If you are the parent of a teenager, you very well know the feeling of attempting to raise an animal in the wild. Taming teenage problems can be compared to teaching a wild lion to shake. The good news is that there are techniques to communicate with your teen and make them feel as if you are on the same team. These teenage problems, or “angst” if you will, are only temporary, as you know since you’ve been there once before as well.
As you may remember from your teenage years, growing up is terrifying. The struggles of fitting in in school to wondering who you are or whom you’ll become to finding hormones and puberty, it’s an emotional rollercoaster of a ride. Often, teens will result to lying, aggression, substance abuse, sexual activities, self-harm, eating disorders, and much more just to feel a part of in this confusing time. Teenagers definitely know how to push a parent’s button and even manipulate the parents to turn against each other. Instinctively, teens come with a bundle of tools they use to avoid getting into trouble or punished, to get what they want, or to flat out blow a parent’s fuse of frustration. As a parent, how are you supposed to prepare for all of this? How can you cope and deal with these teenage problems? There are ways; keep reading.
If you have attempted any way at all in dealing with your problematic teen, it may have gone unsuccessfully. There are, however, smart ways to counteract your teen’s problems and manipulations. With all of these teenage problems, it can’t be easy keeping the peace in your household or your own peace of mind.
- Remain calm- Slow and steady wins the race. Your teen wants to push your buttons and thrives off of your reaction; don’t give them one.
- Define expectations clearly- Make sure your teen knows exactly what you expect from them and their behavior.
- Tough love- Your job as a parent is NOT to be a best friend. You want to find that healthy balance where they feel safe coming to you with problems or advice, but also that you have the authorities and that boundaries are crucial.
- Lay down the law and enforce consequences- Consequences are vital in humanity, especially in teens. Consequences help set healthy boundaries and provide a constructive mold into adulthood.
- Be sure to keep your perspective- Don’t get lost in teenage problems and behaviors. Maintain your vision as to want you want out of you and your teen in the long run.
- Hold your ground and don’t cave in- Your teen CAN smell fear. The moment they think they can persuade you to lean any bit to the left, they will.
- Remind them that you love them- More than anything, your teen is in a fragile time in their life and more than anything, need to feel and be loved and supported.
- Be present- Make sure to keep tabs on your teen so that you may keep tabs on your teens behavior. Out of sight, out of mind.
- The small things count, applaud them- If you notice your teen making efforts, no matter how small they may be, notice them and let your teen know that it’s appreciated. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but the willingness to change is a great start.
- Live by your values- You need to model the behavior you want to see out of your teen. Often, a teen will see what you do more than what you say. Be a good role model.
HELP FOR TEENAGE PROBLEMS
There are times where these tips just won’t be enough. If you, as a parent, have hit a wall and have no clue what to do next with your teen and their behavior, there is help. Whether it’s drug or alcohol abuse, self-harm, eating disorder, anxiety, depression, mental health, Key Transitions can help. For more information, call Key Transitions now at 800.421.4364.