Tips for Living with Grumpy Teens

This blog is set to arm you with four ‘what-to-do’ strategies if you are living with a grumpy teenager! So, let’s get straight to it!

 Grumpy Teens Tip No. 1:

Try using “hit and run praise” a few times a day. Give your teen a compliment and then keep walking. Don’t stay around and wait for a response. Don’t wait for them to return the compliment. 😂Be like a magpie.... swoop and then retreat. 🦅Hey, great choice in makeup... (move on quickly). Hey, I’m so proud of you... (move on quickly). Hey, thanks for spending time with your little brother... (move on quickly). It will take creativity to keep the positive statements rolling, especially if your teen isn’t giving you a lot to work with! This strategy can lift the mood without the risk of seeing the eye rolls. 🙄🙄

 Grumpy Teens Tip No. 2:

Let them overhear you bragging about them. If you find yourself correcting, directing and complaining about a teenager .... do a U TURN. Deliberately change the dialogue. An easy way to do that is to let them overhear you brag about them. Get your microscope out, find some gold (dust) 😂😂.... and then find a friend, grandparent or partner to share it with. A good “brag” involves slight exaggeration. Describe the details. What did they do? How did it make you feel? Who else noticed it? When have they done something similar? You might be concerned they will think you are crazy. YEP... but chances are they already do!

Grumpy Teens Tip No. 3:

Share stories about your teenager’s childhood. Who doesn’t like to hear about themselves? NOBODY... ever. However, your teenager might roll their eyes if you spontaneously get lost in a reminiscing moment. Instead, have a “clean up” of their old things and leave an box full of their childhood pieces on the kitchen bench. If they rummage through it by themselves, great. If you need to encourage them in that direction, fine too. When they start to ask questions about the items in it, take it as a cue to break out in a reminiscing moment. 👉👉💃💃 Have some great stories prepared!! Preferably ones they haven't heard before. Think of some funny ones, cheeky ones, mushy ones.... Telling your teenager stories about themselves grounds them in their own history. Their own story is so affirming. It reinforces who they are and whose they are.

Grumpy Teens Tip No. 4:

Find their tickle spot. Teens often don’t like being ‘touched’ and coil away when parents try to hug them. That’s a clear message. We get that!  But my theory is, if you catch them unawares, they might realize what they have are been missing!  Watching TV is a perfect time to ask your teen if they want a back scratch. If you avoid the word “hug” or “massage” you might get a more positive response. Physical contact is so important for our kids, and it brings a calm to their brains which nothing else can in quite the same way. It’s the perfect backdrop for communication, so take full advantage of it! You might even find that your son’s ‘grunts’ and your daughter’s ‘whatever’s’ start to melt away.

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You can find more on this topic in my book 'Parenting Teenage Girls in the Age of a New Normal' available from


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