As children grow older, they go through a variety of changes physically, mentally and emotionally. Each teen is different; some display healthy behaviors during their teen years, while others show signs of troubling behavior that leave parents unsure of how to deal with them. The Education website, an online resource for parents and kids, cites characteristics such as poor performance in school, vandalism, negative moods and outbursts as signs that a teen may be troubled.
Spend Quality Time
Your troubled teen may be acting out to get your attention. Spend quality time with your troubled teen to show her that she’s an important part of your life. This is especially important if you and your spouse work long hours, there are multiple children living in the household, or your teen has experienced a significant life change. Eat dinner together and spend at least one day a week participating in an activity your teen enjoys. Whether you plan a movie night, attend a sporting event or go shopping, quality time can help you build a stronger bond with your troubled teen.
Listen to Your Teen
Parents sometimes have a tendency to want to be heard by their teens, yet they neglect to listen to what their teens are thinking and feeling. If your teen wants to talk to you about an issue he’s facing, stop what you’re doing and give him your full attention.
If your teen is exhibiting troublesome behavior, ask questions. Find out what’s causing the behavior by asking open-ended questions that encourage your teen think about her actions and what’s causing them. Discuss her feelings to better understand that state of her emotions.
Look for Triggers
Find out what causes your teen the most trouble. Determine if he exhibits poor behavior after a bad day at school, or if he’s hanging with a new group of friends or determine whether changes in the home, such as a new baby or divorce, are sparking the issues. If you can identify what causes his troubling behavior, you can get clues on how to come up with a way to work through your teen’s problems.
If you think your teen would be more comfortable talking to a neutral party, arrange for a one-on-one session with a counselor, therapist or spiritual leader from your church or community. The therapist may ask you and your spouse to be a part of sessions, once your teen is comfortable with the process. Teen group therapy sessions may also prove to be beneficial, as they give teens an opportunity to discuss their feelings with their peers.
Make a Plan
Ask your teen to correct his behavior and come up with a plan to help him. After listening to him, express your concerns and expectations. Work together to come up with a mutual agreement that satisfies you both and gets his behavior back on track.
- moody teen image by pixelcarpenter from Fotolia.com