What can I do if my teenager is out of control?

Do you find yourself dreading engaging with your teen?

Has your home recently been a source of stress more than it’s been a refuge from the world outside?

If your teen is out of control, it’s going to take a toll on so many aspects of your life. It’s also going to take a toll on your mental health and your ability to cope with other stressors in your life.

What can you do for your troubled teen and how can you help them and restore balance in your home?

Prioritize self-care

It can feel counterintuitive to a parent to put themselves first over their child. But you need to remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup. If you are not prioritizing your needs and the needs of others in your home above the needs of your out-of-control teen, you are going to find it hard to cope.

What this looks like can vary based upon the dynamics of your home and based on what is most important to you. Some examples of self-care include:

  • Get therapy for yourself. Therapy can help you work through your mental health concerns and help you learn coping skills, de-escalation tactics, and communication skills to reign in your out-of-control teen.
  • Determine if medication is the right choice for you. With an out-of-control teen, you may struggle with depression and anxiety. There are some prescription medications that your doctor can prescribe. Not everyone will respond well to medications, so be mindful of this.
  • Your job doesn’t need to come last. It is tempting to drop everything at work and focus solely on your angry teen. However, without your source of income, your family is going to be in an even more difficult situation. Don’t sacrifice your career because you need to bail your teen out of another situation constantly.
  • Get some time away. If your teen has another parent living out of the home, it can be helpful for all parties if you get some space between you. You’ll be able to breathe for a bit and can start to work on your game plan for helping your troubled teen find their way back to stability and better behavior.

So, while it may feel like you’re selfish by putting yourself first for just a bit, rest assured that you are not.

Keep everyone safe

The type of behaviors that your teen is engaging in could be putting their physical safety in danger. It could also be threatening to other children in your home. Safety should be one of your first thoughts when your teen is out of control.

If your teen is physically violent, do not hesitate to get help from law enforcement. No one wants to think of their teen being taken to jail, but if they are physically violent, it’s important to remove them from the situation. Many teens also respond positively after experiencing something scary like time behind bars.

If your teen is engaging in risky sexual behaviors, they need to be seen by a medical professional who can ensure they are healthy. A medical professional can also help advise your teen on safe sex methods and potentially help to remind them of just how dangerous their behavior truly is.

If there are younger children in the home, it can be good to send them to stay with friends or another relative for a few days or weeks. This will protect them from becoming the target of their sibling’s rage. It will also allow you the focus you need for your teen who is struggling with something.

Keep prescription medications secured. Keep any alcohol or drugs, legal or not, secured away from the reach of your teen.

Once everyone is as safe as can be managed, the process of helping your teen find their way back to clarity and control can begin.

Get to the bottom of the behavior

What is the root of your teen’s out-of-control behavior?

In some cases, you may be able to pinpoint their behavior to a significant change in their life. In other situations, you may not know why your teen started to act out and display out-of-character behaviors.

It could be that your teen has been struggling with ADHD, ADD, or another learning disorder. Teens who struggle with learning disorders, whether treated or untreated, may develop conduct disorder or even oppositional defiant disorder. It can often look like your teen is out of control.

For other struggling teens, the source of their poor behavior can be due to abuse, loss of someone special, or problems within the family. Whether the death of a parent or a divorce of parents, the events can trigger anger, confusion, and conflicting emotions that lead to a teen acting out.

Some teens may be having difficulties at school. They may be struggling with peer pressure, bullies, or too much of a workload.

Several reasons could be leading to your teen acting out and soon becoming out of control, but it would help if you got to the bottom of what is causing their behavior change. By understanding what’s beneath their behavior, you’ll be in a better position to get them the right type of help.

What does a spiraling teen look like?

You may feel completely helpless watching your teen spiral out of control. At times, it can feel as if it came out of nowhere. Many teens show subtle warning signs before they begin acting out, you just need to know what they look like.

Red flags of a ten spiraling out of control:

  • A complete refusal to follow any rules at home or school.
  • Disrespect for parents, teachers, and other adults.
  • Open rebelliousness and defiance.
  • Threats of self-harm or suicide.
  • Signs of depression, anxiety, and isolation from family and friends.
  • Mood swings that seem almost explosive at times.
  • Hurting siblings or other small children.
  • Hurting pets or any animals purposefully.
  • Staying out past curfew, breaking, and entering, and other illegal activities.
  • Using alcohol and or drugs.
  • Being secretive.
  • Sudden changes in academic performance.

What can you do to help your teen?

Parents who reach the end of their ability to cope need to find new solutions help their out-of-control teen.

Some possible interventions that may help your teen include:

  • Therapy for the individual and the family as a whole.
  • Medication options, as suggested by medical professionals.
  • Intervention from the school, particularly in the case of bullying.
  • Transitioning to a therapeutic boarding school.

Deciding to send your teen to a therapeutic boarding school is not one that comes easy to most parents. However, there is nothing wrong with getting the right type of help to meet the needs of your troubled teen. In these supportive environments, teens will get the right kind of therapy to meet their needs. In addition, teens will be afforded the ability to get and keep their education on track.

At Help Your Teen Now, we can connect you with the resources that you need to help your troubled teens face and recover from the concerns that they are struggling with. Your out-of-control teen will be able to get the support and care needed to restore a sense of control and normalcy to their lives.

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