Is your teen acting out, getting into trouble, making poor decisions, and causing stress for everyone in the family? When the actions and behaviors of just one person in the family start to become the focal point for everyone, it can lead to a rapid rise in stress for all involved. What can you do?
How can you reduce the stress for yourself and everyone else in your family? You know that you need to set boundaries and stick to them, but what if your teen is prone to angry and violent outbursts?
Identifying the true source of your stress
You know that your teen is the primary reason for your family’s added chaos and stress. But what part of his behavior is causing the most trouble for everyone? Being able to identify this can help to give you a better idea as to what your next steps should be.
Some examples of this could include the following:
- Using and abusing drugs or alcohol
- Reacting with anger or physical violence if challenged
- Random acts of violence
- Staying out past curfew
- Getting into brushes with the law
- Running away
- Using abusive language
- Hurting siblings and even pets in the home
If some of this sounds all too familiar, you should remember that when a teen is troubled and acting out, it’s often better to seek help from mental and behavioral health professionals.
Has your teen taken over?
We all want to believe that we’re in control of our households and leading our families. But when a teen is the primary source of stress and conflict within the home, it can quickly prove that we’ve lost control. Here are a few questions to consider as you navigate this stressful stage:
- Are most conversations with your parenting partner about your troubled teen?
- Is everyone in the household afraid to upset or anger your teen?
- Do you find yourself giving in just to keep the peace?
- Are you missing work due to needing to deal with your teen and the issues he’s caused?
- Do you find that it’s challenging to communicate with your teen?
- Has your teen reacted with physical violence towards you, a family member, or someone at school?
If you find that you’ve reached the end of your rope and your entire life seems to revolve around your teen and the situations he’s in and has created for himself, there are good odds that you’ve lost control.
As much as you love your teen and want to keep him from hating you, it’s important to remember that you’re not doing him any favors by allowing him to continue to rule your household and go down these bad roads.
How can you set boundaries and enforce them?
Set boundaries for your teen. Enforce those boundaries. Establish and follow through on consequences for your teen. On paper, it all sounds good. But, in reality, he may be quick to anger.
Your teen may be prone to angry outbursts that leave you and other family members afraid. You may also fear his unpredictable next steps if he gets truly angry with you for trying to set boundaries. Here are steps you can take to get control back.
1. First and foremost, your safety and the safety of every family member should be your priority. This includes your troubled teen. If he threatens to harm you, himself, or someone else, you should not hesitate to reach out to law enforcement to step in. You should reach out to law enforcement if your teen does hurt someone. The goal is not necessarily to send him to jail but to get control of your household. Removing your teen from home can give everyone the time to regroup and figure out their next steps. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their home.
2. When it comes to setting boundaries, be sure that they are crystal clear. Write them down and post them on a whiteboard in your kitchen if necessary. By making the rules of the house clear, there is no room for a clever teen to interpret them to suit his needs. While it may seem unfair to your other children, you must ensure that each household’s rules and boundaries apply to everyone in the home. Your troubled teen may take uneven rules as proof that he is not treated as well as his siblings are.
3. Control device use when possible. Your teen does not need to be glued to his smartphone or tablet when he has other priorities. Establish rules surrounding devices, use of devices, and consequences for abusing privileges related to devices. For example, if your teen breaks curfew, he could lose access to his phone, video games, or tablet for two weeks. Disconnect the device from service, remove it from his possession, and disable Wi-Fi. Whatever steps you need to take to get your point across should be taken. Expect your teen to react with anger.
4. Car privileges should be limited for teens with a license and car access. Perhaps he can take the bus to school instead of driving himself? Many vehicles include trackers that allow you to see where your car has gone. This can be used to limit your teen from driving to school, home, or running errands.
5. Establish a curfew and explain to your teen what the consequences will be for staying out past curfew. While some may find this to be an invasion of your teen’s privacy, if he’s acting out and running wild, there comes a time when you need to track him down. If need be, install a tracker app on his smartphone.
6. Get help from a team of professionals. It’s understandable to want to keep things close to your chest when your teen is running wild. But you must reach out to mental and behavioral health specialists who have experience with out-of-control teens. Not only will they be able to pair you with the resources that you need but they will be able to help you navigate the road that your family is currently on. Family therapy, individual therapy, group therapy, and other therapeutic solutions can prove beneficial.
If your best efforts have been less than successful, consider alternative options, including therapeutic boarding schools or residential treatment centers. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their home. An out-of-control teen running wild and acting out with violence will not be someone you want to be around your smaller children, pets, and even yourself.
At HelpYourTeenNow we can connect parents with the resources they need to help their troubled teens. The sooner you reach out for help, the sooner you’ll be on the right path to getting your teen the treatment he can best benefit from.