The "You Can't Make Me" Dilemma: Teens Who Refuse to Take "No" for an Answer

Is your teen growing increasingly stubborn? Do they go through frequent outbursts of anger or ignore you when you’re speaking to them? Teenagers can be very challenging as they grow into young adults, and as part of their transition into adulthood, they long to have more control over their own lives. However, although every teen goes through a phase where they believe their parents are wrong, or just don’t understand, there are some instances where things get out of hand. The fact is, teens aren’t yet adults, and they don’t always consider the safety concerns of their risk-taking behavior while they are being stubborn and arguing with their parents. If your teen refuses to take “No” for an answer, you aren’t alone.  

The “You Can’t Make Me” Dilemma


When a parent has to say “no” to something a teen wants, it’s natural for a little arguing to ensue. Teens have a considerable amount of will-power and can be quite stubborn and persistent, but when the situation escalates and the battle of the wills becomes more important than the actual topic, that’s a problem. That’s usually when your teen will test the limits with the phrase, “You can’t make me.” So, as a parent, how can you? 

A teenager with a considerable amount of will power can’t be “made” to do anything. But there are things that a parent can do to facilitate better communication and re-establish their authority. For instance, some tried and true parenting tips that help to get teens back on track often include how the parents handle the situation themselves. As parents, we will always get the best results by not reacting or disciplining when angry, by setting firm limits and punishments, by allowing teenagers to feel respected, and by re-evaluating our rules and expectations to see if they are even realistic for our teens. 

How Do I Get My Teen to Listen to Me?


While better communication is ideal, some teenagers have other underlying issues that may take more than just a few compromises and great conversation. For instance, if your teen is engaging in risk-taking activities (sex, drugs, eating disorders, sneaking out of the house, etc.), you need to get on the fast-track to correcting the problem, and this means getting your teen’s attention.  

If your teen isn’t listening to you and refuses to take no for an answer, re-establishing limits can help. But, sometimes the habits are just too ingrained, and you aren’t able to do it alone. 

If you are dealing with an extreme situation at home, where your teen’s safety is at risk and you’re at the end of your rope, it may be time for some professional help. Anger and control problems sometimes can’t be tackled alone, and finding an outside solution may be the only  option. Elevations RTC provides a holistic approach and prides itself on a caring environment that encourages habit reversal and healthy relationships. They empower teens while encouraging growth, and they can bring peace back to your home.