Ways to Handle that Troubled Teenager!
Being a parent is one of the most challenging responsibilities you can undertake. It is true that all teens have to deal with hormones, schoolwork, dating, and thinking about the future, but for parents of troubled teenagers, those struggles pale in comparison to what they and their teen are going through. It can be difficult to know how to handle the problems you and your child face. As you maneuver options, breakthroughs, and difficulties, here are six coping tips for dealing with troubled teenagers.
1. Be Empathetic:
Admit and accept the fact that it is tough to be a teenager. No matter what problems you and your teen are facing, do your best to put yourself in her/his shoes. Practicing empathy will enable you to keep a soft heart and an open mind toward your child — even if it feels like she's dragging you to hell and back. The teenage years are some of the most trying for parents and children.
One of the best coping mechanisms you can employ is to really listen to your child — even if your relationship is contentious. Children, especially troubled teenagers, desperately need to feel like they're heard and accepted by their parents (in most cases, mothers), and if you're always speaking, yelling, or otherwise trying to get your child to fall back in line, you can miss out on a lot of important things your child wants to say. Bite your tongue. Even if you have to endure some verbal abuse, eventually your teenager will recognize that your desire to listen is sincere, and at that point, he'll likely start talking.
3. Be Realistic:
When you have a teenager who is really struggling, it's important to practice being a realist. Perhaps your parental expectations have contributed to an environment in which he cannot thrive, because he cannot reasonably accomplish what you expect of him academically, athletically, or even in relation to the hobbies he enjoys, the music he likes, or his sexual orientation. Look closely at what do you expect from your teen. Is it realistic given the person your teenager is? Take some time to reassess. While it won't solve all your problems, you may find it easier to cope when your expectations are relaxed a little.
4.Look for the Source:
Is your teen sneaking out? Lying? Skipping school? Most of the times as it happens, parents would be jumping to the conclusion seeing the symptoms. The immediate reflex will be to punish or contend with the symptoms of a problem, because the symptoms are what are visible. Unfortunately, bad behavior isn't often the source of your teen's trouble. Seeking the source of the behavior is important. Pay attention, and ask questions. Talk to your teenager's teachers and coaches. Give her the opportunity to see a therapist. It's only in finding the source that you'll be able to cope with the problems that feel as though they're turning your world upside down.
5. Be Honest and Open:
When problems loom, and especially when they're out in full force, one of the best tactics you can take with your child is to be honest with him and with yourself. Let yourself see and feel the way his behavior is affecting you — at work, in your down time, with your partner — and if you can, spend some time writing about it or talking with a trusted friend about the stress you're under. When you talk to your child, show and tell him how you really feel — just be careful not to attempt to use your feelings as leverage. Be honest about the fear, the worry, and the feelings of inadequacy beneath your anger. This will help you to vent out the emotions and also the child will understand the concerns behind your yelling.
6. Ask for Help:
Regardless of the scope of difficulties troubled teenagers find themselves in, you may be best able to cope if you call in reinforcements. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It's simply another path to finding a solution. Some problems troubled teenagers and their parents take on are too big to face — or fix — alone, and asking for help from those whose resources are better-equipped than your own can work wonders for you, your teen, and the rest of your life and family.
(Indebted to various sources)