Every parent knows that dealing with children during their teenage years can be difficult, for both parent and teen. Your children are making the complex transition from childhood to adulthood and are undergoing immense hormonal and physical changes. Teens may try to test boundaries, or perhaps even begin heading down the wrong path. Meanwhile, you continue to try your best to keep them disciplined and focused on bettering their future. This is often much easier said than done.
One of the toughest things for parents of teenagers to grasp is why their teenager is acting disobediently or out of character. One reason could be that they are trying to create their own independence, away from their parent’s identity. In order to do that, they often act out in a rebellious manner. They may intentionally not listen to your requests. Or they may constantly argue with you. As frustrating is this can be, it is important to remember that they are still children and aren’t fully cognizant of how an adult should properly act.
Another reason your child may be acting out is hormones. Teenagers tend to be chemically unbalanced and may experience quick and drastic mood swings. The hormonal shifts could cause a loss of appetite, energy shifts and alter their overall disposition. However, it is important not to always blame their behavior on hormones. If you are finding that your child is always moody, or is often disruptive or violent, then their problems could be due to a serious emotional disorder, such as being bi-polar or having a severe depression.
Additionally, other mitigating factors such as substance abuse, anxiety, peer pressure, family issues or the loss of a loved one could lead to disruptive behavior. Whatever the reason is for your child’s negative behavior, it is imperative as parents that you pay attention and look for any possible warning signs. The sooner you diagnose their problem, the better off your child will be.
It is also essential that you employ preventative measures to help influence your child’s behavior. For instance, parents must lay down clear and concise ground rules that elucidate to your child what behaviors are unacceptable. Here are a few suggestions as to how you can set up your ground rules:
- Your teens should clearly understand your rules and the limits that comprise it.
- You should keep an eye on your teens and observe if they have abided by your rules.
- Continuous reinforcement to these rules should always be applied.
- To prevent unwillingness in abiding by these rules, you should apply appropriate punishments for disobedience or disruptive behavior.
Sometimes, despite our best intentions, our teens will continue to ignore our rules and engage in disruptive behavior. Perhaps revising a certain punishment will show them how serious you are about them acting properly. If you are finding that your efforts are not working, then the best thing you can do for your child is find help for them. Perhaps talking to a therapist will clear up their issues. Also, you may want to thoroughly investigate proven treatment programs such as a boarding school, treatment center or a wilderness camp to see if their program could help your teen. It is prudent to not search for the most convenient option by choosing the program that is the cheapest and closest to your house. We strongly recommend that you research which program fits your child’s needs and which one will be most effective in correcting their issues. Be certain that the program you select is properly staffed and employs trained professionals who have the expertise and experience needed to help your child. The most important thing is that you find the help that your child needs.