Are you a mom dealing with aggressive behavior from your teen?
Is your son or daughter behaving unruly, mean, rude, obnoxious, or moody?
Are you constantly getting into arguments where they are talking back, insulting you, or throwing temper tantrums?
Is he or she trying to control, dominate, threaten, or intimidate you by instilling fear?
Have things gotten out of control where you are now dealing with parental abuse or domestic violence?
If you are going through any of these situations…
In this article you will learn:
- The eight different reasons why your teenager is being aggressive with you
- Solutions on what you can do to regain control of the situation
- Tips on how to handle the situation when it is happening
- That this is not “just a phase” that will magically pass someday in the future
- Why you must not lose your temper or argue with your child when they act out
- The difference between physical abuse and verbal aggression
As a mother, nothing can be so devastating then to wake up one day and have to deal with a rebellious teenager.
The stress and tension that it causes not only effects your life at home, but also at work and with your friends and family.
Even worse, the shame and guilt that it can cause you because you start to believe that maybe you are a bad parent can ruin your confidence.
When your child starts to talk back, give you attitude, or even worse, intimidate you physically, this can be quite overwhelming for any mother to have to deal with.
So why is your teenage son or daughter being so aggressive with you?
Simply put, they have lost respect for you and your relationship is broken.
I know this may seem hard to swallow, but it is the truth.
At a certain point in your history, something(s) happened that caused your relationship to turn upside down where they have crossed the line and no longer acknowledge you as an authority.
This is why so many parents turn to sending their troubled teens away to boot camps because they are at a loss and no longer have any control of their child.
Your Teen Is Learning Their Emotions
The first step in your journey towards regaining control of the situation is to understand that your child is at a very critical crossroad right now.
When your child begins to go through adolescence, he/she is learning how to handle their own emotions which is why they can seem so erratic and all over the place.
One minute they are calm and collected.
The next they are irrational and explosive.
I call this the “Jekyll & Hyde” syndrome where one moment you are dealing with one person and the very next moment you are dealing with a completely different person.
This can be quite confusing for a parent because they don’t know who they are dealing with.
In all of the counseling and coaching I have done with families, one of the most common statements I get from parents are this:
“My child was always good but for some reason is now misbehaving or out of control.”
The reason why your child has done a complete switch on you is because they don’t know how to handle their emotions.
So as you work towards bringing balance back into your household, just remember this.
When Did Your Teens Aggression Begin?
One of the most important steps in this process is to get to the root cause of what is going on with your child.
Somewhere along the line something happened and their behavior with you shifted.
Unless your child was born defiant and disrespectful, something happened that turned their “normal and average” erratic teen behavior into aggressive and out of control.
Yes, all teenagers go through a phase of some sorts where things can get a little bumpy.
But once their behaviors turn to aggression, a line has been crossed where they no longer respect your authority and this is not healthy.
Causes & Solutions Of Teenage Aggression
Below are the eight different reasons as to why your teenager may be behaving aggressive towards you.
Keep in mind that it could be a combination of more than one of the reasons listed below:
Cause 1 – There is no dad around
Whether you are divorced or your husband works a lot, if there is no father around to play the role of disciplinarian, then chances are that your child is lacking some structure and discipline.
Like dogs, teenagers seek out the pack leader (i.e. alpha).
And if they don’t see one, then they assert themselves as the pack leader.
For a proper family to function, it needs both father and mother as each parent provides a different type of energy in the household.
Generally speaking, moms are supposed to provide the love and nurturing support.
Dad is supposed to provide the structure and discipline.
With a strong male role model in the house, generally speaking, the children will stay in line.
So if you do not have that strong male role model in the house, chances are that your son or daughter now thinks they can assert their dominance in the house.
If this is the situation you are in, then you will either:
Need to step up and be a pack leader and learn to play a new role
If your are still married, then talk to your husband about stepping up and being more assertive
Cause 2 – Your child is angry at you
Raising teenagers is not easy.
With having to tend to your job, errands, putting food on the table, and so on, life can get hectic very quickly.
Most families have arguments and drama that they deal with.
The problem is that very few of these families have the time to resolve these issues.
When this happens, over time things fester and build up where your child begins to become very angry where they store animosity towards you.
Over time, their anger turns to resentment and now they are behaving very poorly towards you.
You are going to need to be honest and ask yourself this question:
“Do me and my child have unresolved issues that could be causing him/her resentment towards me?”
If the answer is yes, you need to resolve them quickly so that he/she can heal their anger towards you.
Cause 3 – They are angry at someone else
Has your teenager been bullied at school?
Are they being picked on by their brother/sister?
Has someone in their life caused them to be angry?
If your child has been hurt by someone recently, then they are carrying around this pain and now want you to feel their pain through their aggressive behavior.
Help them resolve their pain and suffering.
Get them some counseling or therapy so they can work through their emotions.
Cause 4 – They are dealing with a past trauma
Was your teen traumatized when they were a child?
Were they physically abused in anyway?
If you are a single mother, do you think they are struggling with the fact that dad is not around?
When children are traumatized, they tend to hold it in until a later time where the emotions they swept under the rug are now resurfacing.
Help them resolve their pain and suffering.
Get them some counseling or therapy so they can work through their emotions.
Cause 5 – Hanging around the wrong crowd
For most teenagers, their social status means everything to them.
Who they hang out with becomes their entire world.
As the saying goes, “We are a product of our environment” which means that if your child has started hanging around a negative crowd who misbehaves, then they could be mimicking their behavior.
Unfortunately, you cannot just tell your child that they can no longer hang out with those people.
If you do, they will revolt even more.
