Have you ever felt your hands were tied behind your back because you didn’t know how to deal with a defiant teenager? No, I mean literally have your hands tied behind your back; the tightness of the rope, the lack of power and control. Now, let’s add a gag. You can’t get your words out. Just dribbling is what forms every time you try to speak. You begin to get frustrated, angry and definitely out of control.

I use this analogy to compare dealing with teenagers.

These ungrateful sloths that we call our children move through the house as if they own it. Teens defiantly drop their clothes on the floor at the end of the day, leave dirty dishes in their bedroom that eventually create a crust that only a jackhammer can handle. We feel as if we have become powerless through these years and wonder, “Who the hell are these lazy, demanding and disrespectful human beings living in our home?” Yes it’s your defiant teenage daughter or son. Scary stuff!

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How to Deal With a Defiant Teenager

One day you think you are in control of your household and your family. You have clear boundaries in mind for how to handle defiant teenagers; there are rules for when they are out with friends or returning late. They must call or text so you are aware of their whereabouts. Then one day out of nowhere, there is no call. The ropes are out. They return with a strong smell of alcohol on their breath and their speech is slurred; the ropes begin to wrap tightly around your wrists, and they refuse to listen or take your advice. The gag is now firmly in place.

It may sound like a bit of a crazy analogy but it is how I felt raising an adolescent child.

I am here to help you loosen the rope and learn how to deal with a defiant teenager properly.  Kids are a ball of confusion with their body changes, peer pressure all around them and uncertainty about who they are, and they will definitely take out their frustrations on YOU.

Most of the time, a teen’s actions are fuelled by the need to vent, striving for independence but uncertain how to get there or just confused about moving into adulthood. The one thing I can tell you is that it doesn’t last forever. These years require a great deal of patience and sometimes your teenager may not like you very much as you regain control, but this is a necessary step since they are desperately seeking the reassurance and guidance only you can provide—even if they don’t know it.

Tips on How to Deal with a Defiant Teenager:

  1. Don’t take it Personal – The things that can come out of their mouths during those defiant teenage years can shock you. Teenagers can be hurtful, as they communicate in a way that sometimes just doesn’t make sense to us. Everything will be your fault from the wrong brand of toothpaste to the clothes fitting too tight. They will throw everything your way and toss you under the bus without a second thought. You certainly have to address these moments but in a calm way. Most importantly, don’t take it personal. Their minds are still developing and this is just chatter.


  1. Hold Your Ground – Hold your ground for the serious stuff. If you have concerns about drinking or drugs, you want to be fully proactive to prevent or stop this behavior. Privacy is a privilege and if a teenager defiantly disobeys the rules, they should lose that privacy. Hopefully you have always had boundaries and consequences in place. If you have, it will be easier for them to understand when they lose that right to privacy and you have to check their room for drugs or alcohol or even be suspicions of people that may be dangerous to them in their lives.


  1. Negotiation – You have to give a little on the small things, especially if they have earned your trust. If they are following the rules and you feel confident in your teenager’s behavior outside the house, give them an extra hour out with friends or being able to go to a late night movie.


  1. Having Friends Over – There is no better way to keep an eye on your teenagers than when they are under your roof. Some parents hate the noise and mess but it’s a small price to pay to know where your kids are and that they are safe. This also gives you an opportunity to get to know the other kids they are hanging with. The bit of noise and chaos is totally worth the long term goal of helping your kids deal with the defiant teenage years in one piece and coming out with great values. This lets them know you were a great parent who supports them.


  1. Active Listening & Communication – Teenagers will say a lot without actually speaking. Keep an eye of their mood, body language, if they seem secretive or detached, depressed or not themselves. This is active listening and communicating on their part. If you have serious concerns for their mental health handle it quickly. Get advice and help immediately. Ask lots of questions, be supportive and help guide them lovingly but with boundaries.

Be proactive in your teenager’s life to ensure they have all the tools they need to be productive and happy. Be patient, be engaging and love them through this challenging stage in their lives.

Do you have any stories about dealing with a defiant teenager or adolescence that you would like to share? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below.