Raising a teenager prepares you for just about anything that life can throw at you. The seemingly constant battles over things great and small are exasperating. In addition, the tendency of teens to sweat the small stuff and discount the big things is unnerving. Young people often don’t understand the gravity of their choices at this stage in their life, and this is even more true for troubled teens.
If you’re the parent of a troubled teen and things seem to be going from bad to worse, then it’s probably because they are. As bad as things may be at the moment, there is hope for both you and your child. Continue reading to get tips for dealing with teens with behavioral issues.
Let Understanding Be Your Go-To Response
Troubled youth often have underlying causes for their behavior rooted in mental health issues. The problems driving their behavior are being exacerbated by the quarantine. These are stressful times for everyone, but this is usually a special time of the year for many high school students. They’re missing proms, graduations, and each other—many of them may not see each other for years following the summer.
The best thing you can do for your teen is to be understanding of what they’re going through right now. If they’re acting out or isolating themselves, then try letting them know that you understand their anger rather than judging it. Honestly, you and your troubled teen may have more in common right now than ever before. The fact that most of the world has virtually come to a halt has affected everyone in one way or another.
If your teen is missing out on group therapy sessions due to quarantining, then you should consider having your own group or family therapy sessions in your living room. It’s the perfect opportunity for your teen to express their feelings in a judgment-free environment. It’s also a great way to share with your family how the present circumstances have affected your mental health. Sharing your private battles will show your child that you understand their frustration and are not alone.
One of the most harrowing effects of the coronavirus is that it has shut down many mental health practices across the United States. Ironically, it’s in times like these where the guidance of a mental health professional is the most needed—especially for at-risk youth.
If your troubled teen hasn’t been able to go to therapy because of sheltering in place, then you should look into teletherapy. Many psychologists have started offering this service so they can treat their patients while observing social distancing regulations.
Even though the therapy sessions will be held via webcam, they’ll at least give your child a sense of normalcy and stability. During these difficult times, you have to make the best you can of the new normal.
What to Do When Worse Comes to Worst
There is only so much you can do to manage a troubled teen on your own. Behavioral issues can cause a lifetime of agony if you do nothing to address them. If you feel your child is becoming a threat to himself or other family members, then you have to take immediate action.
Residential programs for troubled youth specialize in helping teens to overcome the self-esteem and mental health issues that are causing them to act out. Choose a facility where they will come up with an individualized treatment plan to meet your troubled teen’s specific needs.
No one wants to send their child away, but sometimes it’s the best thing you can do for their safety and personal growth. Mental health and behavioral issues can lead to drug abuse and legal problems in the future. If you see your child headed down that road, then you’re justified in hitting the panic button.