While it’s not the worst thing to have some bad habits as a teenager, the sooner teens are aware of these poor habits and take steps to address them, the less likely they will struggle with these habits in adulthood. Also, if some of these bad habits aren’t curtailed, they can be the first steps to more serious issues.
Among more severely troubled teenagers, there are seven poor habits that you can identify as ones that can lead to more serious problems in the future. By knowing what these habits are, you can start working with your teen now to prevent eventual problems down the road.
One habit that can easily carry over into adulthood is procrastination. In teens, they may not have as many responsibilities to procrastinate as adults, but for teenagers struggling with procrastination, schoolwork, and chores are often the tasks that are put off for later. The problem is that the “later” promised time never comes.
To help your teen break the habit of procrastination, you can do a couple of things. For one, you can simply say that there is no “later” and if your teen wants to do fun things, such as hang out with friends or relax, homework and chores come first.
2. Oversleeping And Staying Up Too Late
Generally, oversleeping and staying up too late go hand-in-hand, as teens try to cram in more fun time by sacrificing sleep. However, by cutting sleep short, research shows that teen development can be stunted, and teenagers are more likely to struggle with emotional and behavioral control.
Something that can help your teen get into a more regular bedtime routine is to set an electronics bedtime, where phones, TVs, and other devices are put away. Without the draw to keep scrolling on their smartphones or watch one more episode, many teens find it easier to go to sleep.
3. Refuse To Accept Responsibilities
While many teens are bucking to act more like adults and do things like getting jobs and driving, some teenagers may try to cling to childhood and refuse further responsibilities. This habit can become particularly damaging, resulting in teenagers who grow into young adults that have little to no direction in life and who are still living in their parents’ homes.
For many of these teens, anxiety is often at the root of their refusal to accept new responsibilities, not laziness. While there may be a touch of laziness in why teens rather have someone else take charge, it is important to understand when your kid needs emotional support to push through their anxieties to take on new responsibilities.
4. Lackluster Hygiene
With all the hormonal changes teenagers are experiencing, it is no surprise that things might get a little odiferous. While younger kids can get away with lackluster hygiene, even teens who have excellent hygiene can have a hard time staying fresh. For a teen who has sketchy hygiene practices, this bad habit can impact their relationships with others.
Something that might help is having your teen’s input on their personal hygiene products. While younger kids will often accept your choices of shampoo, toothpaste, and other hygiene products without questions, teens often are looking for more autonomy. So, when possible, have your teen pick out things like body wash, deodorant, etc. It can encourage them to practice better hygiene.
5. Talking Back
Nothing like talking back gets parents to want to send their kids to a military school or teen boot camp. But having your teen talking back can actually be turned into a good thing if you approach it from the view that at least your teen is still talking to you.
In some cases, it may be best to ignore back-talk, especially if it is clear that your teen is simply baiting you. Some fights aren’t worth having. However, if you do need to keep talking to your back-talking teen, keep calm and civil. With your example, your teenager will be more likely to calm down and communicate properly.
6. Poor Eating Habits
Another troubling habit your teen may be engaging in is poor eating habits. Either end of the eating spectrum—over- or under-eating—can have highly damaging consequences. It is best to stop these habits while young before the consequences result in serious health complications.
Stocking your fridge and pantry with healthy, easy-to-eat snacks and foods—i.e., fruit, cut up veggies, whole wheat bread, eggs, etc.—and reducing the amount of processed foods can make a significant difference. Also, teaching your teen about proper nutrition, rather than fad diets and pop nutrition, can help them make more informed food choices.
7. Consistently Lying
Lying is a pretty common habit for teens, which most teens learn to regulate. However, if your teen chooses to lie even when it doesn’t make sense, it’s time to consider a few things.
Some parents may say that their teen won’t get in trouble if they are honest, yet still, get upset and punish their teens when they confess honestly. This kind of behavior encourages lying, as there is no benefit to being honest with their parents in the teen’s mind. If you make statements about the importance of truth, be clear to outline the consequences of lying and what will happen if your teen confesses to something that does require discipline.
If you are concerned that you haven’t been able to curtail the bad habits your teen is engaging in and that they are becoming worse, you can always contact us, the parental advisors here at Help Your Teen Now. We can advise you whether or not a troubled teen program is a good fit for your teen, and provide you with resources to help your teen get back on the right track.