10 ways to deal with teenagers more effectively

Teen years can be among the most trying. (Yahoo! photo)Teen years can be among the most trying. (Yahoo! photo)

Maybe you’re a parent, teacher or youth worker who finds it frustrating to deal with teenagers.

Teenagers have so much energy and enthusiasm, but they also tend to be rebellious and hard to manage.

My work involves speaking to and mentoring teenagers on a regular basis. It’s a privilege to have already worked with thousands of them!

I enjoy interacting with teenagers, but they can definitely be a handful sometimes.

Based on the experiences I’ve had, here are 10 tips for dealing with teenagers more effectively:

1. Set clear boundaries

Once you’ve set these boundaries, stick to them. For example, if you decide that your 13-year-old son is only allowed to play computer games after he has completed his homework, be firm in enforcing this rule.

2. Show interest in their hobbies

Even if their hobbies are things that you don’t have any interest in at all (maybe it’s something like web design or rock music), make the effort to understand why they like it so much. Try out the activity for yourself!

Teenagers want to know that you care about them for who they are as individuals, not just for how well they perform in school.

3. Remind them that you care for them

This message doesn’t usually get communicated when you discipline or reprimand a teenager. Remind him or her that it’s because of your love and concern that you need to set boundaries and expectations.

4. Apologize if necessary

You’re not perfect, and neither am I. Teenagers are very aware of this, so when you commit a mistake, take the first step in making amends.

Teenagers greatly appreciate this, and they will learn from your example of honesty and humility.

5. Don’t bail them out

For instance, if your daughter forgets to bring her textbook to school, don’t bail her out. Let her deal with the consequences, so that she’ll learn to take complete responsibility for her own life.

6. Allow them to make their own choices

Teenagers still need guidance and support when making decisions, but it’s important to give them as much freedom as possible.

When it comes to decisions like what subjects to take in school or what extracurricular activities to participate in, parents should give them advice, but shouldn’t force them to make any one particular choice.

7. Stay calm

Handling teenagers can sometimes be confusing or frustrating. Nonetheless, it’s crucial that you muster all of your willpower to remain calm.

If you find that you’ve lost your temper—or if the teenager you’re talking to has already lost his or her temper—then take a break and discuss the issue later on when both of you have calmed down.

It’s almost impossible to reach a common understanding when either party is extremely angry.

8. Don’t claim to understand exactly what they are going through

Even though you’ve been a teenager before, times have changed. You don’t know exactly what it’s like to be a teenager today.

Whenever you claim to understand completely what they are experiencing, you make them feel misunderstood.

Instead, invite them to explain how they feel and ask them how you could be of better support to them.

9. Treat them with respect

No matter how upset you feel, don’t resort to calling him or her “useless” or a “failure” or a “spoiled brat”. Doing so is sure to cause strain in the relationship.

10. Don’t nag

Many parents I’ve spoken to feel as if nagging is their main weapon when it comes to dealing with teenagers.

Instead of nagging them, set clear expectations and explain the consequences if these expectations are not met.

For example, you might tell your teenaged son that he’s expected to keep to his curfew time, and that if he misses his curfew more than once in a month, that his allowance will be cut by 15% the following month for each subsequent time that he misses his curfew.

In closing…

Teenagers have abundant potential, which needs to be nurtured with wisdom and love.

I hope these 10 tips will help you to develop in today’s teenagers the world-changers and history-makers of tomorrow!

Daniel Wong is a learning and personal development expert, as well as a certified youth counselor. A sought-after speaker and coach, he is also the best-selling author of "The Happy Student: 5 Steps to Academic Fulfillment and Success". He offers programmes to help students attain exam excellence while also finding happiness and fulfillment, and to empower parents to motivate their unmotivated teenagers. He writes regularly at www.daniel-wong.com. Download his FREE e-books, "The Unhappiness Manifesto: Do You Make These 150 Mistakes In The Pursuit Of Happiness?" and "Singapore Scholarship Guide: The $500,000 Decision". The views expressed are his own.

  • Malaysia asks Japan to help in boat people issue

    TOKYO: Malaysia has asked Japan for assistance in handling the Rohingya and Bangladesh boat people issue. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak made this appeal to his counterpart Shinzo Abe after holding bilateral talks this evening. Najib, who is on a three-day visit here, said the issue was not exclusively an Asean problem but one that needed an international solution and intervention. At a joint conference, Abe expressed Japan's interest in the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project. Najib is expected to take a high speed train ride to Sendai some 300km from here tomorrow. He will also be briefed on Japan's famous Shinkanzen network of high speed rail. At the conference, both leaders also announced that they have elevated bilateral ties to that of a "strategic partnership". Under the partnership, Malaysia and Japan will enhance cooperation in five key areas, with the Look East Policy 2.0 playing a prominent role.

  • The Rise of #TeamInternet: YouTubers In Singapore And Abroad Succeed On Mainstream Platfor …
    The Rise of #TeamInternet: YouTubers In Singapore And Abroad Succeed On Mainstream Platfor …

    There has never been a better time to be a YouTuber. When YouTube pressed play on its operations back in 2005, no one could foresee that the video-sharing site would one day become the rice bowl to a generation of tech-savvy youth. Meet #TeamInternet: vloggers by day, and the opinion leaders of tomorrow. Like the global platform it is, the rags-to-riches YouTube story has played out in Singapore as well.

  • Pentatonix’s Kirstin Maldonado on Holiday Albums, Facing Bullies, and Beyoncé’s Leotard
    Pentatonix’s Kirstin Maldonado on Holiday Albums, Facing Bullies, and Beyoncé’s Leotard

    With just one week left before Pentatonix takes the stage in Singapore again, our friends at Sony Music Singapore kindly hooked us up for an email interview with Kirstin Maldonado of PTX! Earlier this month, we asked you guys to tweet us any questions you might have for the a cappella sensations – and are Kirstin’s responses to…– From @JOVIEEE: Given the massive success of “That’s Christmas To Me”, is releasing another holiday album on the cards for Pentatonix?We love holiday albums! I don’t believe we’ll release an entirely new album this ...

Featured Blog Posts