Your teenager talks back to you lately. You don’t understand it. You’ve always had a good relationship and gotten along… until now. When your teenager comes home, you ask how the day was, and your teenager tells you to ” back off. “
What is going on? Chances are good, that your teenager had a bad day. Your teenager is living in a world of swirling hormones, unmet desires, confusing feelings, and peers who are challenging your teenager. Often, your teenager is having trouble concentrating on school, which meets with the hostility, of frustrated teachers.
By the time your teenager hits the front door, s/he could have had an argument with a friend, been rejected by a girl or boy, gotten a D- on a test, and didn’t make it for the volleyball try outs. On top of the daily rejections and uncertainties, your teenager is at a time of life, when s/he feels awkward and ugly. Teenagers do not like to be looked at. They feel self-conscious. Many teenagers have the agony of pimples, greasy hair, and legs that are gangly. To make matters worse, many teenagers poke fun of each other, and tease unmercifully, in their attempts to shine the spotlight away from themselves.
When your teenager talks back to you, s/he is really talking back to all the daily teasing, reprimanding, and rejecting that has gone on. A parent needs to step back, and learn not to take the teenager’s moods personally. Of course, if a teenager is making the entire household miserable, by tantruming, or being intimidating in any way, the behavior must be stopped. However, if the rudeness is limited to talking back now and then, it is a sign that the teenager needs time and space, to work through the miseries of the day.
A wise parent backs off, and waits, until the teenager is ready to share what is going on. Teenagers will never reveal their feelings, when they are asked questions about themselves. Remember, they are self-conscious, and hate to be in the spotlight. Realize, that your teenager needs you, but also needs the time, to work through turbulent emotions. A teenager is at an emotional time of life. Many of the emotions are unpleasant and confusing. Most teenagers remain bottled up, until they come home.
The next time your teenager talks back to you, realize that the talking back, is aimed at teachers, friends, fears, feelings of ugliness, and emotional anguish. Try not to take abruptness personally. Your relationship with your teenager will return to the sweet, peaceful, loving space it used to be at.. For now, bite your tongue. Your teenager has been corrected, reprimanded, teased, and rejected all day. Your teenager is flying in heavy turbulance. Someday the seatbelt “off” sign will come on, and everyone will sigh with relief. Just think, your teenager will land feet first!