If there was a button to stop teen complaining the creator would be a trillionaire in minutes. We have all dealt with the seemingly constant bellyaching from our teenage and preteen children…it seems to just be a part of life that is natural once they reach a certain age. That doesn’t make it any easier to cope with, however.
The Negative Teen Attitude
It isn’t just a phase caused by hormones. Studies have shown that the area of the brain that regulates empathy, guilt, and high-level thinking is underutilized in teenagers. This is an area of the brain that activates more as people age. So that part of you that wonders if your teen has any sense of shame for their lack of gratitude is justified in asking that question.
This also helps to contribute to their attitude problem. Unfortunately, that attitude is exacerbated by depression, anxiety, and general stress experienced most strongly in people during their formative post-pubescent years. In other words: they can’t really help themselves.
Sadly this can lead to bigger teenage behavior problems down the road. Behavior problems like lying, disobedience and even substance abuse and other alarming things can begin to occur. How does this relate to complaining? It can lead to an increase in the bad attitude that causes the complaining in the first place while giving them more to complain about.
It is a vicious and disheartening cycle for many families.
How To Stop Your Teen Complaining
Don’t worry, there are ways to start breaking this line of whining:
- Help them gain some perspective. Sometimes volunteer work can help a teenager to come to terms with their own angst by simply seeing how good they have things.
- Encourage activity. A lot of complaining is due to restlessness and depression. Activity can really help nip both in the bud.
- Get them some therapy. Just because the complaining is irritating doesn’t mean it isn’t justified. If this is becoming a serious problem it might be time to get them, someone, to talk to. A therapist will not only listen but also help your teen to build a different framework for dealing with their emotions.
- Don’t punish them for their complaints. You are frustrated and that leads to overreaction. Punishing your child for expressing discontent will only make them close themselves off to you.
- Just let it go! This is the hardest because it requires you to go against what you are feeling. But the truth is that most of the complaining is a phase, one that they grow out of over time. By not allowing yourself to take it personally or get angry you will be taking the power away from the situation.
Today’s guest post has been written by Tyler Jacobson.
Tyler is an experienced researcher and writer for organizations that help troubled teen boys. His writing offers real-life experiences, humor, and hope for parents of difficult teens. Tyler enjoys bringing honest solutions to families looking for ways to heal. He helps parents by writing valuable information on topics such as education, social media use, behavioral and mental disorders, as well as addiction.