Tips for Parenting Troubled Teens by Jane Linebaugh

Many parents find that dealing with troubled teens is becoming increasingly challenging in today’s world. If you have a troubled teen who is not responding positively to your parenting, there are specific steps you can take to help rectify the problem and have a happier life with (and for) your child.

The first important thing to do is take action; ignoring the problem may make it so that it is too late. Admitting that your past parenting is not currently working is the first step to a possible change. And inevitably, when a teen continues to have severe problems, a change has to be made.

When dealing with a troubled teen, realize that you may need to seek help from other resources. Find books, search the Internet, and even ask friends if you are comfortable enough. All of these resources can give helpful parenting advice. Reading the books cover to cover can really help one to see what is wrong with his or her parenting, and how they can change to deal with the troubled teen’s problems. Asking other parents is a useful exercise, and so is joining parenting support groups. Churches and other venues often have such groups. Listening to what other parents are dealing with, and understanding their parenting methods can help you understand your own methods better and thusly help you adjust to your teens unique needs.

Communication is also key when dealing with any troubled teen. All troubled teens are generally reacting to problems in their lives. Although it may hurt, you may find that something you are doing is causing your teen’s behavior. If you find this out, then you can take steps to rectify the situation. You will never be able to understand your teens problems if you don’t communicate well. Listen to what your teen says, and then take steps to help them solve the problem that they’re having. Talking to your teen on an equal playing field (“like an adult”) can also be helpful in communication and building trust. Trust is very important when dealing with teens and therefore should be central to your approach. Also, don’t get discouraged: keep trying even though it may be frustrating to deal with your teen at times. In the end you will both be better off when the problems are dealt with.

Finally, trust your basic parenting instincts. If you think that your teen may be using drugs, you almost certainly are right. If you think that they are doing things that they told you they wouldn’t do anymore, they just might be. While it is important to trust your children, don’t let problems go. Problems don’t simply go away if you ignore them; they usually get worse. If you stick to your guns, follow your parenting instincts, and communicate with your troubled teen, then you just might solve the problems and improve your life, the lives of everyone in your family, and most importantly, the life of your troubled teen.

Check out our Anger Management and Eating Disorders pages.

Jane Linebaugh recommends you visit Parenting Teens to learn more about parenting troubled teens.

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