Parenting teenagers is tough enough, but when they start to have an attitude, as most teens do, it makes life even harder. After parenting 5 teens, I’ve got a few tips for parenting teens with attitude up my sleeve.

5 teens smiling at the camera

I love this question that came in…. in fact, I get questions like this all the time:

Lately, I am struggling with my teenager and am curious about your strategies to deal with the “snotty” teen girl attitude?   She is a doll to everyone outside of the home and a great kid.  However, to her siblings and me she is often snotty and rude. Ive tried taking phones and computers away, yelling (not proud, but it burns my hide), and I have spoken to her about church (we are Catholic) and the camps she attends and how this is not a behavior that is positive. I have tried everything. This week I am making her write love letters (a church thing) to her siblings and me to try and make her attitude more positive. There have been so many conversations making sure everything is okay in her life.

Her attitude truly sets the tone in the family and lately it has been nasty.  I am truly at a loss and need some help.  Any suggestions???  

This is a great question! I asked Dave what his suggestion would be on this and he said, “call her normal.”  Ha!  

I wish I had the perfect answer for this.  All teenagers are different and all of us who parent them have wrung our hands in frustration just like this at one time or another. I can so relate, and I’m sure we aren’t the only ones!

Here are just a few tips for parenting teens with attitude that have helped in our home.

Look at the bigger picture

As the adult, it’s our job to keep perspective. I think it’s hard as moms to truly understand what hormones and crazy things are going around in these girls’ heads. Social media makes them feel like they don’t measure up to others portrayed as “perfect” out there. There is pressure at school to do well. Even more pressure from friends to be and act certain ways. And to top it all off they haven’t had enough life experience to really know how to handle it all in a positive way.  So they take it out on their families where they feel the safest.

It may be rough, but if you have teens with attitude, keeping the bigger picture in mind will help you be the adult in the situation. Then you can guide your teens to express themselves in a better way.

Ignore the Negative Stuff teens with attitude do

The biggest thing that I have found to work with my kids is kind of ignoring the negative stuff as much as I can. I think teenagers are the same as toddlers and any kids for that matter. They’ll do anything for attention, even if it’s negative attention they’re getting. Negative attention includes us being mad at them. And while it’s not ideal, to kids, it’s better than no attention.

That is not to say that sometimes kids don’t need a swift kick in the rear when they’re doing something less than positive. Not literally, but you know what I mean, because sometimes teens do need correction. This leads me to the next tip.

Praise the Positive

If you’re ignoring the negative things your teens do, the next step is to give positive affirmation when they do something great.  If I try to really notice and praise the things they’re doing that I love it tends to drown out the snotty stuff… sometimes.

Someone told me once that teenagers are all about themselves. I’ve found that a lot of the time that is true.  It’s natural because they are just trying to figure out who they are which takes a lot of time and attention on their part.

But what they don’t realize is that they are happiest when they forget themselves and worry about others instead. This is so tough to get it through to them. It sounds like your daughter already has this outside the home which is awesome. Maybe you can praise that and tell her how much you admire it. Let her in on some things you’re worried about about the other kids and ask for her help.  She may roll her eyes at you — which my daughters do from time to time! But if you’re patient with it and do your best not to let your emotions get involved it may make a difference.

Find Ways to Show Unconditional Love

When teens have attitude, it can get under our skin and even hurt us. This isn’t fair, and they need to know that. But they also need so badly to feel that unconditional love. The kind that tells them that we love who they are no matter what, but not what they are doing, and they need to fix it.

It’s really important for kids to know how we feel.  Whether it’s how much we love them or how much something they’re doing hurts our feelings. I’ve found at least in my own little neck of the woods, that notes are great for this. 

I’ve been meaning to write to one of my kids for a long time and need to get on that. I wrote one to Elle a while back when I realized I was putting too much pressure on her. Just a simple note telling her how much I love her.  She posted it on her mirror for a long time. Maybe that was a sign that it meant a lot to her.  Or maybe she was just trying to make me feel good  For whatever reason, she saw that note every day for a good while and I hope it reminded her how much I love her.

Every “problem” we have in parenting can be solved with Christ-like love, but that kind of love doesn’t mean we just roll over and let kids walk over us.  We have to have rules in place. And we have to figure out consequences if those rules are broken.  It’s helped in our family to let the kids help decide what those “consequences” are.  If you talk it through with her and tell her your plan and let her come up with consequences, maybe that will help.

Hugs are Powerful

Also, never underestimate the power of a good hug. It’s literally a proven scientific fact that hugs can improve mental health. Sometimes, even when they don’t deserve it and we least want to give it, kids need physical touch from someone who loves them most. Especially, teens with attitude.

Use Prayer to Help you parent teens with attitude

Oh, and I almost forgot to say my most important thing I’ve learned in parenting teens with attitude… the most powerful tool is prayer.  I know there’s a God in Heaven who cares about these kids.  He wants them to succeed.  In fact, he wants US to succeed.  So He will guide us to know what to do if we ask.  It may not be right when we pray — it may be a prompting in a line at the grocery store or watching a soccer game or changing the laundry.  If we let our mind be quiet for a minute and think specifically about that child and we have prayed our guts out for guidance it will come.

I know so many have so much better advice than I do…and that’s when comments come in handy to share.  If you have any great words of wisdom for all of us mothers send them my way and I will try to share them here if I get a chance.

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