Surviving Teens With Attitude

OK, so in having been given the following response:

“I’m just getting my %$@&^%$ bag out of the car” (I made up the swearing but the inference was there)

You would think that I had just asked the following:

“What the %&$£ do you think you’re doing?”

Whereas, in fact, I had only asked:

“Darling, what are you doing?”

Or another example of a response:

“OKAAAAAAAAYYYYYY I heeeeeeaaaaard you the first %$@&!%£* time!!!” (again, inferred swearing)

By which you wouldn’t be wrong in assuming that I had just shouted at the top of my voice:

FFS get your backside down here NOW!”

Whereas, in fact, all I had really rather innocently said was:

“Darling, dinner is ready”

OK, there may be a slight exaggeration in these examples but you get the general gist. So, what causes this teen attitude? Is it the parenting? Are we so naive to think that, having once been teens, we can make the perfect parents and our teens will never display such teeneristic (whoa, hang on, let’s just take a moment to appreciate that absolutely fine made up word of mine) behaviour?

Well, let’s just say that, although my teens can be totally fabulous and gorgeous, there have been moments which have led me to actually googling ‘how to deal with teen attitude’ … yes, you did read correctly. I’m sorry to say to all of you who have not yet reached this stage, it really can get that bad … sometimes!

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So, what do the experts via Google have to say? Well the team at http://www.kidshealth.org say you need to educate yourself and read up on teen behaviour – well if that wasn’t a less than sly approach by me for you all to subscribe to my blog so I can impart all knowledge on teens for future reference I don’t know what was … but, seriously, knowledge is power. And, oh my, is there a lot of knowledge on Google but, not content just with Google, I ordered two books … I actually did … I want to get this parenting teens malarkey down to a fine art … I seriously want to help those who may go through it one day … who am I kidding? … I also want (need) to help myself too!

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See, I’m taking it very seriously … and, wow, what reading material. I’m a little overwhelmed but the one thing that France E. Jensen, a neuroscientist from the States, highlights is always count to 10 before reacting so that you can be prepared in your response. She writes that teenagers’ ‘recalcitrant behaviour’ can not be controlled by them and all the ‘recklessness, rudeness and cluelessness [is] not their fault’ … hmmm I’m not totally sure that I’m going to let on this to my teens but it makes for interesting reading.

Jensen also goes on to say that all of this behaviour can be explained ‘neurologically, psychologically and physiologically.’ And the main factor is the activation of the sex hormones that occurs in puberty. Teens are ‘seeing’ these for the first time and the teenage brain ‘hasn’t yet figured out how to modulate the body’s response.’ They also lack a response by a hormone which helps reduce anxiety which adults have, highlighting that there is ‘real biology’ behind this behaviour.

However, to be sympathetic to these outbursts and encourage a prepared response as a parent, it’s nice to remind ourselves of how gorgeous they can be!

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I think Jenson’s point of counting to 10 and also her urging of empathy is to be commended. There’s a lot more in the book I’ve yet to read, in trying to understand these outbursts, but I think, as parents, if we can, at the very least, accept that the teenage brain has not yet fully developed it will help us to better parent them. No one needs a flare up response every time a teen is rude. So deep breaths parents, I’ll be back with more advice soon … that was only the first chapter … so whilst I don’t adore such outbursts from my children, I guess it’s not their fault … or mine … counting to 10 … just saying!

Note: yes I do have a son too but as a pre-teen he hasn’t yet reached the aforementioned attitude!

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57 thoughts on “Surviving Teens With Attitude

  1. Although Piglet is obviously not yet at this stage, I have seen plenty of teenage attitude from my students. In a way that makes it less scary because I know what to expect, but at the same time, I dread the day that Piglet tells me he hates me, even if I know he doesn’t mean it. Look forward to reading more of your teen tips! #tribe

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  2. I remember my mother saying that she dealt with us as teenagers in much the same way she dealt with us as toddlers. I mean not completely obviously but I think in her mindset! The counting to ten, empathy and understanding the developing brain stuff sounds useful to learn about at both stages. Got to say though I am in some ways dreading the attitude, the possible grunted conversations and the complex maze of teen emotions! #bigpinklink

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  3. omg the outbursts are just unreal! Honestly, it blows my mind lol – I called her this morning (to get a move on or we’d be late) and the “IM COMING! GOD!” that came bellowing down the stairs, really made my blood boil! If i don’t take a deep breath I could explode back at her… I know she is just going through puberty etc and it really isn’t her fault. But, whilst I have to be conscious of what she’s going through Im pretty sure she could take a deep breath before she reacts too.. Ive mentioned it to her, but Im pretty sure she’s not listening lol 😉 #bigpinklink

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    1. Oh this made me giggle – they really are aren’t they! Hmm the deep breaths from them too would be a very welcome approach for sure! Thank you for your comment – here’s hoping we get through these years with some sanity left!

