August 2, 2002
August 2, 2002

(This is part 2 of a 2 part series.)

This is a review of the original premise in case you missed the first part of this series:

Teenager's game strategies must be understood in order to stop manipulation of the parents and to prevent the frustration that parents experience when dealing with their youth. I have observed these patterns of behavior in teens. Moreover bright younger children can and may also be using these strategies:

(1-9 were in the last edition of the paper).

9. Try to push the parents out of control: by insisting on their own way, refusing to stop harassing procedures. They continue to argue after being told that you are getting angry and you have stated the consequences if they proceed further. You have played into their hand of cards. You have already alerted them that you are out of control by admitting your anger. Now they sit back and enjoy the fireworks, feeling very smug that they have command and you do not. Maintain your temper. Send them to their room for quiet time, in order for both sides, to regain their composure.

10. Teenagers decide that the rules don't apply to them: Make certain that these youths always are faced with and feel the total consequences as a direct result of the misdemeanor. For, example: If they miss the bus because they overslept. Walk (not drive) with them to school and bring them to the Principal so that they have to explain why they were late.

11. Work at fooling the parent, teachers, society: This gives the Teen the sense that s/he is in control of the world. Telling untruths must be dealt with facts and fairness. Upping that ante of small transgressions makes them raise theirs. Such as: Not cleaning their room is not a major offense and should not be treated as such. Should you react to this as if this is a terrible offense, they will show you how much further they can take the rebellion. Stealing, drinking, staying out late will eventually be found out by the parent, but it may be too late to save the resulting spiral of events. Important issues need discipline and understanding. Communicate with them, but maintain the consequences which are in direct relationship to the act. Don’t let them con you out of the results they have brought upon themselves.

12. Competition: Kids try to prove they are better, smarter, stronger, brighter than you. Given the right direction this can be a positive challenge.

13. I don't understand, explain it to me: This stratagem again is only to try your patience. Once the adult becomes aware that this is another game it can be abruptly ended.
ADULT: Your tone of voice was nasty.
TEEN: What I said was not nasty.
The adult must take this as a cue that the teen is already facing up for a confrontation. End the discussion with appropriate, but calm and sensible discipline. Never apply discipline that is so exaggerated that you will go back on it. The teen will be in the drivers wheel again if you follow that procedure because they will be laughing behind your back, knowing you will not follow through. If you are the type of parent who will follow through with excessive discipline the teen becomes resentful and that will cause a backlash of excessive rebellion.

The teen needs to mature. It is a tight rope balancing act between the youth needing your support, and not wanting your opinions. After a while they grow up and become your best friends. So while you are in the ‘going crazy stage’ all you can say is what all mothers say when they find themselves losing it, ”Just wait until you grow up. You'll get one just like you.”

They know it and they do.