How to Handle Your Troubled Teenager

We are lucky to have a guest blogger this week, Lucy Taylor.  Thank you Lucy!

Teenagers are often volatile, though some are more volatile than others. While some teenagers handle their minds and bodies reaching adulthood by getting plenty of rest and playing with their electronics, other teenagers act and react in worrying ways. If your teenager’s behavior is becoming problematic or concerning, it’s important to intervene promptly and appropriately.

Intervene Early

One of the biggest mistakes that parents make is waiting too long to intervene. Sometimes, this problematic behavior slowly increases in intensity over a prolonged period. It almost never happens overnight. Before parents know it, quirks and bad moods become a full time way of being for their teenagers. It’s best not to wait until the last minute to address these problems. Early intervention can go a long way in finding a swift revolution.

Ask Questions With an Open Mind

A teenagers behavior may translate as troubled for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s negative influences or poor life choices that happened impulsively. Other times, the teenager may be struggling with a mental health issue or feel suicidal. The last thing you want to do is come out with an accusatory or admonishing tone when what your teenager really needs is serious help from a qualified professional. If you ask questions without accusing or jumping to the worst possible conclusions, you’re more likely to uncover any underlying issues that are contributing to the troubling behavior.

Examine the Surrounding Environment

Teenagers may be reacting in a problematic way to changes that have impacted them. It could be issues at school, tensions within a social group, or even shifting circumstances at home. If you’re going through something major on the home front or your way of life has recently changed,this is having an impact on your teenager. He or she is old enough to understand if you’re going through a tough time financially, experiencing a significant personal problem, or divorcing your spouse.

Troubled behavior could be a reaction to a home environment that feels less welcoming. It could be bullying at school, or a feeling of academic inadequacy. Breakups feel just as real to teens as they do to adults, so if your teen has recently ended things with someone they were emotionally involved with, they may be dealing with pent up emotions. See if making changes to the environment would remove the stressors from your teen’s life.

Be Diplomatic and Reasonable

It isn’t just a stereotype – teenagers love rebelling.  Rebelling gives them an opportunity to exercise their own agency and independence. They’ll be adults soon, and they’re preparing for the next phase of their life. Yelling at and punishing a troubled teen without much discussion won’t fix the process. Speak to your teenager like he or she is an adult, and be honest. Explain the consequences of their actions calmly and rationally. See if compromises can be made, like extending curfew or being slightly morel iberal with driving privileges. Troubled behavior might just be a thirst for freedom, and if your teen is capable of being responsible, this freedom can help them become a functioning adult.

Handle Legal Trouble Appropriately

If your troubled teen is engaged in outright illegal behavior, it’s best to consult a lawyer. Don’t wait until criminal charges have been formally raised against your teen. If they already have, find a lawyer that specializes in working with teens. These lawyers may be familiar with alternative programs and options that can be made available to teens.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re in over your head with your troubled teen, check for local resources designed to help parents like you. Your teen’s school may be able to direct you to the necessary organizations or agencies you need.

Lucy Taylor is an avid blogger who enjoys sharing her tips and suggestions with her online readers. Working as a legal expert at LY Lawyers, Lucy often helps people dealing with legal problems, addictions and crime.

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