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  4. Great post Helen. I sometimes think that I expect teens to act like adults because they look like them. Let’s face it – teen girls, in particular, can look like they are 20 years old from about the age of 14. I have to remind myself that I am still the adult in this relationship just the same as when they were 7 years old. That makes me take a deep breath and cut them some slack. Of course, on other days, I start acting like a teenager myself and strop and sulk as much as they do! xx #MarvMondays

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    1. Oh ha ha – i know that feeling – sometimes I feel like I act more like the adolescent than when I was an adolescent – I’m trying though really hard to be more empathic – lots and lots of counting to 10 some days and even a 100 sometimes!! Thank you so much for your comment xx

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  5. Omg this was hilariously written about a real and somewhat frantically serious subject!!! I remember reading that in order for the teenage brain to develop there has to be a period where selfishness reigns as they simply cannot comprehend other people’s (read mum’s) feelings as so much is going into developing themselves but hey it is soooo difficult to handle. Think the count to ten may be being used by many now- thanks so much for this wonderful post and those beautiful gorgeous pics! 🙂 Lou at http://www.peppermintcove.com

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    1. Oo I like that – OK so maybe chapter 2 will address that – I am so enjoying reading up on it though as its just ridiculously relatable at the moment so I’m like a sponge! Thank you for your lovely comment! xx

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  6. This is really interesting! It’s funny how I used to ask the children to count to 10 whenever they feel upset and so it’s interesting to see how this can be flipped unto parents. But it does make perfect sense. Yes, there have been lots of teenagerish drama at my place as well and I have been praying for extra patience and like you say, empathy as well to get through it. I know it’s not “easy” growing up but then again, it’s not easy being a mom of teens as well. You know what, I think the counting to 10 should be applied to both sides before responding. It is true that when you speak calmly and with logic (after waiting the 10 seconds), it definitely makes more an impact on teenagers. Thanks for linking with #bigpinklink

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    1. Ah that is interesting! Mine could do with counting a lot longer sometimes – as could I – but I did like the advice – I’m enjoying reading and learning a little more about why they behave the way they do sometimes It isn’t easy being a teen – I really struggled so I want to try and make their journey a little less painful. However, my daughter has admitted that sometimes she finds my calm tone stressful – think she would rather I flipped and left it instead of talking on and on about an issue – bless her! Thank you for your comment lovely xx

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  7. Your girls are so gorgeous! Counting to 10 is great advice, and although I don’t have a teenager yet (thankfully by the sounds of it!) I definitely feel like I need to use that tactic on my toddler sometimes. I’ll look forward to reading about how you get on xx #bigpinklink

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    1. Oh thank you! Do you know what – they really are gorgeous most of the time but boy when that attitude appears does it rock you?! Counting to 10 and empathy are my buzz phrases this week – I’m hoping they work – I have to admit I do feel a little calmer with them when they are on one so fingers crossed it is working! Thank you so so much for your lovely comment xx

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  8. Oh I love how how the book says to count to ten, just what I do with my two! I am dreading the teenage years because I was such a nightmare teenager. Eeeeeks. My mum was brilliant though. Also I might have been a nightmare at home but I was still very sensible out of the house 😉

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    1. I think that the approach to parenting toddlers has much credibility for parenting teens too. Don’t dread the teenage years – there really is so much positive, I promise. Thank you so much for your comment lovely xx

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  9. Ah the attitude is beginning to appear here….the head in Instagram for hours on end and litle grumbles. Eeeek! This made me smile very much and cringe ever so slightly for my poor mother, as I was very much the same as a teenager. I like to think I’ve made up for it now 🙂 xx #triballove

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    1. Oh it’s tough to handle but i think as long as we are prepared and informed as parents in our responses then we are half way there to a slightly calmer home environment. Thank you for your comment lovely xx

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  10. If Mini is anything like me as a teenager, I will have hell to pay! (Although, I still claim it was my mother that was the terror 😉 ) Not looking forward to that part of it anyway! Lucy xx #TribalLove

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  11. Helen this advice is wonderful. I think empathy is really important – I remember all too clearly how crazy my hormones felt as a teenager and how sometimes you said or did things which even moments later you regretted! It’s also true that two wrongs don’t make a right – two people being rude to each other doesn’t solve a problem does it?! I look forward to the rest of your tips. Love your attitude too – read, read, read is basically my parenting strategy haha. Ellen xx

