Dr. Val Farmer
Rural Mental Health & Family Relationships

Seven Ways Parents Can Create An Angry Teen-ager

October 23, 2006

Do you like a good fight? Would you like a little exercise for your lungs? A chance to prove that you are the boss? Have I got a deal for you! Here are seven ways guaranteed to turn your and your teenager's lives into a donnybrook.

1. Find fault with your spouse's discipline in front of the kids. Side in with your teenager to point out what an inept parent your spouse is. Begin your usual lecture on what is wrong so the kids know who is really the smart parent in the family. Get the message across that you have as little respect for his or her discipline as he or she does for yours.

Countermand what punishment or consequence was just given out. Privately let the kids know you are suffering just as much as they are and that you are their true friend. They will be - until the next time when they figure out that they can get what they want playing up to your spouse.

2. Use your temper and your anger to intimidate your kids into cooperating with you. Use this as your one and only discipline technique. It works. Anger creates anger. When they get angry back, you can add that to their list of what they are doing wrong.

If they don't like your yelling, yell a little louder. Explode if you feel like it! If you get angry, discipline them right away while you are out of control and not thinking straight. If they don't move, threaten them with outlandish punishments that they know you can't or won’t keep.

At this point, give up. Complain that they are worthless and that it is easier if you do it yourself. They will learn either to tune you out or wait you out. Pretty soon you will shout at such intense levels that they will be convinced you are a candidate for the funny farm. Moreover, you'll have a battle every time you want something from them.

3. Don't have any set family rules or consequences for misbehavior. Make up your discipline on the spot. Make it different each time. You can catch them by surprise and they will think you are unfair. Complain when you get fed up with their lack of cooperation, otherwise let things slide. Assign family chores on the spur of the moment. Interrupt their activities and expect them to drop everything because you demand it.

Don't expect much, but when you do make it an extreme test of wills. However, give in often enough to make them feel that putting you off is worth the trouble.

Don't have a schedule or a routine, Let them fix their own food and eat when they want. Don't forget the messes. They are always making messes and not picking up after themselves. If you are too tired to deal with them, let it go. Unless you are angry - then confront them on their lazy habits.

4. Look for the things they do wrong and jump on them. Ignore them unless there is a problem. Pay attention only when they are bad. Prove you are a concerned parent by blaming, threatening, criticizing, probing, prying, giving advice, arguing and lecturing. Don't listen to them. Interrupt them right away if they start to make a point you don't like.

Keep the hostility level high. Learn how to escalate a fight. React to their emotional outbursts. Don't put up with any negative emotions. Take the bait and unload on them, hook, line and sinker. Make them fight back to preserve their dignity. Debate with them if you feel like it and then tell them they are going to do it your way regardless. Remember, might makes right.

5. Tolerate disrespect and lack of courtesy. Get down on their level. Let them backtalk, call you names, and use profanity, sarcasm and contempt when they talk to you. Remember, they probably learned it from you.

For surefire results, use physical punishment with your teenagers. Do something physical to get their attention. They will miss the point you are trying to make and focus in your out-of-control behavior.

6. Do all their thinking for them and make their decisions. Make them toe the line in everything. Don't trust them or give them any freedom. Congratulations, you now have a rebellious and angry child who will fight back or a child cowed temporarily into submission - at least in your presence.

7. When it all comes apart, don't forget to blame everybody else. Blame the school or your kid's friends. Blame the other parent. Especially blame the kid. Wonder why your child has problems with authority figures and is angry most of the time.

Take him to a counselor and get him or her fixed up. If your child is too bad, let the authorities take care of it. Count on law enforcement, probation officers, social workers, and group or foster homes to straighten things out or take your angry child off your hands.

This formula works. Results are guaranteed. Too many parents stumble onto it. It is too bad for the kids. It is too bad for society.