Is your teen’s behavior out of control? If his behavior has progressed from what is considered the norm for a rebellious teenager, you may struggle with knowing the next step to take to help your teen get his behavior back on track. Timeouts worked when he was a toddler, and restricting his screen time worked when he was a tween. Now, it may seem like nothing helps to get through to him when he’s acting out, getting angry, throwing things, and generally displaying behaviors that aren’t appropriate and are possibly destructive.
It would be completely understandable if you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and lost. How can you find the right way to help your teen? What are the next steps to help your teen find his path back?
Defining bad behavior in teens
What does your teen’s bad behavior look like? What is extreme to you may not be extreme to another family. That said, if your teen’s behavior has at all deviated from what he’s typically doing and saying, there is room for concern.
Here are a few things that you may be seeing in your teen.
- Argumentative behavior. Teens will often argue about almost anything. But if your teen’s argumentative behavior has escalated to the point where he’s raising his voice and getting angry, this may be a red flag to be aware of.
- Lying and being sneaky or deceitful about things that may not even make sense to you. As an example, your teen may lie about who he’s spending time with. Or he may try to hide his phone or tablet so that you can’t see who he’s talking to or what he’s doing online.
- Rebellious behavior can take on many forms. Your teen may suddenly refuse to spend time with the family, or he may get angry when you suggest that he tidy up his bedroom. He may outright refuse to do the things that are asked of him. While some of this may just be part of him being a teenager, it could escalate to the point that he’s also angry, raising his voice and possibly throwing things or being violent.
You may also see your teen’s grades dropping, and he may also be skipping school and simply doing what he wants versus what is expected of him. His bad behavior may begin to take a toll on everyone else in your home. Siblings may be bullied, and parents may find themselves struggling to cope with all of it.
Troubled teens may also start to pick up alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. He may also become sexually active without thinking about protection and safety.
All of this bad behavior has the potential for lifelong consequences that your teen simply isn’t thinking about. He may not care to think about it.
Options for struggling teens
How do you help a teen who is clearly struggling? Taking a tough stance and coming down hard on him with serious consequences may not always get the right type of response and results. Particularly if your teen is determined to undermine you and outright ignore you so he can do whatever he wants. That said, there are a few things that you can try before you start to look for alternative options.
- Redefine and reinforce the boundaries and rules of the household. As children grow and change, so should the household rules.
- Establish consequences that will impact your teen’s ability to do what he wants to do. This could include taking away his phone or his driving privileges for a set period of time.
- Speak with his teachers and school advisors to find out if there is anything going on at school that you may not yet be aware of. If your teen is struggling with his classes or is being bullied, this may partially explain his bad behavior and any changes in his behavior.
- Make sure that all parents, grandparents, and adults in your teen’s life are aware of what is going on so that they can help back you up and also avoid being potentially manipulated by a troubled teen determined to get his own way.
- Remind your teen that you are in his corner. You will always listen without judgment and help him as best you can when he needs help.
If you’ve taken these steps, you may wonder what your next best options are. How can you help a teen alter his behavior when he simply isn’t receptive to the rules and restrictions you’ve placed on him?
- Therapy is one of the best steps that you can take to help your troubled teen. It may take a bit of time, and some trial and error, to find the right therapist and right therapeutic approach for your teen. Don’t get discouraged if he refuses to open up to the first one or two therapists that you work with.
- Get your teen evaluated for any mental health concerns that he may potentially be struggling with. Many teens do struggle with depression, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD, and other mental illnesses that don’t make themselves apparent in any other way but behavioral changes.
- Consider medications for teens who are struggling with mental health issues. The medications that can treat mental health issues are not cures. What they can do is help your teen to better cope as he learns to navigate his mental wellness. It’s important to note that not all teens will respond well to medications, and many may not need them at all. Make an informed decision by speaking with your teen’s healthcare and mental healthcare providers.
- Inpatient solutions, such as residential treatment programs, can offer a great number of benefits to teens with behavioral issues. In these facilities teens will not only get the right type of therapy they need, to meet their individual needs, but they will be in a structured, nurturing, supportive, and safe environment that will encourage healing and recovery.
When you’re struggling with your teen, it can be hard to know which direction to go in to get them the help that they need. It’s so important that you reach out to your family and friends so that you have the support and encouragement that you will need as you help your teen navigate this stage in his life.
Getting the right type of help for struggling teens
It can be tempting to think that a boot camp is the right choice for your teen. After all, he hasn’t responded to any other types of treatment and consequences at home. While there is something to be said for these types of facilities, they are not always the right choice for teens who are facing struggles that are rooted in one or more underlying issues. If your teen is struggling with his mental health, but it’s coming out as aggression and bad behavior and choices, sending him to a strict facility that doesn’t address his actual concerns is not going to be very effective.
If you’re unsure of what options you have to get help for your teen who is struggling with bad behavior, HelpYourTeenNow can help. We listen to your concerns, understand how you’re feeling, and identify each of your key concerns so that we can provide the resources you need to find the right solution to meet the needs of your teen and your family. There’s no need to go it alone. Call our compassion team to speak with someone who will hear you, understand, and focus on getting your family the resources, treatment, and help that you need.