Does your teen tend to come unglued when things don’t go their way?
According to Dr. Ross Greene, a pioneer in the treatment of kids with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges, highly reactive teens have not yet mastered the skills of flexibility, adaptability, frustration tolerance and conflict resolution. Explosive behavior occurs when the demands of the environment exceed their capacity to respond adaptively. It is essential that parents respond to their teen’s behavior with curiosity, openness, and an intention towards conflict resolution.
Too frequently, I see parents using rewards and punishment in an attempt to influence their teen’s behavior, often resulting in power struggles and resentment – on both parts. It is also not uncommon for parents to repeat the parenting responses they saw modeled by their own parents.
A parent’s job is to guide their child and help them learn from their mistakes, while managing their own anxiety and frustration frustration. It is important to create the space for your teen to feel truly heard by you. I teach parents how to involve their teen in a collaborative problem solving process — when challenges arise.
Video tutorials on working with explosive behavior in teens:
1. Kids Do Well if They Can – The most important premise of Collaborative Problem Solving is the belief that if kids could behave better they would.
2. What’s Your Explanation? — Your explanation for your teen’s explosive behavior has major implications for how you respond and whether you’ll try to help.
3. Three Options for Solving Problems — There are three ways in which adults try to solve problems with reactive kids: Plan A (which is unilateral problem solving), Plan C (dropping the problem completely), and Plan B.
4. Collaborative Conflict Resolution a.k.a. Plan B — Tips on identifying the unresolved problems that are precipitating challenging episodes, and how to implement Plan B.
Taking the Trouble out of the Teen Years
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