What to do if you teenager is constantly in trouble?

During a child's formative years when parents are still in absolute control, activities are often planned and supervised that parents seldom have concerns over their children's behavior. This situation changes when a child transitions from childhood to adolescence. After they have learned how to manage themselves, they try to become more independent of their parents. This "growing up" phase is characterized by self discovery, greater exposure to the outside world, and social relationships becoming more complex.

Some kids struggle with this "growing up" phase more than the others. In trying to fit in, they idolize the wrong role models, associate with the wrong crowd, make the wrong choices and subsequently, they seem to become a magnet for all the troubles that's been happening in your family lately.

So how do you manage children who seem to cannot stay away of trouble? How do you get your teenager to heed your advice? Here are some effective techniques of behavior management that should help you deal with your child on a daily basis.

Understanding your teen

As you are once a teenager yourself, it is important to understand what is going on with your teen. The teenage phase is marked by a dramatic change in behavior. For example, children start to get embarrassed by displays of affection coming from their parents. Likewise, they will tend to avoid displays of affection towards their parents. They begin favoring peer activities over family activities. They will also start idolizing certain role models, start "trying on" different looks, adopting cool "identities", and start to become aware of how much they are different from their peers. Their peers will mean everything to them and they generally will do everything just to fit in and be accepted.

As teens shift priorities shift from family centric to peer centric, expect them to miss the family outing because they have to spend time with their friends - this is perfectly normal. These aspects are usually the cause behind many episodes of distress and conflicts between parents and their teens.

At this stage, parenting styles should adapt. Parents should learn to compromise to a teen's quest for independence. Most of all, parents should still be there to provide good advice as teens struggle to create a sense of identity.

Analyze the behavior and make the appropriate response

When a baby cries, usually it is because he is hungry. Similarly, when a teen acts out, there is usually a reason behind such behavior. Therefore analyzing the behavior and getting into the root cause is the best way of solving issues. For example, you have been called by the school regarding your son's behavior. You found out that he has been bullying some kids. Upon closer check, you found out that he has been associating with known thugs in the neighborhood. At this point, you now know how to resolve the situation, which is trying to get him to distance himself from bad peer influences.

One of the best responses to a troubled kid is by becoming a supportive, caring and empathic parent. Open the lines of communication by slowly talking to him. At first, they generally will clam up and attempt to be rude to shoo you away, but eventually, you can get them to start talking. Hopefully with your constant attention, you can help him turn things around. Nurturing a positive environment at home also help a lot in making your teen feel accepted. Having meals together, going on family trips together, celebrating one's success, playing video games together, or even small thoughtful things like leaving hot dinner on the table when he gets home late, are among the hundreds of "reach out things" that you can do.

When and where to seek help

There are times when the efforts of your family alone may not be enough to cope with your teen's problems and a professional help is required. Look out for the following difficulties, as usually, you will need professional help.

  • Anger, defiance, rebelliousness
  • Substance abuse
  • Failure in school
  • Depression, low self esteem
  • Negative peer relationships, joining gangs
  • Running away
  • Lack of motivation
  • Bi polar disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Trauma related issues

In most cases, kids suffering from these difficulties usually need the help of a professional. If you don't know where to start, you send us an email regarding your problem. Alternately, you can also contact one of our featured schools at 1-800-845-1413 for expert advice.

Start early or start now

You might be wondering whether it is too late for this, but as the common proverb say "it's never too late to try". Correcting a 12 year old is no doubt easier than correcting a 16 year old. Conversely, correcting a 16 year old is easier than correcting a 28 year old; and at such age it might be too late anyway.

Good habits, if not acquired while young, is very hard to teach in adolescence. Neatness, compliance to the house rules, willingness to do chores, room cleaning, laundry, etc, all these are best taught while your kids are still young. Good study habits, an eagerness to do well in school and to excel in sports, all these are influenced into kids while they are still receptive to your instructions. If your kid has his way with videogames, very likely he will still be into videogames and less into everything when in high school or college.

Moreover, be strict in your discipline. Demand them to show respect and indoctrinate the proper values. As your children grow up, good behavior and common courtesy will be their second nature.