So you reckon you have problems because your car has broken down or your bills are mounting or whatever. Try being the parent of a troubled teen. Now that is someone with a real problem.
Of course it is wrong to compare concerns but there are many parents who are at their wit’s end because of the behavior of their teenage son or daughter. Their child is out of control. They are defiant, unruly and rude. You have tried all manners of tactics to try and rein them in and get even a civil discussion going but without success. So what can you do? What help is there for struggling even desperate parents?
The first point is most important. Forget about blame and stop being hard on you. It is not your fault. Of course you are not the perfect parent – who is? – And there are things you could have done better but blaming yourself will not help the situation. It’s bad enough having one family member in trouble. Don’t add to the list by turning yourself in a stressed-out, guilt-ridden parent.
Don’t panic and don’t feel alone. If you panic you will not be able to think clearly. Someone needs to remain calm, at least on the outside while your son or daughter goes off the rails. And remember that they are millions of parents going through exactly what you are going through. There’s probably a parent in your street or suburb in the same boat as you.
Doing nothing is not an option. You must get active. Try talking to your child and remember that listening is often far better than speaking. Get in touch with the child’s teachers and your family doctor. Is there a church or club leader you can speak to? You need to discover the cause of the unwelcome behavior. Finding the cause and then removing it is a brilliant way to turn around the life of your troubled teen
If you need to engage a professional therapist then does so. There are no hard and fast rules and every child and every situation is different. Just be open to all possibilities.
Placing your child in an approved institution may be the answer. Could they go to a boarding school? Could they move out of town and live with a relative? Would a wilderness camp, a boot camp or therapy based school be the answer? Investigate all possibilities and discuss them with a trusted source. Obviously your child will need to be consulted but if they point blank refuse to be involved, a firm hand may be required.
You are in a difficult situation when your child turns ugly and threatens you or uses abusive language. As disturbing and as sad as it may be, there are many professional resources available to help you through the crisis. Keep your chin up and seek out help. Many parents get over this problem with a happy ending for all. You can do the same.