Being a parent to rebellious kids is tough, especially when you also have to worry about other family concerns. But whether you like it or not, your parenting style directly affects your kids' growth as an adult.

Based on data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 21% of kids in the 8th grade admitted to illegal drug use (including cocaine and amphetamines). Meanwhile, 26% of respondents said they had consumed alcohol.

More alarming was the doubling of these figures as kids finished high school: 47% reported using illegal substances, while 62% said they were drinking alcoholic beverages.

Now, if you have a teenage kid who has shown rebellious tendencies, you must tread carefully as you are dealing with a potentially volatile situation.

Here are some of the best parenting tips you should follow if you have rebellious teenage kids:

  • Draw up boundaries for both sides. Boundaries can be good or bad, depending on how you package and enforrce them. They key is to tell your kids that the boundaries you're setting are not meant to suffocate them but to ensure that they would not do anything that could put them in harm's way. These boundaries may include rules about going home, spending time on the internet, and going out. And while you do have limitations and rules for the kids, you should also have one for yourself and your spouse. It could include asking their permission first before posting their baby pictures (because not every kid would be comfortable with their friends seeing them) or not kissing them on the cheeks or hugging them (admit it, some kids do hate when parents do these).

  • Be firm. Once you have drawn up the sets of rules for your kids and yourself, you must show consistency and firmness. Kids, especially the rebellious ones, are keen observers. They will surely notice if you flip-flop in your enforcement of consequences for violating the rules and boundaries. Once the kids realize you're a consistent enforcer, they would likely know better not to overstep their boundaries lest they want to be grounded or lose certain privileges.

  • Control your emotions. It's too easy to snap and unleash your fury on your kids for violating curfew. Still, sometimes, those words you throw at them while you're angry could hurt them deeply and resent you even more. Instead of snapping and saying hurtful things (or actually hurting) to your kid, why not flip it and use it as an opportunity for some quiet introspection? By putting distance between you and your kids, you will have time to cool down and plan how best to talk to them to address what they did that angered you. Keep in mind that it's always better to have a fruitful discussion when you're level-headed and the emotions have already died down.

  • See them, hear them, be with them. There have been way too many instances in which kids rebel because they think their parents are ignoring them. It would be great to ask yourself these questions:

    Have you been casually dismissing your kids' requests to hang out by watching movies or going to the park?
    Do you downplay your kids' tiny rants about a bully classmate?
    Are you always "busy" that you can't attend a school event they're a part of?

    If you said yes to any or all of these questions, then you have a lot of things to do to avoid alienating your kids. No matter how busy you think you are, you can always find time to be with them; and no matter how absurd you think their ideas or rants are, you should always hear them out. Don't be an absentee parent.

  • Be humble. No parent can ever be a perfect parent, which only means you're bound to commit some mistakes along the way. The worst thing you can ever do despite fully knowing you're at fault is to gaslight your kids and refuse to admit your mistakes. Instead of acting all high and mighty, you should take the high road and tell your kids sorry. It won't make you less of a parent to be humble; instead, you would only be teaching your kids a lesson about humility. Saying sorry for your mistakes will also tell your kids it's okay to be wrong, as long as they show remorse and commit not to make the same mistakes.

  • Seek guidance from fellow parents or professionals. You can never have all the right answers all the time, especially when it comes to dealing with a rebellious kid. Sometimes, the best way to do this is to ask for guidance from other parents with similar situations as yours. You should also try soliciting the help of guidance counselors or family consultants to have an unbiased, expert opinion on your kids' rebellion and the best means of handling it.

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