The house is in chaos, ruled by a single individual: your adolescent child. The mood of your home depends on the mood of your teenager. Sometimes you don't even know if you should confront the teen about something he or she did because you just don't want to hear the hostile, belligerent tone or create yet another futile battle.
When your adolescent controls the mood of the home, parents and siblings often feel helpless, as if they no longer have a safe haven. The interesting thing is, the teen is often just as miserable. The behavior does not make the teen feel powerful. In fact, it often makes them feel desperately out of control.
Children go through many emotional, hormonal, and behavioral shifts during adolescence. Teens in homes that offer strong guidance, structure, and responsibility tend to fare better during these difficult years. When there are no rules and no responsibilities, combined with the heady feeling of incipient independence, teens often feel as if they are chaotically barreling through life. There is a profound difference between allowing a teen to discover a sense of independence and allowing a teen to do whatever he or she "feels" like doing. Usually by the time a teen has developed excessive hostility, it can be a great challenge for parents to then start creating and enforcing rules and responsibilities. However, by slowing introducing them and adding consequences for inappropriate behavior, parents can start to minimize the sense of chaos in the home.
Without structure, basic responsibilities to the home and family, and consequences for problem behavior, a teen's hostile and defiant behavior will continue to escalate. Remember that when you first begin to re-assert yourself as a parent, teens will often rebel more aggressively at first. This should be an expected reaction to the "new home rules." However, parents who are determined to get their teen back on track can find creative ways to encourage participation in positive family activities and remind their teenager that parents are not the enemy.