It’s a universal truth that there is no perfect family. There are no perfect parents or perfect children. There are millions of parents, across the country, and around the world, who have problems with their teenage children. Countless parents across the globe are searching for ways to help their struggling teen.
Teen years are tumultuous for adolescents and for their parents. When teens have behavioral, emotional or psychological problems, family life is even more difficult. Parents often think they are the only ones who struggle with their relationship with a teenage son or daughter. The truth is that many parents have problems with their teens, but few parents speak about it openly.
How Does It Feel?
Other parents, who have raised struggling teens, admit that they feel ashamed and embarrassed to talk about their teen’s problems. Even though they were loving, caring and supportive parents, and they did their best to help their children, they believe they have somehow failed their teen. They ask themselves what they could have done differently. They are afraid for their teen’s health and well-being, and for their future.
Some grieve the loss of the relationship they once had with their children when they were younger. They feel disappointed that family life did not turn out as they expected. They also feel that they are being judged by others for the way their teen behaves. Parents with troubled teens are generally stressed and exhausted. They feel isolated in their suffering, because few people understand their situation.
No Shame. No Blame.
You know in your heart that you did your best as a parent. You do not need to be ashamed. Often parents don’t even know the cause of their teen’s struggles. Yet they blame themselves. Parents can raise their children with love, support, encouragement, care, and their teens still have problems and get into trouble. If your teen has a psychological, behavioral, or emotional health diagnosis, this is a health problem, just like a physical disease or injury. It’s not your fault.
Also, keep in mind that teens show their independence by making their own decisions. Sometimes those are bad decisions. This doesn’t mean that you failed to give your child the guidance or discipline that he/she needed. As parents, we can’t follow our teen everywhere and control what they do. Just as we all have learned from our mistakes; teens have to face the consequences of their actions and learn their own life lessons. This is difficult for parents to watch, especially when they tried so hard to teach their children to make good choices.
Talk About It
The shame of our society is that people often judge, rather than support parents who have troubled teens. Parents need to be able to talk to someone who listens and gives support, without judgment. Working with a counselor or therapist can help you to deal with the emotions you feel about this situation and help you to handle the stress. Talking with a therapist will also be helpful for your spouse or co-parent, and your other children. Your entire family is in crisis and you all need support and understanding.
Getting Help and Support
Support groups provide a space where parents of troubled teens feel comfortable talking about their problems with their teens, and realize that they are not alone in facing struggles. Other parents with troubled teens share their encouragement and advice. There are organizations that can assist you in finding resources to help your teen and your entire family. You may even consider a therapeutic boarding school, where your teen will benefit from therapy and an academic program, in a safe, controlled environment, away from the negative influences that may have contributed to their problems. These facilities offer family counseling as well.
Parents of struggling teens don’t have to suffer in silence. They don’t have to face their challenges of raising a troubled teen alone. Don’t let shame keep you from getting the help that you need and that you deserve.