Defying rules is almost a rite of passage for most teens. While you might believe your teenage daughter or son is deliberately going out of their way to hurt you, their actions will stem from a lack of impulse control during teen years.
While leaving dirty dishes in their bedroom or missing a curfew is typical teenage behavior, you might worry their insubordination might lead to riskier actions, such as drinking alcohol or dangerous driving.
If you want to learn how to protect your child or take control of their existing actions, check out the following advice on how to stop impulsive teenage behavior.
Establish Clear Boundaries
Establish clear boundaries as early as possible and articulate the actions and attitudes that are off-limits. Emphasize there will be serious consequences for each rule break and follow through on your word if they break those strict rules to secure their respect. State the freedoms they are allowed in their life, too, as it will increase your teen’s feeling of independence and make them less likely to cross any boundaries.
Help Your Teens Manage Their Emotions
Stress can increase a teen’s likelihood of giving in to their impulses. According to a 2016 study of a virtual driving test, emotionally charged teenagers performed significantly worse than those in a neutral state. They were more likely to break a stop sign or experience an accident due to their intense emotions.
Emotional stress can activate a teen’s limbic system while suppressing its developing pre-frontal cortex, which can encourage them to make poor decisions and give in to their impulses.
It is for this reason why parents should try to help their teenagers manage their overwhelming emotions. If your teen struggles with depression, anxiety, or another mental health disorder, support is available to help them cope with their emotions, improve their mental health, and ensure they don’t go down the wrong path. For example, a teen rehab center can help your son or daughter overcome various issues, such as depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and addiction.
Provide More Independence
Providing teenagers with more independence could improve their emotional maturity. As a result, they will be more likely to follow your strict rules and question their various impulses. Improve your teen’s feeling of independence by:
- Allowing them to prep meals
- Encouraging them to clean their bedroom
- Permitting them to make decisions
- Providing more privacy
Your increased trust and lenience could help your teen develop more respect for the rules and your parenting style.
Provide More Rewards Than Consequences
Many consequences and little rewards might encourage your teen to act out. Try to provide many rewards for good behavior, which will make a teen experience more success and feel valued by others. Grant them an extra hour of TV for earning good grades instead of taking an hour away due to breaking a rule. It will prove there is value to sticking to the rules and encourages them to keep their behavior in check.