Presidental Campaign Lessons on Parenting Troubled TeensThe current series of presidential debates have not only captured the attention of tens of millions of Americans, they also have shed an important light on how responsible people deal with each other when they have disagreements – including parents of difficult teenagers.  While some may argue that the presidential etiquette has eroded, the truth is that when compared to many of the confrontations parents have with their troubled teens,these debates seem quite tame indeed.

Parenting difficult teenagers is a challenge unto itself, but many parents exacerbate the problem when confronting their troubled teens by letting their emotions get the better of them.  What follows are a few lessons that the presidential debates demonstrate that parents of troubled teens can use to help avoid a needless confrontation that leads to disastrous results.

Be Clear

You may have watched the debates and observed that their answers or unclear and do not answer the questions asked.  The points each candidate may have actually made you more confused about the subject and your opinion of them dropped.

Don’t make this mistake with your teen.  Parenting difficult teenagers is not easy task, but it greatly helps when you are clear and consistent when talking to them.  Setting rules and explaining your actions should be simple and straightforward.  You can add clarity by asking your teen if they have any questions about what your discussion and always ask what was understood.  Remember when speaking to your troubled teens, be clear, direct and to the point.  You may also want to consider how your nonverbal behavior communicates just as much as your words – after all, actions do speak louder than words.

Always Tell the Truth

You may have also noticed after the presidential debates that the next morning the media runs “fact checks” to verify the statements of each candidate.  Those candidates that don’t tell the truth are often penalized negatively by the press for making up stories or outright lying.

Lying to your children, especially to troubled teens is never a good thing.  You should always strive to tell the truth because it is the foundation of trust.  Plus, it’s pretty difficult to keep a lie straight over time.  Once the story inevitably changes your children know that you lied to them.  Telling the truth helps keep you consistent with your troubled teens.

It’s Okay to Agree to Disagree

During the debates when the presidential candidates reach an impasse, you have seen them agree to disagree.  This is a way to both acknowledge the position of the other candidate and to end the discussion without breaking into an argument.

Agreeing to disagree can help you when parenting difficult teenagers as well.  Understanding you are going to see some things differently.  By acknowledging that you see things differently by agreeing to disagree, you show your teen respect for their point of view without caving or giving in to yours.  In addition, it can short circuit a bigger argument from happening.

As you can see, the presidential debates serve as a strong reminder about how people can get along even with widely opposing viewpoints.  Applying this knowledge to your parenting can help you calm things down with your troubled teen.

Image By Fmcmahon93 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Conversations with Difficult TeenagersTeens are going through plenty of change as they prepare for adulthood.  It is during this period in their lives where they tend to become difficult. This is mainly because they are trying to discover who they are and their place in society.

One of the major problems that arise between parents and their teenage children is usually poor communication.  Often times, it is the breakdown in communication which leads parents to believe that their children are difficult teenagers.  This breakdown sometimes comes from a result of lengthy overdone conversations that lose their effect.  According to psychologists, a breakdown in communication, a lack of empathy and increasing power struggle in the home are major contributors to creating troubled teens.

Getting C.L.E.A.R. with a Troubled Teen

Many problems can be solved through positive and effective communication.  Parents should understand that their teenage kids are no longer young children have an identity as pre-adults who need to be treated as such.  Parenting advisers suggest as a way to create this positive communication is to be C.L.E.A.R. (Connect, Listen, Empathy, Acknowledge and Request).


Teenagers do not need long conversations in order for any messages to get across.  Rather, listening to their grievances and connecting with them is important.  Talking to troubled teens on a regular basis makes it easier to live together and hold conversations at home.

Listen with Empathy

Listening to teens with an open mind rather than with the mind already made up will enable any teenager appreciate the gesture.  By identifying their feelings and expressing an interest in their issues will enable them open up a whole lot more so that difficult teenagers no longer see the need to fight with the parent but rather get into discussions and talks with them, especially when there are serious issues to be discussed.

Keeping it Short

Rather than hold lengthy conversations and discussions with teens, it is much better to hold short, brief sessions of talks and discussions.  This way, the teens will be able to take in the content of the discussion and inwardly digest it so they may apply in their lives.  Long discussions tend to be boring and are mostly monologues.  Their effects on teens are limited and will tend to put them off.

Showing empathy to the challenges and situations they are facing is very important.  In order to get positive messages across, it is important to acknowledge the issues teens are facing and concerns they have.  When requesting teens to do chores, parents need to request rather than demand. Applying these simple but effective solutions will enable parents communicate better and be able to deal with difficult teenagers.


Pull Versus Push with Out of Control Teens

October 15, 2012

Dealing with an out of control teen is a challenge that many parents might be overwhelmed with.  Often times teens become rebellious, develop bad habits and make poor decisions.  Considering how the media, music, and entertainment act with such profound influence on developing teens, it’s hard to have a positive impact on a teen’s choices […]

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Positive Parenting for Troubled Teens

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