Step 1. Making One-on-One Time a Habit: Shift your attention away from the negative. Catch your teen being good, offer praise when you do, and spend time together outside the usual conflict circumstances.
Step 2. A New Way to Manage Behavior: Lay the groundwork for effective consequences. Be specific, consistent, balanced, and judicious in what you ask of your teen.
Step 3. Contracts and Point Systems: How Teens Can Earn Privileges: Give consequences some teeth, using either a behavioral contract or a point system to reward your teen for complying with requests and incentives for positive (instead of negative) behavior.
Step 4. Making the Punishment Really Fit the Crime: After you've made a habit of rewarding the positive you can begin imposing fines or penalties for the negative.
Step 5. Tackling the Big Issues with Rewards and Penalties: Once you've balanced rewards with punishments, you can learn how to make contingency management work for you on those big issues that never seem to get resolved.
Step 6. Addressing Homework and School Issues: Whether or not you need to address behavior problems at school, almost all parents with defiant teens have problems making sure homework gets done.
Step 7. Using Problem-Solving Skills: No matter how much you think you'd like to do so, you can't just dictate to your teenager about everything. But the non-deal-breaker issues don't have to be bones of contention; they can be negotiated using a proven set of steps for problem solving.
Step 8. Learning and Practicing Communication Skills: Everyone seems to forget how to listen actively and to speak respectfully and honestly when defiance rules the house. Relearn the basic skills of positive communication and try to identify negative communication patterns that feed conflict.
Step 9. Dealing with Unreasonable Beliefs and Expectations: You've been hacking away at defiance brick by brick. Now we get to an important part of its foundation: negative beliefs and exaggerated expectations that tend to make defiance and conflict a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Step 10. Keeping It Together: It's not over till it's over, as Yogi Berra said. And it would be foolish to expect defiance to be "over" altogether. Even after you've reduced it considerably, a problem may arise post training. Practice your communication skills and problem-solving techniques so you can get back on track.
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