There are over 41 million teenagers in the United States according to the 2015 census. Out of the 41 million children between the ages of 10 and 19, a significant portion has what children and family behavioral analysts would quantify as moderate to severe behavioral issues.
There are two conclusions you can draw from that reality if you’re a parent struggling with troubled teens. First, know that it’s common for children to display behavior problems during their teenage years. Second, know that if the problems your teen is giving you go beyond what seems normal, you’re not alone.
It can be a struggle to help your kids through behavioral struggles and guide them towards the right path so they can become successful as adults.
To help you on your journey of building bridges with your troubled teens, our team has put together this brief list of strategies you should consider leveraging.
1. Give Your Teenager a Real Opportunity to Talk
More often than not, troubled teens are a bi-product of a troubled life. That’s not to say that the life you’re providing your teen with is sub-par and consequently, responsible for their behavioral problems.
Having a troubled life as a teenager can stem from a number of things.
School pressures. Friend troubles. Coming to terms with their talents and limits… The list is endless.
To better understand where your teen is coming from when they act out and hopefully strengthen you and your child’s camaraderie, let them know the lines of communication are wide open between you and them.
You can do this by saying something along the lines of, “I’ve noticed a change in your behavior and I want to understand where you’re coming from. I get that it can be difficult to talk to a parent but I just want you to know that I’m always on your team and you can tell me anything.”
Don’t be offended if it takes a couple of tries to get a response. When your teen does open up to you, always be a great listener and on their side.
2. Let Your Teen Know Where You’re Coming From
Troubled teens often have a limited world-view. This is because they are hyper-focused on their own issues and also because all young people have a limited perspective on the world having not faced down all of its realities yet.
The best thing you can do to better communicate with your teen is let them know why you have the concerns you have and what you’re struggling with.
If your teenager seems upset over household activities, let them know why those activities are occurring. Maybe your teen wants a more luxurious lifestyle than you can afford. If so, let them know where you’re at financially and why you have limits.
Maybe your teen is having trouble processing relationship issues going on in your house. If so, help your teen understand why things happen the way that they do and why they may be for the better.
3. Always Move Your Teen Towards Healthy Behaviors
Make no mistake, the way you act is going to have a profound impact on the way your children act. This process of “modeled behavior” can be incredibly empowering to you as a parent or extremely destructive.
To reduce the amount of trouble your teen finds themselves in during this critical time in their lives, do your best to model outstanding habits.
These habits can include exercising regularly and encouraging your teen to join you, volunteering to develop empathy skills, participating in healthy relationships and more.
Remember, serious addictions such as teens addicted to pornography, smoking, and alcohol are more often than not issues adopted from parental observation.
Be sure your teenager always has a good household model.
4. Develop a Network of Support For Your Children
No matter how hard you try, some messages are going to be hard for your teenage children to swallow when they come from you. In order to quicken the pace of the rehabilitation process for your troubled teens, consider reaching out to other adults in your community for support.
From school guidance counselors to other members of teen risk aversion groups, there are local resources where you can search for a mentor for your teenager. While it can be hard to turn over the mentorship role to another adult, for parents that truly want what’s best for their kids, it can be an excellent option.
5. Start Early
If you’re already in the middle of your teenager’s behavioral issues, you are going to be in a place where you’re trying to help manage and make improvements. If you’re a parent who is trying to be preventative in troubled teen issues, you’re going to have more options.
The sooner you help your children develop constructive outlets for their emotions, give them activities to use their time productively and build trust, the better chance you’ll have of creating a well-adjusted teen when those years hit.
Wrapping Up Tips for Dealing With Troubled Teens
Troubled teens are a common issue across America and can create a lot of stress in parents and tension in a household. To help your troubled teen move past the destructive feelings they have, we recommend leaning on our tips above.
A combination of these parenting strategies should help you either reverse or curb negativity in your teenager and help you better prepare them for adulthood.
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