When She is Difficult

Remember back to when she was little and you asked her to brush her teeth, and she did it (at least most of the time) without incident? Now that she is a tween or a teen, you may encounter more resistance to routine requests. You may even find the push-back exhausting. How can you lessen the friction and end the power struggles?

  1. Pick your battles. Messy room? Does it really have to be a battle? Can you simply close the door, instead of confronting her about it? Save your energy for taking a stand on drinking and driving, for example.
  2. Validate her feelings. Few people enjoy doing chores, and it’s OK to acknowledge it. Suggest she put on her favorite song while she clears the table, or that she can do something fun the minute she’s done folding her laundry.
  3. Don’t back down. It’s a waste of energy to ask her to do something and then relent if she complains enough.
  4. Be flexible. Give her control whenever possible. Can she write that thank you note tomorrow so she can hang out with her friends tonight?
  5. Keep your cool. If she does not comply, enact the consequence and move on. Let go of your negative emotion. It’s done. (Remember, you can always have a glass of wine later!)

Hang in there and remember that resistance is coming from her “job” during adolescence: becoming an individual. She is exploring who she is and how she is different from you. Try not to take it personally. 🙂

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