What to Do When Your 12-18 yo Teenager Is Out of Control?

Understanding the Issue

Teenagers can sometimes display out-of-control behavior due to various factors.

Hormonal changes, peer pressure, desire for independence, and the stress of navigating their emerging adulthood are some of the factors that contribute to this behavior.

According to the American Psychological Association, around 15% of teenagers display signs of disruptive behavior that can be classified as “out of control.”

Understanding the underlying causes of this behavior is the first step to addressing it effectively.

Recognize the Signs

Identifying when your teenager is out of control is crucial.

These signs may include consistent disobedience, regular conflict with family members, frequent truancy or dropping grades, and engaging in risky behavior like substance abuse or reckless driving.

Communication is Key

Open communication with your teenager is essential when they’re behaving disruptively.

Make sure they feel safe expressing their feelings without fear of judgment or punishment.

While it may be challenging to keep your emotions in check, maintaining a calm demeanor can encourage your teen to open up.

Setting Clear Boundaries and Expectations

Clarity about house rules and expectations can help mitigate disruptive behavior.

Ensure that the rules are reasonable and consider your teen’s perspective in setting them.

Consistent enforcement of consequences for breaking these rules is also crucial.

Professional Help

If the disruptive behavior continues despite your efforts, seeking professional help may be necessary.

A study by the National Institutes of Health suggests that family therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy can be effective in addressing out-of-control behavior in teenagers.

Positive Reinforcement

When your teenager demonstrates good behavior, acknowledge it.

Positive reinforcement can motivate teenagers to maintain good behavior and develop self-discipline.

Remember, your teenager is still learning and growing; they need your love, support, and guidance, even if they don’t always show it.

Collaboration with School

Schools can often provide valuable support and resources.

Communicating regularly with your child’s school can help ensure consistency between home and school expectations and consequences.

Look After Your Own Well-being

Parenting an out-of-control teenager can be exhausting and emotionally draining.

Take time for self-care and seek support from other parents, friends, or professionals.

Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup; taking care of your own mental and emotional health is just as important as looking after your teen’s.

The Role of Community

Involvement in community activities can provide positive influences and opportunities for teenagers.

A study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found that teenagers who were involved in community activities had fewer behavioral problems.

Involvement in Sports

Engaging in sports and other physical activities can provide a positive outlet for your teenager’s energy.

Sports can instill discipline, teamwork, and self-esteem.

A 2017 review published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence found that adolescents who participated in sports reported fewer instances of externalizing behaviors.

Teaching Responsibility

Teaching your teenager about responsibility can help them understand the consequences of their actions.

This can be done by setting chores or responsibilities around the house or encouraging them to get part-time jobs.

By doing so, they learn about accountability, which can help curb disruptive behaviors.

Understand Their World

Adolescents today are facing different challenges compared to previous generations.

With the rise of social media and the internet, they are exposed to a wide range of influences, both positive and negative.

Understanding their world can help you guide them through their struggles and challenges.

Avoid Power Struggles

It’s important not to engage in power struggles with your teenager.

When you insist on asserting authority without listening to your teen’s side, it can lead to more defiance.

Instead, treat them with respect and foster a relationship based on mutual understanding and trust.

Remain Consistent

Consistency is key when it comes to dealing with out-of-control teenagers.

Ensure that rules, consequences, and rewards are consistent.

This helps your teenager understand what is expected of them and what happens when they do not meet those expectations.

Find the Root Cause

Sometimes, disruptive behavior in teenagers is a symptom of deeper issues, such as depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues.

If you suspect that this might be the case, it’s important to seek professional help as soon as possible.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, early intervention can improve the long-term prognosis for adolescents with mental health issues.

Peer Influence

Remember, peer influence plays a significant role in your teenager’s life.

They may engage in certain behaviors to fit in with their friends.

Discuss the importance of choosing friends wisely and standing up against negative peer pressure.

Healthy Lifestyle

Ensuring your teenager has a healthy lifestyle, including adequate sleep, balanced diet, and regular exercise, can also contribute to better behavior.

Poor diet, lack of sleep, and lack of physical activity can contribute to mood swings and disruptive behaviors.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 8 to 10 hours of sleep for teenagers for optimal health and behavior.

Final Note

Parenting an out-of-control teenager can be challenging.

However, remember that it’s a phase that most teenagers go through as they navigate the complexities of adolescence.

Patience, open communication, setting clear boundaries, and seeking professional help when necessary can help you guide your teen towards a more stable and responsible adulthood.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: What are some signs that my teenager is out of control?

A1: Signs that your teenager might be out of control can include consistent defiance of rules, explosive temper, involvement in illegal activities, drastic changes in friends or academic performance, or signs of drug or alcohol use.

Q2: Should I punish my out of control teenager?

A2: Punishment is often not the most effective approach for out-of-control behavior. Instead, try to understand the root cause of their behavior and provide consistent, clear expectations and consequences. In some cases, professional intervention might be necessary.

Q3: How can I help my teenager make better choices?

A3: Encourage open and non-judgmental conversations about the consequences of their actions. Engage in activities together that help teach them responsibility and accountability. Reinforce positive behaviors and decisions.

Q4: What if my teenager refuses to follow rules even after implementing these strategies?

A4: If your teenager continues to exhibit disruptive behavior, despite your best efforts, it might be time to seek professional help. Mental health professionals, such as psychologists and psychiatrists, can provide further guidance and treatment options.

Q5: Is it normal for teenagers to be rebellious?

A5: It’s normal for teenagers to test boundaries as part of their developmental process. However, if their rebellious behavior is causing significant issues at home, school, or their personal life, it may be a sign of a more serious problem.

Q6: Does engaging in sports guarantee better behavior?

A6: While sports can provide an outlet for energy and instill discipline, it doesn’t guarantee better behavior. It’s one of many potential strategies that can be used in combination with others, like maintaining open communication, teaching responsibility, and ensuring a healthy lifestyle.

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