Abuse of any kind is incredibly difficult for a person to deal with, especially if it is something as insidious as emotional abuse. Yet, parents of emotionally abusive teenagers are in a particularly tough position.
For one thing, many parents feel ashamed to admit that their teenagers’ behavior is uncontrollable and abusive. There aren’t the same resources available for parents of abusive teens as there are for other victims of abuse, aside from enrollment in a residential treatment center for troubled teens.
If you are struggling with an emotionally abusive teen, it is essential that you address the problem before it can escalate any further.
Ways To Disarm Your Emotionally Abusive Teen
To help you disarm your emotionally abusive teen, here are some actions you can take to protect yourself and your teen from the harm they are causing.
- Set clear boundaries – Like with any discipline you implement with your teen, they should know the boundaries to their behavior. Be clear that you are done taking your teen’s emotional abuse, and if your teen engages in name-calling, rudeness, insults you, or other abusive behaviors, you will end the interaction. That may mean having them get out of the car (if safe to do so) and walking to school or have you leave the room your teen is in.
- Refuse to engage – Emotional abuse is difficult to deal with, as it relies on you refusing to engage. Anything, from telling your teen that they hurt your feelings to responding with something mean back, is not what you should do. Your teen knows they are being abusive, and you don’t want to fall into emotionally abusive behavior yourself. Refusing to engage with your teen when they are being abusive will drive the message home that their behavior is unacceptable.
- Develop a structured routine – Some teens may be more prone to lash out with abuse when they don’t have enough to positively fill their time. You don’t have to reward your teen with fun activities for being emotionally abusive, but you can set up a structured routine for them to channel their energy more positively. Such as regularly volunteering, extra tutoring, an at-home schedule that sets time for homework, family dinner, and chores, and more.
- Involve a therapist – There are several ways involving a therapist can help both you and your teen. For one thing, working with a neutral third-party can help your teen work through why they are being emotionally abusive and start to address the issues. Also, as a victim of abuse, you may also benefit from working with a therapist to help you heal. Lastly, family therapy can help the entire family comes together to air issues and find healthy ways to deal instead.
However, in some cases, even when parents do all these things, sometimes teens can continue to be abusive. For these entrenched cases, immersive therapeutic treatment at a residential treatment center may be needed.
Residential Treatment Can Help End The Cycle Of Abuse
Therapeutic boarding schools for troubled teens and residential treatment centers are immersive therapeutic environments that are designed to help troubled teens with a variety of issues. These problems can range from engaging in emotional abuse to deviant behavior.
The root of these issues can be addressed with therapeutic intervention. With therapy, trauma, mental health issues, and other triggers for maladaptive behavior can be addressed. Yet, with regular once-a-week talk therapy, there often is not enough impact made.
At a residential treatment center, teens can be in an immersive therapeutic environment. Teens will meet individually with their therapists on a weekly basis, as well as having daily group therapy, experiential therapy built into the program, and a strong focus on self-improvement.
Along with therapy, your teen can catch up on things that they have neglected, such as academics, life skills, and other essential developmental milestones.
Don’t Let Feelings Of Shame Stop You From Reaching Out
Some parents still may feel ashamed that they can’t change their teens’ abusive behavior, and believe that they shouldn’t reach out. But, instead of blaming yourself, consider this alternative.
Say your child was sick, and only the skills of doctors with the right training and tools can cure your teen. Would you insist that your duty as a parent means that you have to cure your teen on your own, or would you send your teenager to a place where they can receive the help your teen needs?
Emotional and mental health issues are valid illnesses, and parents will not always have the tools to help their teens. Instead, it makes sense to reach out to an establishment like a residential treatment center to help their teens finally receive the care and assistance they need.
If you are interested in learning more about residential treatment centers and therapeutic boarding schools to see if your teen can benefit, feel free to contact us. We look forward to helping you and your family start the healing process.