Teenagers can be extremely challenging to parent. They are neither child nor adult but somewhere in between. At this stage of development the rational part of their brain takes a back seat to the more primitive, emotional and reactive part of their brain. In fact, the human brain is not fully developed until the age of 25. Add to this an increase in the production of growth and sex hormones and you have a recipe for labile moods and difficult behaviors.
Some teens sail smoothly through these years. Others need more guidance. One helpful technique in dealing with these behaviors is called Emotional Regulation Training. This involves activating your child’s pleasure seeking drive by rewarding them with something they want and value. Let’s take a closer look at the steps involved…
First you need to identify and describe the problem behavior. Then write it down. Go into as much detail as necessary to paint a clear and concise picture of exactly what the problem is. Use non-judgmental and descriptive language.
For instance if your child is a slob that description is derogatory and too vague. Instead you might say he leaves his dirty clothes and underwear on the floor in his room and tracks mud into the kitchen because he doesn’t take his shoes off when he comes in.