How do you control your teen?


You can't control your teen. You may have the illusion that you controlled your children, but really, the only person that you can control is yourself, and even that is a difficult, full-time job. Raising children is a real balancing act; on the one hand, if you don't set any rules or tell your teen what your expectations are, your laid-back attitude can be taken as apathy and lack of love; but if you're too strict, your teenagers may feel stifled and feel driven to rebel. When your children were young, although you may not have controlled them, you had a lot of say in how they spent their time and where they were at any given time. If they really got on your nerves, you could pick them up and put them in their room, but that just won't work with a six-foot (1.8 meter) teenager.

What you can do is model the kind of behavior you would like your teenager to display, such as speaking respectfully and being considerate of the feelings of other family members. You can discuss choices that your teenager will be faced with in school or with peers (cheating, bullying, drug use, smoking, shoplifting, drunk driving, or underage sex); state your values; share any relevant stories you think will be helpful; and listen, listen, listen to your teenager's point of view. Don't put yourself in an adversarial position regarding your teenager; let her feel that you're on her side and that you plan to gradually give her more independence, according to how responsibly she behaves.

You can ask your teenager, "What would motivate you to be home on time/improve your English grades/drop your plan to do stunts with your motorcycle," and you can negotiate a mutually agreeable compromise. Threats, overreacting, demands and ultimatums may or may not work, but they set the stage for the next confrontation and erode any relationship you once had.