Struggling Teen - The Smart Parent's Guide to Helping Your Teenager
Struggling teens can be a real source of concern for parents. But imagine what it's like for kids who don't have the experience and perspective of their parents. For an adolescent, this is the time in life when his body and brain are changing rapidly and he is striving to find out who he is in the midst of all these changes, conflict and confusion. Even as he is striving for independence, he is trying to fit in with his peers.
Unfortunately, many teens end up feeling alienated by those around them, especially their parents. For a struggling teen, this can lead to depression, family conflicts, inappropriate or violent behavior and even suicide. This is why, even though your teen may be pushing you away, you cannot abandon him to deal with this on his own.
No matter what happens with your child, it is important to present a calm exterior. It is also essential that you understand typical teen behavior, so you will know if your teen has a problem that goes above and beyond the typical teenage angst.
Struggling teens need extra help if they are withdrawn. Deep down, these kids crave connection with parents, teachers and others, but are afraid of rejection and don't know how to get past their fears and reach out. Compound this with issues at school (and a teen's perception that this is a hostile environment), dropping grades and waning motivation and suddenly, you have a problem that seems to get worse no matter what you do.
An adolescent may believe that no one understands him and doesn't realize that this perception prevents others from connecting with him. Of course, this is a common teenage perception, but in kids who have serious issues, it is even more pronounced. Since a kid who feels isolated thinks that he gets in trouble no matter what he does, he may adopt an identity as a troublemaker, continually butt heads with parents, refuse to follow rules and argue about everything.
If this describes your family situation, know that you are not alone. There are many parents out there who are faced with these same challenges. If you can't figure out how to reach your child, then it's time to ask for help.
Although your teen may reject your offers of help, it's important for you to make it clear that you'll always be available when he needs you. No matter what happens, be open to communication, so that he will start to see that you will listen with an open mind.
If you try to approach your child and are continually met with hostility, you can ask for the help of the school counselor. If you have the money or insurance coverage, you can also seek therapy. A good alternative to this that allows you to help your child in the privacy of your home is a good behavioral program designed specifically for struggling teens and children.
A good behavioral program will allow you to connect with your teen, instead of alienating him by sending him to a psychologist (who at least at first, will be a stranger) or to a boot camp. It will teach you step-by-step how to help your teen to change at his and your own pace and foster respect as your teenager starts to see that you are doing your best to guide him toward a better life.
Related Parenting Resources
Read the Total Transformation review - a review of an at-home behavioral program designed specifically to help struggling teens and children. This program has been purchased and used by over 150,000 caring parents.
Copyright © 2009 by Laura Ramirez. All rights reserved.