How you handle confronting difficult situations with your teen greatly influences your teen’s response. Nancy, a mom with teens of her own, told me her story of getting caught with cigarettes when she was 14-years-old. She grew up as the oldest of three siblings in a family where one of their values was no smoking.
However, Nancy had started smoking. Her mom found out when she took wet clothes out of her daughter’s swimming bag in order to wash them and found a packet of cigarettes. To this day she is amazed at how well her mom handled the situation. Instead of yelling, she explained she had found the cigarettes and requested that if Nancy was going to smoke that she do it outside the house and not in front of her younger brother and sister.
Nancy felt horrible about having disappointed her mom. She’s sure that if her mom would have yelled at her and told her to stop smoking, she would have continued smoking just to be defiant. Because of how her mom handled the situation, she said she felt very guilty and chose never to smoke again.
When we remain calm when confronting our teens, we have a much better chance of positively influencing their behavior. By keeping our composure, our teens are faced with reflecting on their behavior instead of focusing on our anger.