How do I manage my pre-teen son who is being defiant and rebellious?

With the advent of the pre-teen years what we witness as parents is defiance, rebellion and our cuddly little son or daughter wanting to keep his/her distance from us. We are quick to take our child’s behavior as a reflection of our failing as a parent. It all seems about us parents. Or we tend to blame ‘peer pressure’ or ‘wrong friends’ for our child’s sudden defiance.

I remember the first time I was mildly pushed away in front of my son’s friends I turned around hurt and confused. I was being a mum who wanted to hug her child before seeing him off at school, not realizing that my son wanted to be a ‘grown up’. Pre-teen years compare to a caterpillar pushing through darkness, confusion, evolution – various changes, physical, mental, emotional that children themselves are largely unaware about on the conscious level. And if we can just hold ourselves back, give them space while providing a nurturing and supportive environment, you will see how quickly this phase will pass by. However, if you react to every defiance – you will just aggravate the situation creating a lot of stress and tension with your child.

Video blog Monday Mornings with Sunaina Episode 43 gives you strategies on how to handle your pre-teen kids:

1) When you son is saying NO defiantly – let it go. Allow him the space to realise his own mistakes rather than jumping in to discipline.

2) Sit your son down at a more relaxed time – explain the rules the consequences. Reflect on his earlier behaviour.

3) During the discussion allow him to express his views and feel respected.

4) Give him privacy when he is with his friends or when he is talking on the phone with his friends.

5) When he slams that door in your face – realise that the pre-teen years your child is going through is like the caterpillar going through their own physical, hormonal, mental and emotional changes. It can be confusing and daunting for your child.

6) At the end of the day your child wants you – play together – spend family time together.

Action: Find out what as a family you enjoy and spend that quality time together.