Family counseling is a good place to start with a teen who is struggling at home with more minor things such as defiance, lying, failing in school, etc. We have found that often times family counseling does not work with teens but occasionally it does. The reason it often does not work is that one or two hours a week and then right back to the same school and friends doesn't usually produce the needed pull that will dislodge a teen from the negative rut are stuck in. If this is the route that you are inclined to try first please observe a few suggestions from us.
1. Find a psychologist or a counselor who has the same values found in the home. If the dynamics are not the same the therapist could become a catalyst for more problems. We have heard too many horror stories from parents who thought they were doing a good thing by having their teen in counseling only to find out that the counselor was advising their teen to do things the parents did not agree with. We have found that a certificate of education does not fully qualify one to provide solutions to problems. Interview prospective therapists and make sure their morals and values and in line with yours. Discuss your teens problems and make sure their solutions will be in harmony with what you want.
2. Once a trusted therapist is found make sure you are sitting in on the sessions with your teen. It doesn't do a bit of good to have the teen go through counseling and the parents not be a part of finding and creating possible solutions. Often times there are adjustments that each individual family member can make to help things to turn around. Be open to change.
3. The therapist should be giving regular assignments for parents and teens. These assignments/goals should be the method of forward movement.
4. Change is very difficult for everyone. If it seems like the process is too easy be leery. When true change is made mountains are climbed. A good therapist is not necessarily going to be your best friend. He/She will often tell you and your teen things you do not want to hear. Remember change takes lots of time and can be very difficult. Be patient.