How to Regain Influence in a Teen’s Life
Adolescence is a time of great turmoil for teens and parents. Children want the power to make their own decisions about friends, use of time, technology, etc. It is a time when some parents lose influence in their teenager’s life. It can be difficult to regain influence once is it lost.
Even teens who are not particularly rebellious as young children, begin to assert themselves through withholding information, becoming more secretive, and avoiding family experiences. Parents have their hands full even without a child who has a marijuana or alcohol problem. Add this additional stressor in the family during these years and you may feel overwhelmed. As parents, we aren’t perfect either. Sometimes the issues a parent is going through impact the rest of the family.
Are You Accepting Once Unacceptable Behaviors?
When teens start using alcohol or marijuana there are observable changes. They develop relationships with detrimental peers, their grades decline, they ignore family rules, and/or they begin other increasingly rebellious behaviors. A parent may try to discipline their teen but discovers great resistance. Feelings of powerlessness, failure, and disappointment may follow these attempts.
Teens who have a serious relationship with alcohol and or drugs can become so rebellious that their behavior negatively impacts the entire family dynamic. They may also face consequences outside of the home. This is when regaining influence in your teenager’s life becomes imperative.
Parents invalidate their own authority when they begin to accept previously unacceptable behaviors from their teen. Examples of this include:
- Flagrant rule violations
- Open use of alcohol and marijuana
- Truancy or absences from school
- Theft by their children
How to Regain Influence
When you follow these 7 steps, your family can return to healthy function. With time and energy, these steps help you work to regain influence in your home. Ultimately, you will again be able to provide a healthy family and safe home environment.
- Act in a consistent positive manner.
- Have clear expectations of both your adolescent and yourself.
- Be willing to follow these expectations even if it means seeking assistance through counseling, church, or legal authorities.
- Change how you interact with your child. Set aside anger and focus on the love that you have. Getting angry doesn’t work!
- Limit your negotiations. As the parent, you have the right to set rules.
- Develop agreements that include give and take. Be willing to change at the same time you ask your teen to make changes.
- Get on the same page as your partner or ex-partner. Teens are experts in the art of divide and conquer!
Expect resistance. All change is met with resistance, but it will end when the child accepts that you are serious and consistent. Every change takes time. Expect this process to take as long as 6 months of hard, but worthwhile work. If you need additional assistance, ASAP is available at 513.792.1272.
ASAP is Cincinnati’s premiere outpatient treatment center for teenagers and their families struggling with substance use.
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