The teenage years are particularly difficult for parents of teenage boys. In fact, residential treatment centers for troubled teens often work far more with teenage boys rather than girls.
If you have been feeling disconnected from your teenage son and want to reconnect as well as rediscover who your boy really is, we have some advice for you.
Take A Step Back And Re-Examine Your Teen Son
When parents become frustrated with their children’s behavior, it can be tough to resist the urge to push for their children to change or at least communicate about their poor behavior. But, before you approach your son about his next transgression, whether it’s about undone chores or a failed test, take a moment and take a step back to re-examine your son.
As you consider why he is acting out, the knowledge can help you realize why your son is behaving the way he is currently. Some common issues which can alter your son’s behavior are:
- Depression – Teenagers with depression often become withdrawn and often stop participating in everything from school to home life. If there has been a significant change in your son’s life which could have triggered a depressive episode such as a breakup, school move, loss of a loved one, or other life-altering change, this could be why your son is not responding to you. There is also the possibility that even without a life event trigger, your son may naturally suffer from depression or other mental health issues.
- Bullying – If your teenage son is experiencing bullying, whether at school or during his extracurricular activities, it can lead him to alter his behavior. Often, when teens are bullied, they turn inward with their feelings, and some opt to cope with the bullying with isolation and substance abuse. If your son is the bully, that is another issue. Generally, a need for security, self-esteem, and peer pressure is what causes children to turn to bullying others.
- Fear of failure – Should your son become spontaneously lazy in your eyes, this change can be rooted in his fear of failure. Older teens can become overwhelmed when they realize that they will soon be expected to make serious life decisions about their future. This can leave your son paralyzed with indecision and fear, leading him to avoid thinking about it and becoming immersed in distractions like video games, and other hobbies.
If these issues have become more serious and are beyond your normal resources to handle, you may want to consider a boarding school or residential treatment center. With regular therapy and specialized programs to help troubled teens, your boy may begin to flourish again.
Ways You Can Reconnect With Your Son
Once you have a better idea of what your son may be struggling with, there are several ways you can approach him to try and reconnect. Several ways we recommend you try to reconnect with your son are:
- Keep your talks with your son one-on-one. That way, he can feel more comfortable opening up with you without an audience.
- Ask your son open-ended questions to encourage better answers.
- Set up weekly activities where it is just you and your son, so the two of you can reconnect.
- Stay calm during your attempts at conversing. It can become frustrating if your son stonewalls you, but becoming upset or angry won’t help.
- Give your son time to process what you are saying.
If you feel like your son needs further help but aren’t sure what programs are out there which can help, you can contact us for advice.
Help Your Teen Now is a parent advocacy group that is dedicated to helping parents find the right troubled teen program to help their son or daughter. We provide our services for free, so everyone can avail themselves of our help.
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