Being a teen isn’t always easy. As someone who survived their teenage years, you’re probably all too aware that the hormonal changes, social pressures, and competing priorities of your teen years can make this a turbulent time in anyone’s life. However, some teens struggle harder with the transition than others. It can be easy to go too far with their newfound sense of independence and freedom and push boundaries a little too far by partaking in risky behaviors like drinking or drugs, or otherwise behaving disrespectfully or irresponsibly.
If you’re dealing with a teen who’s facing some struggles, consider these ways to support your troubled teenager through tough times:
Establish rules and set boundaries.
Your teen may be under the impression that they can do whatever they’d like. Having a serious conversation to discuss actions and behaviors that are not permitted – and the consequences that will follow – may help them understand it’s time to buckle down and tighten up their act. Most importantly, you need to be ready to follow through on the promises you make. If your teen believes there are no real repercussions to their actions, they won’t be very motivated to follow your rules.
Help your teen redirect negative energy.
Sometimes, teens can harbor a lot of negativity. With no healthy outlet to release that tension, it’s easy to understand how they can be driven to make poor decisions. Instead of leaving them to deal with these feelings on their own, if your teen has a lot of anger or frustration, you might want to help them find a healthy outlet to release that pent up energy. Martial arts or kickboxing can be a great way to relieve stress, burn calories, and get into shape, but any other tough physical – or mental – challenge can be a great way to redirect your teen’s negativity.
Consider a therapist.
Getting sent to therapy might not make your teen very happy, but they might be surprised to find how helpful it can be to have someone to simply speak to about their problems. Whether your teen is depressed, angry, confused, or simply not sure how they feel, a therapist will help them work through their emotions and come to logical conclusions that would be tough to reach on their own. Teaching your teen to cope with their problems in a healthy way is an invaluable lesson for them to learn.
Lead by example.
Teens are smart and observant, and they learn by example. If you don’t manage your anger well or make good decisions as a parent, your teen won’t be very motivated to do the same. Even if you’re dealing with a teen in the middle of a meltdown, you shouldn’t allow frustration to get the best of you. Instead, try to keep your cool and show your teen you don’t have to lose it when faced with a frustrating situation.
Parenting a troubled teen isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but there are plenty of steps you can take to help uncover the problem and help your teenager handle their issues.
Have you found any tips or techniques that have helped you keep your teen on the right course? If so, leave a comment and let me know!