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Your relationship with a troubled teen won't be perfect. But, spending quality time together and showing your teen you care can go a long way toward helping your teen get better. An approach often used by therapists is to view a situation or teen behavior differently from what you have been doing, a technique known as reframing. In this shift of perspective insight into what is triggering your teens' behavior often comes into focus. Sometimes parents and teens can get unstuck simply by looking at a situation with new eyes; which is usually followed by acting or thinking about things differently.

And here's the really good news—when a parent responds in different ways there is no choice for the teen but to act differently too.


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Most troubled teens benefit from some type of professional help in identifying the underlying reasons for their problems and assistance in dealing with them. Getting help for a troubled teen when they first start having difficulties is usually far more successful than waiting until problems get worse.

For some parents, this can be a difficult step to take. Some fear that reaching out for help is a sign of weakness but nothing could be further from the truth. Keep in mind that the police don't provide treatment.

Don’t give up

Threatening to call the cops if your teen doesn't straighten out won't inspire your teen to behave better. Seek help from a mental health professional. The advantages of seeking professional help for a troubled teen include experienced help in figuring out the reasons your teen is acting out, expertise in identifying what clinical interventions are most likely to be effective and support in helping your teen, yourself and your family get through this difficult time.

Knowing when your teen is in trouble is an essential key to unlocking the factors contributing to the disturbing changes in your teen.

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A Parent's Guide to Surviving the Teen Years (for Parents) - KidsHealth

These are certainly the most visible signs of puberty and impending adulthood, but kids who are showing physical changes between the ages of 8 and 14 or so also can be going through a bunch of changes that aren't readily seen from the outside. These are the changes of adolescence.

Many kids announce the onset of adolescence with a dramatic change in behavior around their parents. They're starting to separate from mom and dad and become more independent. At the same time, kids this age are increasingly aware of how others, especially their peers, see them and are desperately trying to fit in.

Kids often start "trying on" different looks and identities, and they become very aware of how they differ from their peers, which can result in episodes of distress and conflict with parents. One of the common stereotypes of adolescence is the rebellious, wild teen continually at odds with mom and dad. Although it may be the case for some kids and this is a time of emotional ups and downs, that stereotype certainly is not representative of most teens. But the primary goal of the teen years is to achieve independence. To do this, teens must start pulling away from their parents — especially the parent whom they're the closest to.


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  4. As teens mature, they start to think more abstractly and rationally. They're forming their moral code. And parents of teens may find that kids who previously had been willing to conform to please them will suddenly begin asserting themselves — and their opinions — strongly and rebelling against parental control. You may need to look closely at how much room you give your teen to be an individual and ask yourself questions such as: "Am I a controlling parent?

    Read books about teenagers. Think back on your own teen years. Remember your struggles with acne or your embarrassment at developing early — or late. Expect some mood changes in your typically sunny child, and be prepared for more conflict as he or she matures as an individual. Parents who know what's coming can cope with it better. And the more you know, the better you can prepare. Starting to talk about menstruation or wet dreams after they've already begun is starting too late.

    But don't overload them with information — just answer their questions. You know your kids. You can hear when your child's starting to tell jokes about sex or when attention to personal appearance is increasing. This is a good time to jump in with your own questions such as:.

    A yearly physical exam is a great time to talk about this. A doctor can tell your preadolescent — and you — what to expect in the next few years. The later you wait to have these talks, the more likely your child will be to form misconceptions or become embarrassed about or afraid of physical and emotional changes. Starting to talk about menstruation or wet dreams after they've already begun is starting too late. But don't overload them with information — just answer their questions.

    You know your kids. You can hear when your child's starting to tell jokes about sex or when attention to personal appearance is increasing. This is a good time to jump in with your own questions such as:.


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    5. A yearly physical exam is a great time to talk about this. A doctor can tell your preadolescent — and you — what to expect in the next few years. The later you wait to have these talks, the more likely your child will be to form misconceptions or become embarrassed about or afraid of physical and emotional changes. And the earlier you open the lines of communication, the better your chances of keeping them open through the teen years.

      Give your child books on puberty written for kids going through it. Share memories of your own adolescence. There's nothing like knowing that mom or dad went through it, too, to put kids more at ease. Practice empathy by helping your child understand that it's normal to be a bit concerned or self-conscious, and that it's OK to feel grown-up one minute and like a kid the next.

      How To Deal With Your Angry Teenager

      If teenagers want to dye their hair, paint their fingernails black, or wear funky clothes, think twice before you object. Ask why your teen wants to dress or look a certain way and try to understand how your teen is feeling.

      Curb Your Teen’s Bad Behavior with Discipline that Works

      You also might want to discuss how others might perceive them if they look different — help your teen understand how he or she might be viewed. Still, they usually understand and need to know that their parents care enough about them to expect certain things such as good grades, acceptable behavior, and sticking to the house rules.

      If parents have appropriate expectations, teens will likely try to meet them. Without reasonable expectations, your teen may feel you don't care about him or her. The teen years often are a time of experimentation, and sometimes that experimentation includes risky behaviors. Don't avoid the subjects of sex and drug, alcohol, or tobacco use.

      Know your child's friends — and know their friends' parents.

      Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

      Regular communication between parents can go a long way toward creating a safe environment for all teens in a peer group. Parents can help each other keep track of the kids' activities without making the kids feel that they're being watched. A certain amount of change is normal during the teen years.

      Dealing with Disrespectful Teenage Behaviour

      But too drastic or long-lasting a switch in personality or behavior may signal real trouble — the kind that needs professional help. Watch for these warning signs:. Any other inappropriate behavior that lasts for more than 6 weeks can be a sign of underlying trouble, too.