Remember, their friends are their entire world so if you try and take them away, they will go into shock and survival mode.
You are going to have to do some investigative work and figure out why they are choosing to hang around those people.
Chances are, your child is rebelling and angry which is why he/she chose those people as their friends.
Once you understand the reason as to why your child is rebelling, then you will need to help them deal with their anger.
Cause 6 – They want more space and freedom
Once your teen reaches the ages of eleven or twelve, they will want to start exerting their own independence.
During this transitional phase where they are no longer a child and don’t want to be hovered over, yet, they are not an adult where they can just do things on their own is quite tricky.
Navigating these waters is very difficult for you as a parent because you don’t fully trust your teen to manage their own life quite yet.
However, because you are still (in a sense) controlling them, they don’t like it one bit!
And because your child does not see a clear path towards earning their own freedom, they feel boxed in and can’t breathe.
Hence, they begin to revolt and act out.
It’s time that you change the relationship dynamic with them and start to set clear expectations.
Your child needs to see that they are on a clear path where you are going to allow them to start gaining more freedom through their consistent responsible behaviors.
You essentially need to hit the restart button in your relationship where you begin to be the “project manager” and they are the “employee” where their job is to follow through on assignments so that they can start having more control over their life.
Once they have a clear understanding of expectations (that you both agree to), then you will see their negative attitude subside.
Cause 7 – Drugs and alcohol
If you teenager is taking any form of drugs (this includes prescriptions) or drinking alcohol, this can have a very negative effect on their brain and psychology which could be causing their aggressive behaviors.
Help to get them off these substances.
However, you will need to get to the root cause of why he/she is ingesting these chemicals.
Generally speaking, most people take them to avoid some sort of traumatic experience in their life.
They could be struggling with some deep emotional wound that is causing them a lot of pain.
Or, he/she could just be doing it to rebel.
Whatever the case may be, you must get to the root cause of what is causing this pain and help them through it so they no longer rely on it to suppress their emotions.
Cause 8 – Watching too much violent media
I truly believe that information is the same as food.
Just like food nourishes our cells, muscles, bones, and tissue, I believe that information nourishes our mind and spirit.
If you teen is watching a lot of violent media or playing violent games, then they could be going through a “copycat effect” where they are emulating what they are watching.
While the obvious solution is to get them to stop watching it, that is not enough and is only a quick fix.
The real solution is that you must delve into their psyche and find out why they are choosing to ingest this type of information.
What is going on for them psychologically that draws them to violent movies or shows?
Something is going on within them that is attracting them to these shows.
Once you get to the root cause of what is going on for them, then you need to take them through a healing process so that they are no longer attracted to watching this type of media.
How To Handle Teenager Aggression
Here are some tips and advice on what to do when you are dealing with an aggressive teenager:
1. Be a pack leader
It is important that you learn to assert yourself in a way that requires your child to respect you.
Remember, this is all about being the alpha.
And no, this is not about yelling or controlling.
Its about respecting your authority.
Teenagers are responding more to your body language and tone of voice more than anything else.
2. Validate their feelings
No matter how absurd you may think their point of view, it is important that you not invalidate them.
He or she wants to be heard and acknowledged.
You don’t have to agree.
You just have to validate their point of view.
3. Don’t argue with them
If you begin to get into an argument where you lose control and your tone of voice where you begin yelling and screaming, then your child will lose more respect for you.
One…they will see that they can get you off your game and bend to their will.
And two…they will see that you are not in control of your emotions
4. Don’t blame them
While this is similar to not invalidating them, it’s a little bit different.
In this case, you don’t want to point the finger at them and tell them they are wrong and bad.
In other words, don’t judge them as this will just make them more furious and add more gasoline to their fire.
5. Don’t use sarcasm
Did you know that sarcasm is the number one reason why most relationships (of any type) fail?
Sarcasm is one of the worst ways to ruin your relationship with your child.
If you begin to speak sarcastically with them, they will resent you.
6. Don’t be negative
As hard as this may sound, you are going to need to be the one who leads you both out of this predicament which means you must remain positive through this.
Don’t let them see that you have soured otherwise they too will give up hope.
If they believe deep down that you have lost hope, they will too.
7. Schedule a time later in the day to talk
If for any reason you are unable to speak with them about what is going on at the moment, schedule a time with them were you will talk about it later.
Whether you are angry and need to regain your cool or if you need to get to work or run an errand, make it clear that the issue will be addressed at a later time.
But whatever you do, do not allow things to go unresolved.
8. Relax and calm down
Nothing is worse then when your child triggers your buttons and fills you with rage.
But you must stay calm and collected through this matter.
Remember, if they see that you are remaining in control of your emotions, you will gain some respect from them.
So when things go awry, take a moment to collect yourself.
Remind yourself how much you love them and that they are your child.
Take a few deep breaths and center yourself before you engage them.
Ask yourself this question…
“How can I resolve this issue in a loving yet firm and assertive manner?”
See what your imagination comes up with.
9. Get outside help
Getting help is difficult because you feel ashamed or guilty for being a bad parent and don’t want to be judged which makes you feel isolated, scared, and alone.
However, don’t feel that you have to go this alone.
There is no shame in asking for help.
If the situation has truly gotten out of your hands, then it may be time to seek some outside assistance.
Domestic Physical Abuse vs Verbal Aggression
If your teenager has gotten physical with you then you are going to need to make a big decision.
Because if you bring authorities involved in this matter then you will lose control because now the state has a say in what is going on because the matter has become a legal matter.
Once a person has struck another person, now its in the hands of the law.
So you need to be clear on whether or not your child is being physically abusive versus emotionally abusive.