What is the proper way to speak to a defiant teenager?

What is the proper way to speak to a defiant teenager?

Question: I struggle with my defiant teenager daughter who is 15 years old. She insists on wearing inappropriate clothes and nothing seems to work with her. When I advise her not to wear these kinds of clothes and I treat her like a big respectful girl and explain to her why it's inappropriate and give her other choices she still refuses and says that it is her life that she will do as she pleases. She doesn't care anymore. And then on top of that she will wear exactly what I ask her not to wear. Can you please tell me the proper way to talk to her? Also, how to respond to her stubbornness and arrogance. She must stop pushing my buttons all the time as nothing I have tried has worked for while

Teenagers engaging with them really challenges our assumptions and forces us to take our communication and skills to a whole new level. This makes them a defiant teenager. But the fundamentals of dealing with them are the same as for any other age child. But as the teenagers levels of sensitivity and tolerance are so much lower than the other age ranges. So the situations can go dramatic very quickly. I love that you  have a strong drive to find solutions.  So I would like to go a little bit deeper than just replying with the traditional information. You can find on the Internet such as teenagers are going through a phase where they test the boundaries and they are searching for their identity and feel all confused etc.. 

Although that information is incredibly useful it can be easily found on the Web regarding identity crisis about defiant teenager. I have found the most important part of dealing with teenagers is the degree to which I can make them feel. I am also on their side even when I put in place my phone boundaries. Unfortunately is not as easy as saying to them I am on your side or I want the best for you. Or I am doing this for your own good. 


1. Avoid Any Resistance

It is also about your emotional intelligence abilities to hold your own anger and frustration. Moreover, do not make your daughter wrong or feel bad about her point of view or behavior. The general teen age out there is less likely to be submissive and just agree with you. But you probably know others they will probably react with anger resistance and author attenuation or revenge. So in many instances your daughter will purposefully make it a point to do the opposite of what you want in her head she is saying, 

“You make me feel this way. Well now I’m going to show you that you’re not the boss of me”

 and her stubbornness increases and we the parents are left speechless that someone will actually do this even though they know it will harm your defiant teenager. 

So from what I’ve read in the summary above it seems your daughter is resisting you for what she feels she is wanting for herself. Also, she is left feeling resentful that you somehow have control over her life. 

2. The Pseudo-Power Game with your defiant teenager

kids authoruty

Now this is classic teen stuff. So you’re not alone in dealing with this but the challenge may very well be in how you assert that control in a way. A way that keeps her feeling she has autonomy and feels empowered. You have to give a pseudo power to your child. I’m wanting to say that again that challenge for parents of teenagers is in how to assert their authority and control in a way that keeps the teenager feeling that she still has autonomy and feels empowered. I would worry that something like this and take note that the deep message that I’m conveying to her is that I also want this to work for her. In spite of me wanting some level of control 

“Honey I have noticed that you and I keep arguing about dresses and clothes and I realize that I keep finding myself expecting you to wear the clothes that I want you to weigh all the clothes. I think would be best for you and it doesn’t seem to work as you feel you’d like to wear the other clothes that you choose.” 

Now on a side note notice that I’m describing the situation without blaming her or making her wrong or admitting that I’m at fault. Either I would carry on. 

In the meanwhile you can also read our another popular article regarding time out strategy with kids

“I would really like to find a way that I can share with you my thoughts about what I believe is appropriate clothing. But I’d like to do that in a way that doesn’t make you feel that I’m controlling you or being old school. It is important that you also feel that you can take ownership of what you want to weigh while taking into consideration some of the things I feel I need to share as your mom. So notice that there’s a point at which I’m sharing that I would like to find a way that works for both of us where I can share my thoughts.”

and that she will take them into consideration. But through this doesn’t leave her feeling that she is losing her independence and will not make her a defiant teenager. And from then on we would follow the steps of conscious problem solving


3. Be a Problem-Solver

problem solver

These initial sentences or what makes your daughter feel that you’re not there just to tell her what she must do. It goes deeper than that. The skills of problem solving are the most the skills of parenting when used really well. They will create the context to solve any situation and defuse those challenging and tense teenager ones as well. 

On a different approach, I used a strict authoritarian threatening method to discipline my kids. This has now resulted in a defense of disobedience and a hostile reaction from my kids side. I was raised in the same way and this is how I thought I should raise my own kids too. And although I’m trying hard to change this to be honest it is so difficult to change. 

It is so easy to lose my control and calmness but I am determined to focus and not surrender to this unhealthy style. The problem solving techniques you offered are so helpful I congratulate you for the wisdom dedication and sincerity you have provided. The supply from her really made my day. Her child’s life will be forever changed as her mother’s awareness and skills increase when a parent realizes that a default parenting style was not really their choice but more of something inherited from their own parents and culture. 

Possibilities Open Up

The new possibilities open up but it’s not your fault for this. You did not choose this as you were growing up but no it is your responsibility to do something about your defiant teenager and you had made that choice and commitment to really for yourself and for your kids. It is not always easy and sometimes not always difficult but it is very worth it because it a really cool level you are providing your own children with a parenting model that will actually support them when they are parents themselves. You are putting in that extra time and effort now so they will have it better later on.


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