If you’re serious about changing your child, work on changing yourself! Trying to change others usually doesn’t work anyway. Adolescents perceive such efforts as saying, ‘You’re not acceptable to me.’ That’s a perfect way to turn them into freedom-fighters whose cause becomes resisting your efforts to change them.
The best way to change someone is to change how you handle them. When you change your steps, the entire dance routine changes because you’ve changed what they’re responding to. If what you’re doing isn’t working, stop it and do something that will! You don’t have to come up with the perfect solution at first. Just stopping the tired, frustrating dance of conflict will improve your environment, decrease stress and opposition, and help make way for a more effective strategy. Nagging only makes your kids ask, ‘Why are you always on my back?’, diverting them from the real issues. Decreasing tension, while affirming your child’s value to you, increases your likelihood of success. The adolescent mind is wired differently. They’re not crazy, they’re just dealing with rapidly changing chemistry. There was a time when we thought that by five years of age the brain was finished changing. Were we ever wrong! We know now its most sophisticated development happens throughout adolescence.
In the emerging teen, brain neurons fire off spontaneously, without warning or conscious reasons, leaving your child overwhelmed by feelings they don’t understand and haven’t yet learned to control. So they behave irrationally, inconsistently, unpredictably, irritatingly. Your job is to try to understand this and become a calming influence. The ‘craziness’ will pass. In the meantime, pray: ‘…wisdom is better than strength…’ (Ecclesiastes 9:16 NKJV).