Parenting troubled teens is a battle as I’m sure you are aware. But, it is one of the best battles that you could ever fight, because your teen is worth it, and your teen will turn around. There are so many circumstances that parents of teens find themselves in. Whether their teen is doing drugs, sexually active, or violent and aggressive, the circumstances always seem to change.
The one set of values and principles that should never change is the foundation that a parent is parenting out of. Every parent has a foundation and a set of values that parent from. This foundation was passed down from their parents, or they simply live it on their own. In order to effectively lay the foundation for parenting teens, we will look at the three most important aspects. They are your value system, understanding that your teen has needs and identifying them, and realizing that your response to every situation is the most critical and the most important aspect of raising your struggling teen.
Parents of troubled teens need a value system. All parents already have one, and might just be unaware of it. First lets locate and identify your value system. In order to learn about your value system start by identifying some of your common family rules. One common rule might be cleaning your room or the house. Take that rule and ask why. Why do we clean our house? Why do we clean our rooms? Some answers might be, because you don’t want bugs in your house from leaving it such a mess. Or, you don’t want the leftovers to smell up the whole house after they rot. Those are values. You value not living in an insect-infested home. You value nice smells and scents in your home.
Take your values and a make a list of them. Sit down with your teen and begin to communicate these with him or her. Have them understand the value behind the rule. You will probably even find that some of your house rules have no value behind them. Those are the rules where parents always say, “because I said so, that’s why you’re doing it”. But, why are they doing it? They want to know why. They want to know the value behind it, and your teen deserves to know the values that their parents operate in.
Now I am not saying that by communicating these values with your teen that it will be a win-win all around. What you have now is a moral compass for your family, and you know what direction you are heading, together. That compass will guide your entire family as you battle life. One more illustration to identify and communicate values is as follows:
Parents of teens do not want their teen cussing them out and yelling at them. When a teen is behaving this way, a parent should ask themselves why their teen is doing that. Maybe, the parent realizes that they talk that way and that’s where their teen learned it. Or, maybe the rule of “no cussing and yelling at each other” isn’t backed by any value. It’s just a rule that you have to follow “because I said so”. Why doesn’t your family cuss and yell at each other? Some values behind that rule is that it makes you feel degraded and low. It ruins self-confidence in a person to be yelled and cussed at. Yelling and cussing at each other also builds aggression and anger. We don’t like being angry or aggressive at each other. Those are some great values to live in.
So, take time to identify your values. Write them down. Communicate them with your whole family. When situations arise, or when new circumstances transpire, you know what direction your family is heading because of your values.