Q: Our 14-year-old daughter is continually angry or rude with us and it’s putting a strain on our family life. Any advice?

A: Your daughter is in her first years of teenagehood – a time when kids can have difficulty coping with the physical and mental changes involved. You have to teach her a way through. It requires you to set clear boundaries for the type of behaviour you expect to see and stick to them.

First, decide on what these rules are (don’t make the list too long, but focus on three or four key areas) and explain this to your daughter. Not at a time when conflict is high, but when she’s had a good day and you can initiate the conversation with some element of praise. Be clear about what the consequences are for breaking the rules. Be very matter of fact and keep the emotion out of it. If she responds by kicking up a fuss, reiterate, but don’t engage.

For instance, if you tell her that one of the rules is that she is not allowed to speak in a disrespectful manner when things don’t go her way, also tell her what the consequences will be when she does. Make those consequences timely and relevant too. They shouldn’t last too long, perhaps half a day without something she really values. The consequence should only end when she has shown she can repair what she has done, so if she has been rude, she needs to show you that she can behave in a polite manner.

One of the key roles you have as a parent is to teach your child that there are other ways to respond – a kind of problem solving if you like.

Life will always throw up problems and having the ability to work out the best way to overcome them will help grow his resilience, which is something she might be lacking at the moment. This is where the talking comes in. Get her to come up with behaviour strategies. Ask her what it feels like when she starts to feel angry, so that she can recognise the signs, then see if she can suggest an alternative behaviour such as taking a time out from the situation. If she can’t suggest anything guide her with suggestions. Problem solving like this is skill building. She will make mistakes – that’s part of the learning process – but if you stay consistent and stick with it, you will turn this situation around.

Russell Hemmings is a Dubai-based life coach and cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist (russellhemmings.co.uk). Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.

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