reflected in two books that he’s written to bring into focus realities surrounding sexual violence and tobacco use amongst teens, and solutions: “Dawn of Hope” AND “Dawn of the Tobacco Wars: The Sequel to Dawn of Hope”.

We all have at least one torch to light! Sarah and Peter have inspired me to light mine! How about you? Listen to our conversation and learn more

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