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Decoding Parenting: How to handle a strong-willed teen

As adolescence rears its head, many parents will face resistance. Here are a few tips on how to deal with a strong will without losing your mind.

SEATTLE — Many have said the sweetest years of parenting are between the ages of six and 11, after the toddler years and before puberty. 

As kids approach adolescence, parents may begin to experience something called "counterwill." 

Certified parenting coach Beaven Walters explains that 'counterwill' is a term coined by Austrian psychologist, Otto Rank, which refers to the child's natural instinct in growing and becoming more independent. 

While it's a good thing that our kids learn and grow, it can also be a difficult time as most teens become resistant to coercion and pressure from parents.

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Why does "counterwill" pop-up in adolescence? Walters explained that this is the time when the teen brain desires autonomy as the child attempts to develop a sense of self, thus forming their own will. 

In approaching a teen's resistance, it's important to remember that this phase is temporary and give them space. 

Walters said it is key to work on your parent-child relationship and to back off from forcing or coercing your kid. 

In fact, a KING 5 viewer wrote in to our newsroom after this segment first aired and shared his success in navigating this difficult time by giving his daughter choices instead of directives.

Bottom line, Walters said it's important to stay positive. Bad attitudes are contagious.

KING 5's Amity Addrisi continues her series on decoding parenting every Sunday on KING 5 Mornings.

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