Why teenagers misbehave

There is always a reason why people behave the way they do. It may seem out of character to you and you may have no idea what their actions are all about. But there is always a reason, even if it is difficult to understand and apparently has nothing to do which what is going on at that moment. If you want to create a situation where you and your teenager cooperate and avoid conflict, the first important strategy is to recognise there are always reasons for their actionsand to seek to undestand them.

Sometimes it isn't bad behaviour at all; it might be inappropriate or it might be puzzling to you, but most of it is about your teenager's desire to be separate from you and stand out and to stand up for themselves. That sometimes means having to take the opposite position to yours, but it's not personal and it's not meant maliciously.

In their behaviour, teenagers are usually acting out the emotions they find hard to understand or explain. Their so-called bad behaviour is often the only way they can express their feelings and reactions. They might do this by disobeying you, by being argumentative or by constantly doing things their way rather than doing what you have asked them to. They may do it by being aggressive, or using bad language or simply by ignoring you. This is why discipline often comes to the fore when children become teenagers.


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