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  12. I’m going to love reading about your teen dramas! Thankfully I have many years before I have to endure the petulant teen stage so I’m hoping subconsciously that I’ll soak up your advice for the future. When he does the ‘inferred swear’ I’ll breathe and count to 10- hopefully! #bloggerclubuk

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  13. I have been through this with my son who is now 18 and I am yet to go through it with my daughter who is 10. I have to say, she is only 10 (almost 11), but that attitude is starting to rear it’s head. I think I am going to be counting to 10 a lot lol.
    #BloggerClubUK

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  14. I’m glad I’ve got a LONG time before this stage. I know I was moody as a teenager and it drove my mother nuts. My brother was even worse – I remember him communicating exclusively in one-word answers and grunts for ages. #BloggerClubUK

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  15. Of course, I can totally relate to all this and I admire you reading up on it with not just one but TWO books! Thank you for extracting the info out of the first chapter. I was interested in the bit: ‘They also lack a response by a hormone which helps reduce anxiety which adults have…’ I really see this in daughter 2 and it helped me to understand a conversation we had yesterday (as well as many previous conversations). I await a precis of the rest of the books with interest! Alison x #BloggerClubUK Btw I love the ‘clean’ look of your blog – it really hits the right tone for me x

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    1. Ha ha – I am sure more books will be purchased too! I’m thoroughly enjoying immersing myself in it! I thought the hormone biological fact was very interesting too. Thank you for your lovely comment and for your lovely comment about my blog too – thank you! xx

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  16. My son is 16 and this is the toughest age stage yet. simple questions like “was the film good?” can trigger the teenage response. Always good to know I am not alone!

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  17. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, WOW your girls are beautiful!! In ten years time I’m going to have two teenage girls of my own and I can only imagine the drama involved! Lewis is 12 and already we have this kind of attitude from time to time, mainly when he is asked to do something he doesn’t want to do (tidy his room, do his homework, spend time with us!!) and he stomps up the stairs mumbling under his breath. We all did it, I think we have to hope there is light at the end of the tunnel!! xxx

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    1. Oh you are so beautifully kind with your comment as always! I hope my lovely that from reading all my advice that yours will be absolute dreams because you will be getting it totally right as their mummy! It’s hard being a teen – I remember what I was like – am sure Lewis will be gorgeous too in the end. Thank you for your comment lovely xx

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  18. Helen I absolutely adore your blog and the witty engaging wisdom you impart through it. We have one teen in our house, half the time and although like yours she is most fabulous and gorgeous sometimes deep breaths are indeed needed. At least I have a good 11 years to gear up for my two approaching such teeneristic behaviour, although I am sure my nearly two year old is secretly a teenager… p.s you have utterly gorgeous teenagers xx #marvmondays #bigpinklink

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    1. Aww thank you so much for such a lovely and kind comment. Deep breaths are imperative as a mummy to a teen for sure! ha ha re your little one – hopefully all teeneristic behaviour will all be done by the time she is 13! Thank you for commenting lovely xx

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  19. Keep writing Helen, keep writing! You have 12 years to get your book published in time for me! Love the teeneristic word, I think you should submit it to the dictionary people, you get commision on words right? I remember my Brother being awful to my Mum when I was also a teen, I am pretty sure I was an angel! #bloggerclubUK

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  20. Your daughters are so beautiful I can not believe that one iota of attitude could emanate from their bodies. What an amazing mummy you are, just love how you are doing your research to help all us mummies following in your channels. Love you Helen! ❤️

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  21. Your posts make me fear the teenage years. This book sounds really great – I like the idea of counting to ten & composing yourself before reacting. It can be too easy to react out of emotions. And on the flip side it’s not easy being a teenager! Thanks so much for joining us at #BloggerClubUK

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    1. Becky you’re so right and these books are really helping me as a parent consider that too – so hard with all those hormone flying around – I remember it well and just want to make the path for my children as smooth as possible. Please don’t dread it because there really is plenty of gorgeousness ahead too xx

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  22. Oh blimey. I have two daughters and I KNOW we’re going to have battles on our hands. For one, we all seem to be very similar, especially my eldest and I, many of the same traits mean that we can be a bit love/hate! You seem to be doing a pretty good job of it though and your daughters are absolutely beautiful girls. #BloggerclubUK

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  23. You girls are so pretty! It’s hard to imagine the attitude! But I’ve heard a lot about it as many of my friends have children running up to the teenage years and it’s already started! Thanks so much for joining us at #BloggerClubUK hope to see you again this week xx

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