6 Ways Your Teen Is Playing You
How to stop the manipulation and rebuild your relationship with your teen.
1. Steamrolling continued...
Swanson also offers the "watch method." Here's the script: "When I give you your answer if you keep asking me, I'm going to let you know that you're steamrolling me. And if you keep going, I'm going to look at my watch. For every minute you continue to do it after I told you you're steamrolling, it's going to be two minutes of earlier bed or video time chipped away."
Once you've explained the ground rules, take a 10 second glance at your watch. Your teen will know you mean business. "That's when the steamrolling stops working against you and starts working against your child," Swanson says.
"Teenagers think if they don't tell you the truth," Kaiser says, "they have a better shot at getting what they want."
White lies or lies of omission are common. For example, your child may be upfront about going to her friend's house but leave out the fact that her friend's parents won't be home and there will be alcohol there.
As kids get older, the lies become more sophisticated and, therefore, more difficult to identify. Plus, Kaiser says, teens begin to collaborate with one another on fabricating stories. "They'll both agree to tell their parents they are going to Karen's house when they are really going to Tommy's," Kaiser says. If either kid's parents call the other's, their story will be corroborated because they both told the same lie. "Since the friend's parents back it up, they get away with it," she says.
Stay vigilant about knowing where your child is going and with whom in order to minimize lying. And when you catch a lie, strike immediately. "Let your child know that lying is not acceptable and, for this offense, you're taking the TV away for a day," Kaiser says. "If it happens again, take it for a week. Kids need to know that a repeat offense has bigger consequences."
Many teens provoke their parents by doing something hurtful or simply not following through with things expected of them -- like cleaning their rooms -- just to even the score for not getting their way. Although it's a tempting response, yelling and screaming won't work in these situations, Klapow says. "You don't treat your teenager like a toddler, but the same principles apply. Don't attend to the tantrum."