Naturally, teenagers are a rare breed of both uniqueness and controversy. They are constantly striving for individuality while at the same time craving acceptance from their peers. Teenagers think they know everything regardless of their inexperience.

As a parent, teacher or guardian, it is not easy dealing with teens. They thrive on pushing people’s buttons; especially that of the authorities. This is the sole reason why schools will invest in motivational and other keynote speakers, in a bid to guide teens so that they do not lose their moral compass.

The question remains,“What can you do to keep up with challenging teens?” Below are a few ways on how to deal with difficult adolescents. However, guardians must note that every teen is different and some of the strategies listed below may not apply to your particular situation. Simply do what applies to you and leave what does not.

  • Never give away your power

As I said earlier, teenagers will try and push your buttons just to see how you react. They will tease you, disobey instructions, talk back and provoke you. It is in these moments that you prove your power.

When you react angrily and get upset, the teen will realize that they have power over you and become uncontrollable.


The first thing you should do in such a scenario is to keep calm. The calmer you are, the better your judgment on how to handle such situations. If you feel like you are about to lose your temper, take a deep breath and slowly count to ten. By the time you are done counting, you will have cooled down and found a better way to deal with the situation. If you are still angry after counting, take a break until you are ready to deal with the situation is a mature manner.

  • Set boundaries

Setting boundaries with your teens is critical in maintaining workable and constructive relationships. Set clear ground rules and backup your statements with actions.

The first rule should be that you will be treated with the utmost respect. Failure to which, certain privileges will be withheld. The list of boundaries should be straight and to the point. Write them down if necessary.

  • Communicate properly

Respect is two-way traffic. If you want your teens to respect you, you must respect them. Do not shout at them while communicating. The use of assertive communication will help both of you to come to a mutual understanding.

Say no in a firm but diplomatic manner. This will decrease the adolescent’s resistance and help them cooperate more.

  • In mild situations, show empathy

There are those situations that are not so-strained; situations where the teen is being difficult for minor reasons. The best cause of action is to be empathetic and avoid over-reacting.

Be the bigger person.In trivial matters, let them decide what they want to do. Give them some space to feel in control of their lives and let them reason for themselves.

When a teen gets you upset, unless they have disrespected you, do not get angry or agitated. Just excuse yourself and take deep breaths. You could also smile it off and say to yourself “There she goes again!”