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Parenting Troubled Teens

Parenting teens is more difficult today than it's ever been, especially when you're parenting troubled teenagers. The percentage of families who find it necessary for both parents to work in order to make ends meet is approaching the number of single parent families. The days when fathers brought home the bacon and moms stayed at home to see to the children and the affairs of the home are becoming a thing of the past. While this results in less time parents have to spend with their kids, it also makes it critical that parents don't allow their occupations to negatively affect the time they do have to spend. For example, if your teen comes to you with a question and for whatever reason (fatigue, more pressing matters) you tell them "not now" or "can we talk about this later," it won't take long for them to stop coming to you with their questions and problems and begin seeking counsel elsewhere or dealing with things themselves.

The times your teen comes to you with their questions and concerns are vital opportunities to use your parenting skills. Teenagers need guidance, and the best chance you have of keeping your teens out of trouble is to become a good listener and someone they can confide in. It's often said that teens don't need you to be a friend, but rather a parent. However, parents who have the best success with their potentially troubled teens learn that being a parent and a friend aren't mutually exclusive. Even when the time comes to make the toughest of decisions parenting troubled teenagers, the best results will always come when a teen perceives the parents as allies and not adversaries.

Parenting Tips for Troubled Teenagers: It's About Time

People who claim they don't bring their work home with them are to some extent lying. The stress of most occupations can be preoccupying but if you allow that stress to come between you and your teens, you're making a mistake that may not be able to be undone. When stress from the job allows you to rationalize putting off dealing with family matters or properly parenting your troubled teenagers, stop and think about how much time you're actually being asked to give up. It's likely that shifting your mindset and tuning in to whatever question or concern your teen may have had, might cost you 5 minutes. Furthermore, becoming involved in the thought-process of your teen could help you put your work-related issues into perspective and allow you to let it go. Putting family first and spending time with them is never something you'll regret. Whereas if you allow your mind to get caught up in the day to day dramas at the work place, while letting your parental responsibilities suffer, you'll be lucky if regret is the worst of the consequences.

It's no secret that one's teen years bring insecurities by the score. Often when parenting troubled teenagers all they need is a caring word to reassure them that you've got their back and you'll be there for them regardless of their mistakes. Expressing this kind of assurance to your teen doesn't take a lot of time and can be communicated with a pat on the back or a smile. At the very least, parents should strive to give their teens the feeling that they are more important than anything else. Failing to make time for them sends the opposite message and the result is they end up getting answers to their questions from peers or working it out for themselves in whatever way they find handy which is often the first step toward trouble.

Parenting Advice for Troubled Teenagers: Prevention is the Best Solution

As obvious as this must sound, a significant percentage of problem juvenile behavior in troubled teenagers or defiant teens can be prevented if parents create an environment in the home that keeps the lines of communication open. As difficult as it may be when parenting troubled teenagers, if parents can avoid harsh or judgmental reactions when their teen confesses to whatever problem they may have encountered or an activity they may have tried, this keeps the lines of communication open. Always encourage your teens to be as open as possible and come to you first with any type of problem they may have. If they perceive you as a confidante and sounding board, they are less likely to begin closing off and perceiving you as a part of the problem they may be seeking escape from.

No one is so naive to think that this approach will always be effective when parenting troubled teenagers, but over-reacting with harsh words and ugly confrontations (though a natural knee-jerk response) is almost invariable going to drive the wedge between you and your teen even deeper. Even if a teen's behavior has become so problematic that intervention options are being considered (such as programs for troubled teenagers), remaining an ally when parenting troubled teenagers (even in the most extreme situations) is far more likely to bring about solutions and positive outcomes.

Parenting Troubled Teenagers: Keeping Your Eyes Open

It's no secret that we live in strange times that make parenting troubled teenagers even more difficult. It can seem overwhelming when you consider all of the many threatening paths out there to lead our teens into self-destructive habits and even criminal behavior. More than ever statistics prove that habitual drug use and experimentation is both a doorway that can lead teens away from being the kids we knew and a catalyst to sudden changes in behaviors that can cause them to become a stranger to family and loved ones seemingly overnight.

The reasons that lead teens into trouble with drugs, tobacco and alcohol aren't much different than when we were their age. These reasons should sound familiar to generations of parents as will many of the warning signs that all parents of teens should remain vigilant about detecting. Take our troubled teen questionnaire to see if you may need further help for your teen.

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