Teenagers and behavior issues seem to go hand in hand but as a parent, you need to be able to determine when your teen is exhibiting normal teenage rebellion and when he or she is experiencing negative or dangerous behavior problems. Teen behavioral issues are a concern for nearly every parent, but with common sense and communication, there are solutions to working with your teen on his or her behaviors.
Behavior #1. Rejecting Parents
Teens are in the middle of a huge transition, from child to adult, and a lot of that means separating themselves from their parents. Often, this manifests in outright rejection and teens are often too blunt or not clearly communicating to their parents about their needs. Common behaviors include eye rolling, defiance, arguing, disobedience and sulking. As a parent, you need to be able to strike a balance between enforcing behavior standards and letting the rest go. Show your teen that you are there for them no matter what they put you through, and send the message that they can be independent yet still rely on you.
Behavior #2. Lying to Parents
Teenagers lie because they don’t want to get in trouble. They may not trust you to see their side of things and don’t want to pay the consequences for their actions. Other motivations for your teen to lie may also be that they are seeking more independence and don’t know a healthy way to do that. As a parent, you should ask specific questions so that your teen has no choice but to tell the truth, and call them out when you catch them in a lie, enforcing consequences and teaching them a lesson on what is and is not appropriate behavior.
Behavior #3. Obsession with Technology
Today’s teens are wired in ways no other generation has ever been. Between personal phones, computers and social media, teens can access the internet, and therefore their friends, whenever they want. Texting and other activities can interfere with school, home life and even real-life relationships with friends, so make sure that you set boundaries for your teen on when to use technology and when it is not appropriate. Examples include no phones at the dinner table and no technology one hour before bedtime. Parental controls on devices are an invaluable tool in monitoring your teen’s online activities.
Behavior #4. Picking Bad Friends
Few parents approve of their teen’s friends, yet teens often put friends above family members. Sometimes, teens choose the wrong friends and parents are afraid that these friends will negatively influence their child. Communication is a significant part of talking to your teen about his or her bad friends, especially if the friends are engaged in alcohol or drug use. As a parent, try to overlook poor fashion or grooming in your teen’s friends—it’s a time to experiment with looks and clothes. Focus your concerns on the friend’s behaviors and help your teen to see how they could be negative.
Behavior #5. Experimenting with Sex, Drugs and Alcohol
The enticing behaviors that adults demonstrate are irresistible to teens and they often seek to emulate what they see older teens, movie stars and musicians doing. When parents suddenly want to talk to their teen about sex, drugs and alcohol, it’s often too late to start effectively communicating. Such conversations should begin when the teen is younger and stay age appropriate. For teens who are already experimenting with sex, drugs and alcohol, you should make sure that they are educated enough to keep themselves safe and healthy. Whether you choose to talk to them about the health risks of engaging in these behaviors or combine that with religious or moral beliefs, you will help your teen be better equipped to develop his or her own set of values when it comes to sex, drugs and alcohol.
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