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Out-of-Control Teen

out of control
  • Is your teenager engaging in risky behavior, using drugs or alcohol or making other poor choices?

  • Is he or she prone to outbursts of anger or even aggression?

  • Have you noticed a drastic change in your teen’s behavior, grades or choice of friends?

  • Does your teen challenge your authority by disregarding curfew, talking back or breaking rules?

  • Are you wondering if your teen’s problems are a normal part of development or if they are indicative of deeper issues?

  • Do you wish you knew how to help your teen be more respectful and responsible?

Teenage problems manifest in many ways, so it can be challenging for parents to navigate their teenager’s rollercoaster of emotions and defiant behaviors. You may wonder if your teen’s angry, withdrawing, rebellious and/or risky behavior is normal or if it is indicative of a more serious problem. While you may want to trust your teen, recent poor choices, failing grades and alarming behaviors may be causing you to feel frustrated and worried.

Many parents struggle to determine if their teen needs help.

Being a teenager is tough – as is trying to parent one, especially if your teen often acts defiantly or is engaging in risky behaviors. Many teens feel misunderstood and confused about who they are and how they fit into their increasingly expanding world. While it’s normal for teens to push back on parents, teachers and other authority figures in an attempt to carve out a sense of independence, when destructive behaviors start impacting most areas of their lives, there is cause for concern.

Although teens may intellectually understand the impact of their poor choices, many cannot understand the long-term consequences of their behaviors. They don’t have the life experience or impulse control needed to think about their choices before making them. Furthermore, teens that are angry and rebellious are usually struggling with underlying emotional issues. If your teen is using drugs or alcohol, engaging in promiscuous or unprotected sex, participating in other risky or activities, or has undergone other drastic changes in behavior, getting help is critical. Thankfully, seeking counseling for teenage problems at their onset can help your teen turn around negative attitudes and behaviors before these destructive cycles become entrenched.

Therapy can help your out-of-control teen develop healthy coping, communication and problem-solving skills.

At Cartersville Counseling & Therapy, we can help your teen address the negative thoughts, feelings and issues that are causing problems within his or her life. Your teen can begin to better understand the impact of his or her attitudes and behaviors on others. Your teen’s therapist can help your teen set realistic goals, develop effective coping skills, improve communication skills, and develop a system of accountability, which can help your teen learn from mistakes.

We recognize that when a teen is out of control, the entire family suffers. With that understanding, we believe in the importance of providing support and guidance to parents of teens.  Your teen’s therapist can offer you strategies and support as you navigate the challenges of parenting a teenager. Your therapist can help you set clear boundaries, structure, rewards and limits for your teen. For teens that are abusing substances, dealing with anger issues or engaging in other risky behaviors, creating a safety net of resources around them can be critical. Your therapist will work with you and your teen to come up with goals and creative solutions that can lay the groundwork for your child’s immediate and long-term success.

With the proper support in place, your child can work through his or her teenage problems, learn from mistakes, develop more accountability and cope with the storms and stressors inherent during adolescence. Your teen can learn the healthy communication skills needed to get his or her needs met, while also understanding the value of being respectful and cooperative at home and at school.

But, you still may have questions or concerns…

How do I know if my teen is going through a normal experimental and/or developmental phase or if something really serious is occurring?

It is possible that your teen may be going through a phase and will grow out of it, or it could be that deeper issues are causing your teen to behave in risky and destructive ways. Usually, however, ongoing issues with anger outbursts, substance abuse, promiscuity or thrill-seeking behaviors are an indication that a teen is struggling with deeper emotional issues. There is sometimes a fine line that parents have to walk when determining when or how to intervene, but if your teen is engaging in behaviors that are directly or potentially causing harm, professional help may be vital to your teen’s immediate safety and future well being. A therapist can help you determine the severity of your teen’s problems and offer insight, support and treatment options, if needed.

I am extremely worried about my teen and strongly believe that he or she needs therapy, but my teen refuses to go.

It is not uncommon for teenagers to push back on the idea of therapy, especially if a teen perceives therapy as a punishment or as an attempt by you to “fix” him or her. Your teen may perceive the idea of seeking professional help as an admission that they are somehow “abnormal.” Your teen may feel uncomfortable sharing problems with a stranger or be unwilling to try something new. In cases like these, it can be helpful to gently explain your concerns to your teen while letting him or her know that therapy is non-negotiable. You can try to empower your teen by encouraging him or her to be part of the therapist selection process. Often, an initial meeting with the right therapist will alleviate teenage resistance and help your teen see therapy as a safe, valuable resource, rather than a threat.

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