If you find that you’re struggling with a troubled teen, you may feel very isolated from family and friends who may not be familiar with the same types of issues that you’re facing. In these types of situations, it’s very normal to feel isolated and alone. But it’s important to know that you truly are not alone when it comes to trying to manage your teen’s behavior and get him the help that he needs.
It’s also good to keep in mind that the sooner you seek out help for your troubled teen, the sooner you’ll be able to protect them from the consequences of poor behavior. The safety and well-being of your teen who is struggling with behavioral, mental health, or emotional issues should always be at the forefront of your mind and the minds of those who are working with you.
Defining a troubled teen
Most teens, by nature, are going to go through emotional and behavioral ups and downs that can frustrate parents. But there is a marked difference between a teen who is a bit more emotional, showing more anger and frustration, and seeking more independence from the family and one who is at risk of serious trouble.
Some of the signs that your teen is troubled and in need of help may include the following.
- Sudden behavioral or mood changes.
- Being quick to anger or getting angry over issues that don’t warrant an angry response.
- No longer enjoying time taking part in activities, sports, or hobbies that he once loved.
- Withdrawing from his family and isolating himself as much as he can.
- Withdrawing from his friends, even those he was once really close with.
- Expressing sadness, anxiety, or fears that may relate to depression or an anxiety disorder.
- Self-harm, which could encompass physically hurting himself or an eating disorder.
- Thoughts or attempts of suicide.
- Drinking alcohol or taking drugs, whether frequent use or serious addiction.
- Struggles at school, which may include dropping grades, skipping school entirely, or getting into fights at school.
- Violent and aggressive behavior that may include physical fights with other people and destroying property that doesn’t belong to them.
If you’ve seen some or all of these concerns in your teen, you may not know where to start to get him the right type of help.
Managing a troubled teen
So, just where and how do you start to manage the struggles and behaviors you’re seeing in your teenager? One of the first things that you should do is to make sure that you are getting the right type of support for yourself. Consider the metaphor of an emergency on a plane. They often instruct parents to put the oxygen mask on their own face first so that they can then help the children around them. If you’re not getting oxygen or support, you won’t be in as strong of a positive to help your children. Whether this support takes the form of therapy, support groups with other parents, or family and friend support, it’s important that you have it to lean on when things get difficult.
From here, there are a few directions that you may want to consider with your troubled teen.
- Getting him into one or more types of therapy. This could include family therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), or peer support therapy. These types of programs are not intended to be a cure for those who attend them. They are designed to help identify and address the underlying concerns that may be responsible for your teen’s behavior. Be aware that it can sometimes take a bit of trial and error to find the therapist or peer support group that your teen resonates with.
- Meditation, yoga, hiking, and other outdoor activities. Some teens may benefit from spending time working on their physical wellness. Not only does it allow them to get moving and see things from a new perspective, but it can help to give teens the time that they need to focus and refocus.
- Prescription medication. This is not always the right option for every teen. If your troubled teen is working with medical and mental health professionals, they can carefully assess whether your teen can benefit from medications that may help him to manage some of the symptoms of the mental health concerns that he’s struggling with. This may include anxiety and depression.
- Residential treatment programs. If your other efforts to help manage your troubled teen’s behavior haven’t been getting the results that you need, you may find that it’s time to get him into a more intensive treatment program. Residential treatment programs can offer trouble teens the intensive therapy they need in an environment that is structured to provide them with the support that they need. The therapeutic programs will be tailored to meet the needs of your teen so that he’ll be able to focus better on his future.
While it’s understandable if you feel like you’re failing your troubled teen if you have to send him to a program that’s away from home, this is not at all true. A teen who has been struggling so much and with so much may not be able to heal and recover in the same environment that’s led to him getting to this point. Consider that some of the external influences in his life, such as other family members or friends at school, could be doing him more harm than good. By getting your teen into a program that addresses his needs by understanding the root cause of his concerns, your teen will have a much-improved chance of repairing damaged relationships and moving forward in the right direction.
Are you ready to learn more about the types of resources you have available to you, so that you can better help your troubled teen? Call HelpYourTeenNow. We will listen and hear each of your concerns and struggles so that we can point you in the direction of the type of treatment that might be the best option for your teen.
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