It’s never easy raising a teenager. Attempts at communication, constant squabbles, and open defiance may despair you–not to mention their moodiness, intense emotions, and impulsive, reckless behavior. You may find yourself in perpetual worry about where your child is, who they’re with, and what they’re doing. The whole process can be exhausting.
Despite what you may think, your teenager is not an alien from another planet. They just have different wiring. Although they may be taller and appear mature in some ways, they are often incapable of thinking things through at an adult level. And as they enter adolescence, the hormones produced in the body further complicate matters.
Is Your Child A Troubled Teen?
While the above was your average teen, troubled teens, on the other hand, show behavioral, emotional, or learning issues beyond those common to adolescents. Drinking, drug use, sex, violence, skipping school, self-harm, and shoplifting are all at-risk behaviors they may engage in repeatedly. These individuals may suffer from mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, or eating disorders. A continuous pattern of negative behavior can signal trouble, but it’s important for parents to understand what behavior is normal during adolescent development and what a sign of more serious problems is.
- Getting Professional Help For A Troubled Teen
Consult a doctor, counselor, therapist, or another mental health professional if you see red flag behaviors in your teen. If the situation goes out of hand, or you may not know what to do in certain situations, facilities such as Delphi Behavioral Health Group can also be helpful. Reputable facilities such as this one provide holistic care and professional assistance right away. However, this does not mean that your job is done. On the contrary, it has just begun.
It’s important to remember that whatever problems your teen has, it’s not a sign that you’ve failed as a parent. Instead of assigning blame, focus on what your teen needs right now. The first step is getting to the heart of what they are experiencing emotionally and socially.
- Reach Out To Your Troubled Teen
If your teen is angry or indifferent to you, it may seem hard to believe that they still crave love, approval, and acceptance from you. However, that’s not the case.
Approach them in a positive manner. A face-to-face connection reduces stress by calming and focusing the nervous system. If you are able to exert such an effect on your teen, it means you can influence them in a much more powerful way than you think.
It is best to keep your feelings to yourself if you’re angry or stressed. Don’t communicate with them with negative energy. Wait until you are calm and confident before speaking. This way, you will be able to deal with the situation maturely and find common ground.
Listening without judging or giving advice is also a great thing to keep in mind. You should listen to your teen without judging, mocking, interrupting, criticizing, or offering advice when they do talk to you. If you try to connect with them through anger, irritation, or other negative emotions, they may not respond as expected.
Relax and give your teenager time to calm down. You can approach them at a later time.
- Managing Teen Anger And Violence
You may live in constant fear if you’re the parent of an angry, aggressive, or violent teenager. Each time your son answers the phone or knocks on the door, he could be harmed or seriously harm others.
The angst that teenage girls feel has more of a verbal than physical expression, of course. When angry, teens throw objects, kick doors, or punch walls. In some cases, their anger is directed at you. This can be deeply disturbing and upsetting for any parent, but especially for single mothers. The threat of violence does not have to be your reality. You are as much at risk as your teen if you put up with violence.
How To Cope With Teen Anger?
In many teens, anger can be a challenging emotion, masking other feelings such as frustration, embarrassment, sadness, hurt, fear, shame, or vulnerability. Having trouble dealing with these feelings may cause teens to lash out, putting themselves and others at risk. It can be hard for boys in their teens to identify their feelings, let alone express them or ask for help.
It is up to parents to help teenagers in dealing with emotions and anger in a positive way:
- Define limits, rules, and consequences
- Find out why they’re angry
- Know your anger triggers and warning signs
- Find ways to help your teen cope with anger
- Create a retreat for your teen
- Manage your own anger by taking steps to reduce it
- Identify The Signs Of Teen Depression
Teenagers who display troubling behaviors can suffer from depression. Some of these symptoms include:
School problems. A drop in grades and low attendance are common symptoms of depression in teens.
Trying to escape. Some depressed teens run away or threaten to run away from home, often in a cry for help.
Alcohol and drug abuse. Attempts to self-medicate depression may lead teens to use alcohol or get help now.
Self-esteem is low. The effects of depression on teens can increase feelings of shame, failure, and social unease, as well as make them incredibly sensitive to criticism.
Addiction to smartphones. Those who are depressed may turn to the Internet to escape their problems. However, excessive Internet and smartphone use can worsen their depression.
Unreasonable behavior. Among depressed teens, reckless driving, binge drinking, and unsafe sexual behavior are common.
Violence. Teenage boys, especially, can become irrationally aggressive and violent when they are depressed.
- Add Balance To Your Troubled Teen’s Life
You can enable your teen to get back on track by encouraging them to make healthy lifestyle changes, no matter what the cause of their troubles may be.
- Build a structure.
Despite their screams and arguments about rules and discipline, or their rebellion against daily structure, teens still need them. Regular mealtimes and bedtimes provide a sense of security to teens. You can also check in with your teen at the beginning and end of each day by having breakfast and dinner together.
- Reducing screen time is important.
Violence in TV shows, movies, online content, and video games has a direct effect on teens’ violent behavior. Too much screen time can adversely affect a teen’s brain development, even if he or she is not drawn to violent material. Ensure your teen gets enough sleep by limiting their time on electronic devices and limiting phone usage after a certain time at night.
- Make exercising a priority.
You can help your teen cope with depression, boost energy and mood, relieve stress, regulate sleep patterns, and improve their self-esteem by getting them to exercise regularly.
- Keep a healthy diet.
An individual’s mood can be improved, and their energy can be stabilized when they eat a healthy diet. You can lead by example. Consume more fruits and vegetables, cook more meals at home, and limit junk food.
- Make sure your teen gets enough sleep.
Sleep deprivation can cause teens to become stressed, moody, irritable, and lethargic, as well as affect their memory, concentration, decision-making skills, and immunity.
- Don’t Forget To Look After Yourself
You need to take care of yourself if you have to deal with any teenager, especially one who has behavioral problems. This includes managing your emotions and your physical needs.
Taking time to relax daily and learning how to de-stress when you become overwhelmed is important. Feeling overwhelmed, helpless, angry, or frustrated when dealing with a troubled teenager is normal. You can ease your stress by talking about your feelings.
You can even find support from others who have a relationship with your teen. It could be a school counselor, sports coach, religious leader, or anyone they trust. Dealing with a troubled teen can often unsettle the whole family. Make sure you’re paying attention to other siblings or your spouse.
While teenagers differ in their personalities, tastes, and dislikes, many characteristics are universal. Regardless of how much your teen withdraws from you emotionally, how independent they appear, or how troubled they become, they still need your attention.
Additionally, it’s worth reminding your teen that the situation can and will get better for both of you with your love and support. And when it’s necessary, the help of a professional is invaluable. With the right help and support, teens can grow up into well-balanced, happy adults despite the challenges of adolescence.