Testing and pushing boundaries is a natural part of growing up. This is particularly true of teenagers. After all, teens are going through a host of both physical and psychological changes, and they are increasingly exploring their own independence and personal identities. However, sometimes disruptive behaviour can tip over to become destructive and more severe. In this situation, it can be tough to understand what’s normal and what is a problem, but it helps to know what you should expect from teenagers and how to get them back on track.
You may have noticed increased disrespect in your household. Perhaps your teenager has become rude to the point of hurting feelings. Maybe they are becoming impulsive and destructive. There is a clear divide between what is a typical and manageable “attitude” of teen growth and more problematic behaviour. As your child develops an interest in new social circles, their own privacy and, yes, romantic relationships, they may also experiment with smoking or alcohol. Although you set your own household boundaries, look back to how you experienced those same feelings as a means of connection. But what do we do when our teenagers cross the line?
Stopping bad behaviour early is the best form of getting your child back on track. This is best done through dialogue. If you notice your teenager skipping school or work, becoming increasingly rude or aggressive to others, coming home later than stated or showing signs of drink or drug taking, try talking with your child and develop a nuanced discipline strategy which is consistent, fair and firm. By stopping things getting worse early on, you reduce headaches along the line. If possible, speak with other parents and counselling services about your issues. First and foremost, connect with your child and act as a role model for your teenager.
When small concerns turn into serious concerns, it is time to step in and make a change. Skipping school, staying out constantly, getting into trouble with the law and being seriously anti-social in public are alarm bells that must be acted on. It’s natural to blame yourself for your child’s problems, but remember they are growing into an independent adult as well. To tackle problems, seek outside help from school staff and support groups. In the case of a mental health issue like depression, your teenager will need your guidance and support.
A great way to rehabilitate a problem teenager and get them back on track to a successful life is looking for help with a social treatment centre. Here, young people are re-taught vital social skills through group and family therapy, as a means to deal with issues like depression, anxiety, abuse and addiction. Ignite Teen Treatment takes a holistic and clinical approach to improvement with a host of courses that involve both your teenager and family setup. With dedicated and professional support staff including therapists, psychiatrists and mentors, your teenager can get back on track. These outside forms of intervention are oftentimes the best way to make a difference, be it through residential therapy or clinical programmes.