Difficult teenagers can make you feel as if you are really at the end of your rope. It’s hard enough to raise teens, but when your son or daughter starts behaving badly, disrespecting family members, struggling in school and otherwise jeopardizing a bright future, it’s time to take serious action. Parents who are dealing with difficult teenagers can use these 10 tips to manage the relationship better and make rational decisions.
1. Control Emotions
It’s easy for your emotions to build up as tensions with your teenager escalate, but that is the completely opposite thing to do. To neutralize the drama and take away the battle for control, remain calm and don’t raise your voice.
2. It’s Nothing Personal
When teens are lashing out and trying to deal with their frustrations, they may say or do things that are hurtful to you. These attacks can feel very personal and may hit on some areas where you have low self-esteem. If you can ignore them and don’t let them distract you, you can have a more productive interaction with your difficult teen.
3. Know the Source
It’s easy to feel like your difficult teenager is picking on you all the time, but step back and realize that they are speaking and acting from a place of pain. Remember they are not really focusing on you, but you are a convenient target. Knowing the source of their frustration isn’t you can help to discard their verbal attacks and get to the heart of the issues.
4. Step Away
Sometimes the best thing to do when you are in the middle of a confrontation with a difficult teen is to just walk away. This doesn’t mean you are conceding defeat or even admitting your teenager “wins.” Instead, it removes the biggest target of your teen’s anger, you, and let’s them have some time and space to calm down.
5. Stay Positive
Refusing to descend into a negative mental and emotional state when things are stressful is a great way to model positive behavior for your teen. Remember that even in times of stress to leave the negativity behind and act how you would want your teen to act in the same situation. Teens watch how the adults in their lives behave and it influences their own actions.
6. Set Boundaries
Teens that are being difficult cannot be allowed to do whatever they want. It’s a good idea to set up boundaries about your expectations for behavior at home and school. Discuss them during a period of calm, and outline consequences. That way, when negative things start to happen, you can both refer to those boundaries, then enforce the consequences.
7. Protect Other Family Members
Your teenager should never be allowed to pick fights, bully or otherwise harass other family members, especially younger siblings. It’s important to monitor the interaction between the troubled teen and siblings to ensure that they are not inflicting emotional harm on children.
8. Care For Yourself
Dealing with a difficult teen all the time can leave you feeling depleted and stressed out. Take time whenever you can to take care of your own needs, such as a healthy diet, exercise or meditation. When you get the chance to step away from the situation, you’ll really recharge emotionally and mentally before dealing with your teen again.
9. Get Professional Help
There are plenty of behavioral, emotional and mental health conditions that can contribute to how a difficult teenager acts and thinks. Sometimes, the only way for teens to start healing is for them to get therapy. As a parent, you need to make sure your teenager is getting counseling appropriate for their needs.
10. Consider Long-Term Care
In extreme cases, teens need more than occasional therapy and simply cannot find success in traditional schools or at home. If this happens, you should consider a specialized facility for difficult and troubled teens, like a therapeutic boarding school, residential treatment center or similar program. Blending therapy, academics and life skills lessons, these long-term programs have a wonderful success rate in helping teens turn their lives around.No matter what your difficult teen does or says, you need to keep trying to reach them. It can be frustrating and many parents feel like giving up, but every teenager deserves a second chance and the first step on the path to healing comes from parents who care enough to intervene. These 10 steps can help you and your teen begin that journey toward peace.