What parent doesn’t have conflict with their teenagers? That’s part of parenting a teenager right? My experience has taught me to look for the tactics that teenagers use to wear adults down. When they wear adults down, they feel like they are “winning.” When you get onto their playing field and play their game, you are bound to come out feeling frustrated and worn out. You will do yourself a big favor by not going to their stadium and playing on their home field. Here are 5 signs that they have successfully pulled you onto their home field and you are playing by their rules.
1. You feel confused – Teenagers love to confuse their parents, it takes the focus off of them and off of their behaviors. They can be masters of rapid firing through various subjects and topics. Keep in mind that this is an intentional tactic. I had one parent tell me that almost every time she talked to her son she felt “crazy.”
2. You feel frustrated – Emotion in general is not rational and you will not be able to keep things on the level if they can get you flustered. If they can successfully make you flustered on a consistent basis, it increases the chances that you will even try to approach them.
3. You feel guilty – This is an excellent way to escape accountability, by making someone else feel like it’s their fault. They love to shift the blame and the focus and if they know that they can make you feel guilty because you’re not a perfect parent, they will run with it.
4. You’re defending yourself – This is another way that they shift the blame and the focus. They will try to discredit you. This is a powerful tactic because they can slowly break down your rules by making you feel like your rules are stupid, unfair or to strict. If you find yourself in a position where you’re defending yourself, try to remember that they have you exactly where they want you.
5. You feel totally exhausted – Teenagers wear adults down, they are younger, they have more energy and they don’t have a problem with using a lot of nonsense just to wear you down. They often don’t even care if they are making sense as long as they make you tired and make you want to give up. This is just another tactic to avoid accountability and it can be very effective. If you find yourself exhausted, worn out and at the end of the rope, once again, they have you exactly where they want you.