Parents are human, which means they have emotions and experience the same limitations as their children. When your child learns your weakness, they will try to exploit it, and that’s when it becomes gaslighting.
There are probably two reasons why you feel your teen is gaslighting you:
- You are allowing them to gaslight you.
- You need professional help as soon as possible.
What Causes Gaslighting Behavior in Teens?
The worldwide web is accessible to your teenager, and it is infested with other people’s opinions, which is terrible advice most of the time. At least in the spaces, your child spends most of their screen time.
Teenagers want their lives to be one big vacation, and even the thought of washing dishes or making their beds is exhausting to them. This is because they spend countless hours watching their age mates on YouTube in pajamas, showing how luxurious their lives are. And it seems like these influencers are successful without putting in any work.
A majority of unregulated online platforms portray a false reality on teenagers who, in turn, impose those notions onto their parents. Eventually, the parents believe they are the problem, which is never the case.
Peer pressure is at its peak during teenage years when young people believe they are old enough to be making sound life decisions. Whether it is taking drugs or engaging in risky behaviors, your teenager is deaf to any reasoning. Then when they get caught up by the law, they blame you for not offering guidance.
It is tough to raise a teenager, especially during this era of digital technology advancement; your hands are somewhat tied as a guardian.
Your teenager wants the same lifestyle as their friends. Their so-called friends have told them how their parents treat them, and he or she wants you to parent them the same way.
The situation becomes even worse in a divorce scenario where one parent offers the teenager a different lifestyle than the other.
How to Stop Your Teenager From Gaslighting
You should first seek the help of a psychologist alone and get a diagnosis. This is vital in understanding whether the problem is with your mental state or your teenager’s emotional health. Your teenager may talk you out of visiting the doctor, and that is why they mustn’t know about your appointments. A family counselor will offer the best advice on how to avoid being gaslighted by your teenager.
When setting boundaries, ensure that they are not meant to drive a wedge between you and your teenager. You need to clearly communicate to your child that you are the parent in the relationship, and there are specific actions a child should not cross. For example, do not let them dictate to you how you should be parenting.
You have cared for them since they were a toddler, which comes with an invisible wall of respect. Even if you were not present during their early years, you are still their parent, which cannot change. Your teenager needs to understand that the two of you are not age mates. However, please do not make it seem like they cannot survive without you; instead, show them that it’s unfair not to be respected for your role.
Carry a Notebook
Gaslighting will cause you to question the facts and your actions, so it is important to document them. This is for cross-checking facts when your teenager insists that you did or did not do a sure thing. A notebook represents fact-checking in case your child comes up with counter-arguments that contradict the norm. For example, your teenager may passionately defend the idea that successful people in history never made their beds or had tidy living spaces.
In such an argument, it is helpful to have all the facts and then explain the matter both subjectively and objectively to your teenager. They need to know that even though they are smarter, you have lived life through trials and errors, and you don’t want that for them.
Involve a Third Party
This could be your partner, a relative, or a family friend who is respected by your teenager. When the two of you are being subjective, a third person may be objective and see the rationale in your point of view as a parent. Involve someone else to offer you emotional support because gaslighting can lead to a mental breakdown. An unbiased third person can stop your teenager from gaslighting you.
To overcome, my teenager is gaslighting me; you need to be emotionally balanced and mentally sound. This is a psychological problem, and the mind can be easily duped, making it even more vital for you to prioritize your mind’s health. Make sure that you are thinking straight and are not under any influence when interacting with your teenager.