Spare the rod, spoil the child. Not sure if this old adage applies here, but, likely, a lot of people will probably feel that it does.
In this cell phone video taken at a mall, presumably somewhere in the U.S.A., a green-haired (literally, green-haired) teenage girl yells and swears at her silent grandfather (or maybe father–whomever it is, he is patient beyond belief), irate that they are late for her Apple Genius Bar appointment. She screams at him:
“I don’t want to wait in line for 20 f*****g minutes doing absolutely nothing when we’re supposed to be at our f*****g appointment.”
She then, after falling apart completely and starting to cry, continues:
“We were supposed to be there five minutes ago… Can you please just go up there and talk to them for me and like leave me the money or something?”
The man then takes her phone, hands her his credit card, and walks hurridly off toward the Apple store.
The green-haired monster (uh, green-haired girl) then continues with her rant, stomping her foot and repeatedly treating everyone in the crowded area to her full vocabulary of swear words.
Watch the episode for yourself, here:
According to the article 7 Keys to Handling Difficult Teenagers by Preston Ni in Psychology Today, “Some teenagers thrive on testing and challenging authority. A few may be self-destructive.” Probably pretty fair to say that our green-haired young lady has those tendencies.
So, what is one to do when faced with an “out of control” teen? Again, turning to the Psychology Today article, we learn that:
The first and foremost boundary in almost any situation [with your teen] is that you will be treated with respect. This means if the teen(s) is respectful towards you, then you will also accord her or him certain respect and privileges.
When you see a teenager upset or under some distress, offer the young person the option of talking with you. Say, for example, “I’m here to listen if you want to talk, okay?” Make yourself available and remind the teenager of this from time to time, but don’t insist on it. Use the “pull” strategy and let the young person come to you if and when he’s ready.
When a teenager insists on violating reasonable rules and boundaries, and won’t take “no” for an answer, deploy consequence. The ability to identify and assert consequence(s) is one of the most powerful skills we can use to “stand down” a challenging person. Effectively articulated, consequence gives pause to the difficult individual, and compels her or him to shift from resistance to cooperation.
A very popular series of child-rearing books include the 1-2-3 Magic series, which offer advice for parents of children at every stage of their young lives. If anyone can find the address of the poor man in the above video, perhaps we could send him a copy.