It is fairly inevitable that your teen will pick up some bad habits at some point throughout their teenage years. Many of these habits are harmless such as chewing on their nails and excessively tapping. But, for some troubled teens who need more help, major stress such as the loss of a loved one, parents’ divorce, relocation, and other significant changes, can lead to the development of truly negative habits.
Most teens will not be able to overcome their negative coping methods on their own, and it is important that they learn to while still living at home. With their parents as both guides and safety nets, teens can learn to kick negative coping methods and learn healthier ones before becoming a young adult.
Help Your Teen Identify Triggers
One of the first steps in helping your teen overcome the negative habits they have developed is to help them identify their triggers. Some of the common emotional or physical triggers that teenagers experience are:
- Stress about school and other responsibilities
- Hormonal and physical changes
- Significant loss (relocation, loved one passing, parental divorce)
- Uncertain future
- Abuse from a romantic partner
- Low self-esteem
As the triggers are identified, you and your teen will be able to come up with ways to prevent the negative coping reaction.
Ways You Can Help Your Teen Learn Healthy Coping Methods
Once you and your teen have identified what triggers their negative coping behaviors, you can both start implementing positive coping methods to replace the old ones. Some things that you and your troubled teen can try are:
- Engage in regular exercise – A great way to boost your teen’s mood and help them remain more stable is with regular exercise. You can exercise with your teen or help support them in their exercise interest, so your teen can pour their negative feeling into the cleansing embrace of exercise.
- Help your teen learn time management skills – Part of why teens can become overwhelmed is because their school/work/social life balance often become much more full as a teen than as a young child. By helping them learn how to break down their obligations and manage time, you can help your teen reduce their stress and negative behaviors.
- Keep healthy food on hand – Stress eating can be a tough one for teens and even adults to break away from. A way to ease away from the negative impact of overeating is to ensure your home is stocked with healthy food.
- Develop family routines – Another way to help your teen learn healthy ways to cope is to develop healthy family routines. These routines should be something your teen can rely on, from family dinner every night to other traditions. That way, your teenager can strengthen their sense of centeredness and security.
- Have your teen attend treatment – For some teens, the negative behaviors are too deeply rooted to be overcome without professional help. A cognitive behavioral therapist can be helpful, or even a residential treatment center for troubled teens, where your teen can recover and develop new skills, both physically and emotionally.
If your son or daughter needs the help of a troubled teen program such as a residential treatment center to permanently overcome their negative coping methods, contact us. We have years of experience in helping families reunite with their troubled teen family member, and we offer our counseling services for free to ensure all families can find the help they need.