He/She Always Slams the Door!!

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Teen slams door

Ah… door slamming. Talk about the ultimate conversation stopper and trigger for parental anger.

Teens do not generally slam doors just to irritate you. In general, they are slamming the door to tell you that they need a TIME OUT. Don’t take the bait and follow them into their room. This is the ultimate fight escalator. Your teen needs space and generally speaking, you need to allow them to deescalate in their room.

First things first. Teens are impulsive as their brains are not yet fully developed. They may slam their door and think to themselves, “Why did I do that?”. They are still using the more primal part of their brain (prefrontal cortex) during this phase of development, which means that doors are going to get slammed sometimes. This part of their brain also often misreads attention from others as negative, which is why your random questioning of your teen often triggers somewhat of a blow-up. Again, just a normal part of development (though not the most pleasant for parents).

Two more pieces to door slamming:

1. Plan a time to sit down with your teen and talk about the expectation that your teen not slam the door. Do not have this conversation during any kind of argument. Everyone needs to be calm to have this discussion. Talk with your teen about what the consequence of slamming the door will be for the future. Allow your teen to have a say in what an appropriate consequence is. If you notice that your teen really works hard to shift this behavior, compliment them on their efforts to not slam the door!They need to be noticed for positive changes in behavior, not just negative. ALWAYS follow through with the consequence that you and your teen agree on. If you do not follow through, your teen will push the limits and the rule will go out the door. You’ll be back at square one.

2.  Always revisit the issue that resulted in your teen slamming the door. Your teen may only need 20 minutes to calm down, and I’ve seen teens who can’t calm down for hours. Regardless of how much time your teen needs, have the conversation (when you’re talking about #1 above) about how the expectation is that the issue which resulted in door slamming must be revisited within X number of minutes/hours. You must work on problem-solving with your teen, or the door will simply get slammed the next time this issue gets brought up. It is critical to complete this step once the emotion of the moment has passed.

Good luck!! Remember this takes time and consistency. This behavior will not change as soon as you sit down and talk about it. It requires parental follow-through and time.

How do you handle door slamming at your house?

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