When your little one was born, there are good odds you were warned about the terrible twos and threes being the most problematic years to deal with. In truth, the pre-teen and teen years can bring with them the most challenges for parents.
Your teen may be slipping at school, seeing sharp decreases in grades, and simply not caring about school. He may also be ignoring the rules of your home, acting out, being rebellious, and talking back.
What should your next steps be? What options do you have to address teenage defiant behavior?
Starting with therapy
Therapy is always one of the best places to start when your teen displays troublesome behavior and decision-making. Not only can therapy help establish the reasons your teen is acting out, but it can help him to learn healthy coping skills for the things he may struggle with during the teen years.
Therapy is also an excellent option for every member of the family. Parents and children alike can benefit from working through the struggles and mental health concerns that they are facing. Individual therapy and family therapy can be great places to start.
Your therapists will also prove to be great sources of information about what your family is struggling with. They can provide resources that may include peer support groups, teen group activities, and outpatient options for therapy.
Coping at home
You may be wondering how to respond to a defiant teenager at home. Perhaps he’s arguing and talking back, getting angry and slamming doors, refusing to do his chores, skipping school, or staying out past curfew.
This can be difficult to deal with and creates instability and fear in your home. You may get to the point where you’re afraid to engage with your teen. Other members of the family could also become nervous about interactions with your angry teenager.
Here are a few things you could try.
- Evaluate the rules of the house to make sure every member of the family clearly understands them. They should be age-appropriate but still fair for every person.
- Reinforce the rules and ensure that you are following through. This means making sure that you issue appropriate consequences when needed.
- Get support from everyone in the family. All parents should be on board with household rules. It can be difficult to establish cohesive rules if parents don’t live with one another and your teen is going between two homes during the week. But it is essential to try and get everyone on the same page. Not doing so will have your teen to start to pit parents against each other.
- Establish a schedule for everyone. If children and teens know what is expected of them, they’ll be able to stick with it and adjust their behavior as needed. For example, if your teen needs to take the trash out every evening at 6, it should be on the schedule, so there are no excuses not to get it done. The schedule should also include time for homework and studying, but also time to unwind, play, and relax.
If your teen has been aggressive and violent, be sure that you get help from the authorities. No one deserves to feel unsafe in their own home.
Getting your teenager the right type of help
If you’re wondering how to help a defiant teenager beyond therapy and buckling down on the household rules, there are a few things to consider.
- · Is your teen violent and aggressive?
- · Has your teen been diagnosed with depression, ADHD, or other mental health concerns?
- · Has he been struggling in school, skipping classes, and seeing tanking grades?
- · Does your teen seem to be getting into fights at school with peers and teachers?
- · Do you feel like you’ve tried everything possible to try and get your teen back on track?
If you’re feeling frustrated and overwhelmed, it might be the right time to consider finding a solution for your teen that goes beyond outpatient therapy once or twice a week. Alternative school options, including therapeutic boarding schools, military-style schools, and similar educational options, are a great choice for families
Scared-straight programs have been widespread but are not always the best choice. The reason is that these programs quite often don’t address the underlying concerns that could be responsible for your teen’s behavioral changes.
If a child or teen is struggling with unresolved trauma or a mental health disorder, he won’t be able to get the proper treatment he needs to get his life on track in a healthy way.
Outpatient treatment facilities are an option to consider. There are often facilities in or near most cities. Here, your teen will be able to spend his days getting the therapeutic solutions that he needs while also being able to focus on getting and keeping his education on track.
This may be the right option for your teen, but it also may not help address some of the issues you and your teen are having at home. They are an excellent option if therapy alone isn’t working and you’re not yet ready to consider a residential treatment center.
There’s so much to be said about a residential treatment option that provides a teen with the structure he needs as he learns and grows. It’s important to consider of do accompany a residential treatment center.
Your teen will not only get that all-important therapeutic treatment he needs and get his education on track, but he will have the opportunity to learn a range of life skills. He’ll learn to be responsible for taking care of his own living space, learn to help his peers, learn to work with and lead his peers, enjoy great outdoor activities, and so much more.
At HelpYourTeenNow we work diligently to pair parents and teens with the help and resources they need when spiraling out of control. If you feel like you’re out of options, our team can help to give you the resources and relief you need.