Parents of troubled teens are often caught in difficult situations. On the one hand, they want to help their teen find an answer for the problems that have led them to behave in a challenging way or rebel against authority. On the other hand, troubled teens may not be ready to accept help from their parents- especially if they think it means admitting that they need to behave differently.
In fact, many teenagers will reject any form of parental involvement because they believe this will only make things worse and lead to more punishment from teachers or school officials. Positive relationships between parents and teenagers are essential for social and emotional development in adolescence.
By comparison with their childhood years,, adolescents experience more intense emotions in both positive and negative ways. It’s part of their development into adulthood and it can be challenging for parents to remember what it was like being a teenager.
So how can you reach out? And what kind of support should you offer? Let’s take a look at some ways in which you can understand your teenager’s emotional development without fearing rejection.
What troubled teens need
As adolescents transition from childhood to adulthood, they begin to spend less time with their parents and more time with peers but It’s essential for your teenager to have a relationship with their parents.
They need guidance, understanding, and love.. Teenagers also need to know that they are never too old for parental guidance or love.
It helps teenagers if they can talk about what is troubling them with an adult whom they trust. Making sure they have someone that they can talk to about their problems is crucial. Alternatively, a teen who struggles at home might find it helpful talking to his/her teacher, coach, counsellor, school psychologist, family doctor, or religious counsellor.
The person they confide in should be willing to listen and help them understand the best way to deal with certain situations. This person should give constructive advice which helps your teen take care of themselves.
The best person for your teen to confide in is YOU! Make sure you take the time to know what they are going through. Try not to tell them that everything will be all right if it isn’t.
In troubled teens, LOVE is the most vital aspect of their life.
If your teen knows that you love them unconditionally, they will often turn to you when they need someone.
You can also try to include your child in your daily life by taking them on errands, going out for lunch or spending time with them after school. Even if it’s difficult at first and they may appear uninterested, they will eventually appreciate being included in your life, and these small gestures will help build a bond between you both.
How to help troubled teenagers
The first thing that you can do is to try and understand and empathise with your teen. Teenagers often feel alone and misunderstood by their family members, which can cause an emotional rift when confiding in someone.
Teens need to know that they are not alone in their distresses or troubles. Offer guidance, love, and understanding more than anything else and always make sure that any advice is constructive.
When it comes to troubled teenagers, especially those who may be struggling with substance abuse, it is crucial for the parents to set boundaries on where they can go and what they can do.
While setting rules and boundaries is essential it’s also best to make sure you’re balanced in your approach. Target the behaviour and not the person and develop an understanding of how the teenage brain shapes your adolescent’s behaviour .
Provide opportunities for them to do things independently to show you trust them but also so that they can demonstrate that you can trust them. If these boundaries are crossed or trust is broken, it is equally important for adolescent development that there are follow- up consequences.
Parents should keep in mind that technology only supplements face-to-face communication; it does not replace it or make it unnecessary. Actually talking to your teenager is often an excellent way to get to the bottom of what’s happening in their lives. It helps if you are involved in an activity like walking the dog or cooking as this can feel less exposing for your teen. If this doesn’t work, then trying to engage them via a text, calling or sending a letter can be used to open a dialogue.
Keep them busy. Taking part in extracurricular activities with others is great for teenagers as It allows them to learn from each other.
It’s important to keep teens busy to reduce challenging behaviour and negative interactions with peers when it comes to adolescent development. It’s helpful to encourage teens to have hobbies and take part in sports teams or clubs.
These are good things to do with teenagers because they help them learn how to communicate, keep them in a safe environment and help them with any negative emotions they might be feeling.
If your child has problems talking with their peers, family or trusted adults, then it might be time to take a different approach. They can benefit from seeing a school counsellor, family therapist, mental health counsellor, social worker, or specialist (if applicable). It is crucial to find someone suitable who has experience of working with teens.
How to Deal with Disrespectful behaviour
Disrespectful behaviour, which is often described by parents as “bad behaviour” in teenagers is common and is part of the process of growing up. It’s sometimes a way in which the adolescent gets attention when there are very few positive interactions going on.
The best thing to do is usually ignore or disregard any such behaviour as long as it is not harming the teen or anyone else and does not involve destroying things. Often, a neutral response from parents can be an effective means of disarming the situation and not feeding them the reaction they want.
Just as with toddlers, do not give in to “bad behaviour”. It is usually a sign that your teenager is struggling with some difficult emotions and doesn’t know what to do.
Ways in which technology can be helpful for troubled teens and their parents
Technology is a potential solution for teenagers and their parents. There are many options that both can use to communicate with each other. For example, teens can use the internet to contact a crisis helpline provider through text or chat messages.
One of the best ways to stay close with your child is through written communication. While it’s important to not always rely on technology, texting, calling or sending a letter are all great forms of written communication. Sometimes this can be the key to opening up further communication.
In some instances, all that is needed is a quick check-in. It can be better for teens if they are able to have more control over what they want to discuss without feeling too vulnerable or emotionally exposed. Trust is a marathon, not a sprint.
Tips for parents on how to stay close with troubled teens:
– Be available both in-person and via other forms of communication. Troubled teens need a lot of attention when going through tough times but don’t always want to be approached. Be accommodating; use whatever methods that work best for them.
– Make your teenager feel loved and wanted. They may not always feel like this from other people, so you must step up to the plate and show them that you love them.
– Validate their feelings. It sounds simple, but it can make a big difference in a teen’s day if you validate how they feel and acknowledge why they feel the way they do. Let them know that what they’re feeling is understandable and valid.
– Let your child know that you are there for them, and they can come to you with anything, anytime. That you’ll never judge or look down on them.
– It’s important that parents stay updated on what their child is up to at all times, especially for teens that are easily influenced. Do your best to understand their situation and provide them with support. Always come from a point of understanding and empathy.
– Stay on course, emotions get the better of teenagers sometimes, and it can be challenging to stay grounded in tough situations. It’s important to remain calm and to persevere.
– Let your teenager know that you are trying to understand what they’re going through, even if you don’t have the exact same experiences. Sometimes a similar perspective can open up a dialogue about what is happening.
– It’s essential to be honest with your child and make them feel like they can come to you for anything at any time. Keep confidences told to you and respect their feelings. It’s important though to get expert help if what they are telling you puts them or others at risk. If you need to tell someone else, let your teen know how and when you are going to do this and why.
Troubled teens need a lot of help, and teenagers can be difficult to reach. In this article, we’ve covered some important points for getting closer to understanding teen behaviour and how you can provide the support they need in their time of difficulty.
It may seem like they don’t want anything to do with their parents or that all your parenting efforts are going unheeded, but remember: troubled kids just want love more than anything else. Be there for them when they ask for it, and remember that technology can be an alternative method of communication. But always try to move on from non-verbal communication, use technology as a stepping stone, not a replacement.