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Dealing With Diabolical Teens

Having a defiant teenager is a particularly difficult stressor on a family.  A lot of parents get Wasatch Family Therapy Teensfrustrated and hopeless, wanting to give up altogether.  This stressor can also affect the couple relationship significantly.  So, what is the best thing to do with a defiant adolescent?

When addressing the issue of “diabolical teens,” one of my colleagues jested, “you just praise the hell out of them!”  This may seem counter-intuitive, but studies have shown that praise and positive reinforcement are the most effective tools for long-term changes with adolescents.  Understandably, the natural tendency of parents is to be stricter, yell, and demand compliance.  Sometimes this will work in the short-term, but will likely further damage the relationship and will make teaching your teen less effective.  Dale Carnegie suggested that “a drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.”  We can catch some of those pesky teenage behaviors more effectively through praise than with criticism.

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