#4 Attempted Discipline: Once again, this is kindred to the point above but worth distinguishing. Threats or words without action and consequences to back it up is proof positive that you have abdicated the throne at your house…and your kid knows they can do whatever they want.
#3 Button-Pushing Extraordinaire: It is as if your child has graduated from the Ivy League with a degree in ButtonPushinology. “They got skills.” What are the buttons for you? Swearing? Rolling their eyes? Mumbling under their breath? Do statements like, “I hate you”, “I don’t have to listen to you”, (adoptive families) “You’re not my Mom (or Dad)” get under your skin? This tiny little angel who once upon a time ago depended on you to feed them and wipe their backside has thrown down the gauntlet. An inability to deliver on meaningful consequences has empowered their position in your home.
#2 Finding Loopholes: Out of control teens can make you “flinch” by finding loopholes in your attempts at “enforcing the law” or the rules at your house. They have an uncanny gift to run through as many scenarios as needed to find the one loophole unaccounted for in your “rules”. Not only do they have a PHD in ButtonPushinology but they have a law degree on top that. When did they have time to get a law degree? Anyway, one of the great advantages of being an adult and having been around the corner a few times is that you can know what the “usual” problems are and get ready for them. It’s possible to stay a step of ahead of your Teen…a least some of the time…with some effort. And, you can make those times significant.
#1 Cloudy Rules: One of the biggest reasons you could be having problems with your Teen is that your rules are unclear; consequences are verbal and open to interpretation. In fact, you might even be making stuff up as you go. To say that “no disrespect is allowed” but not specifically identify what your Teen does that you consider disrespectful is a cloudy rule. Get prepared for them to take you on with “literal disease”. That is, if you get on them for being disrespectful for swearing and they reply, “You never said swearing was disrespectful” then you are familiar with literal disease. Of course, your smart and can now add that specifically even in writing to a growing list of clarity.