…but you can change how you parent!

Stand firm against defiance – Keep to your limit and be strong. Don’t let fear, fatigue or guilt stop you. When you stand firm you are providing on the outside what your teen cannot provide on the inside

Stay connected – Take initiatives to keep talking with your teen. This doesn’t mean you should subject yourself to abuse or injury

Give as much freedom as your teen earns – Resist the temptation to remove all privileges and freedoms until he admits you are the boss. Instead let your teen have whatever he earns, e.g. ground him or take away his media but not both

Expect escalation – If you have set limits, expect things to initially  get worse rather than better. 

Encourage adaption and mourning – Mad transforms into sad, which then creates a functioning adult

The bottom line?
– You can’t change your teen’s temperament — or even your own. If your teen is hyperactive, she’ll likely remain so for the rest of her life;
– if you’ve always been strong-willed, you’re not suddenly going to become the paragon of chill parenting.
– Environment — is slightly more changeable, but it often requires money or resources that families simply can’t access.
What is under your control, however — and highly malleable — are your parenting practices. If you change your parenting practices so that you’re engaging with your teen in a more positive, affirming way, you will get back a more positive response — including, in the long run, a less disrespectful teenager, and less defiant behavior.


  1. One-on-one time: Taking 15 to 20 minutes, 4 to 5 times a week, to get some face time with your teen (ideally doing something he enjoys) will help you break the “logjam of negativity” that stems from years of defiant behavior.
  2. Communicate better: Parents must learn how to give commands appropriately, when (and how) to deliver praise, and how to differentiate the behaviors that deserve a response from those that don’t.
  3. Use incentives to modify behavior: Like all humans, teens respond to tangible rewards. Figure out what rewards inspire your teen’s best behavior, and set up a system for encouraging good behavior.
  4. Solve problems together: What your teen wants, more than anything, is to be treated like an adult. Show him you respect him by asking for his input on problems, brainstorming solutions together, and implementing his ideas whenever possible. You’ll be surprised at what you and your teen can come up with when you work together.