By Sue Scheff
Are you at your wit’s end? Completely frustrated and stressed out over your child’s behavior? Are you questioning where the child you raised with values went? It is time to empower yourself with information that can help you take control again.
So many parents are desperate to find resolution and peace with their out of control teen. They feel helpless, hopeless, scared, exhausted, and bewildered where this behavior came from.
Many teens are suffering with low self esteem, depression and other negative feelings that are making the act out in defiant ways. It is important to try to resolve these feelings before they escalate to worse behavior, including substance abuse and addiction, sexual promiscuity, eating disorders, self injury, gang involvement, etc.
These teens are usually very intelligent and capable of getting Honor Roll grades, however are not working up to their potential and lack the motivation to succeed and do well. This can stem from peer pressure combined with the teen’s feelings of low self worth. It is one of the most common trends today – highly intelligent teens making bad choices. Are you telling yourself; “This is not my child,” yet soon realize that it is and you must take control of an obvious out of control situation.
As a parent that has experienced and survived a troubled teen – I am introducing “Parent Empowerment” to help you take control of your family again. My goal is that you will learn from my mistakes and gain from my knowledge.
Do you think you are alone? I can assure you, that there are many parents that are in your same situation – and feeling the same frustrations.
Let’s look at things we have tried – and I am confident many of you will see the familiarity with these consequences:
• Remove privileges or place restrictions on cell phones, televisions, computers, going out on weekends, friends, phone time at home, etc. In today’s society, although these should be privileges, most are considered normal necessities of a teen’s life. This can be related to entitlement issues. Click Here http://www.helpyourteens.com/entitlement_issues.html Many instances even if you have removed the privileges, the child knows he/she will eventually get them back, and find other means to communicate with their teen world.
• Change schools – How many times have we believed if we change the school the problems will go away? Maybe in some cases, however these issues will follow your child into the next school environment. The problems may be masked in the beginning, but in most cases, the trouble will soon arise again. Changing schools, although may temporarily resolve some problems; it is rarely the answer when teens are emotionally struggling.
• Have your child go live with a relative out of state? Wow, this is very common, but the other similarity is that in many situations it is a short term resolution before the family is calling and saying they can’t do it any longer – you need to find another alternative for the teen. This can be traumatic and stressful for both families involved and cause friction that could result in more negative feelings.
• How many families have actually moved? Believe or not, parents have looked for job transfers or other avenues to try to remove their teen from the environment they are currently in. So many of us believe it is the friends, which it could be, however as parents we need to also take accountability – this is not saying we are to blame, but we need to understand that our children are usually not the “angels” we believe they are. Sure they are athletic, played varsity sports (football, track, golf, swim team, dance etc.), musically gifted, or other special talents as well as were in all advanced placement classes – but reality is, if you are reading this, this has changed.
• Seeking a therapist will help. Yes in some cases it will. And of course, we should all try this avenue first. Unfortunately more times than not, the teens are already a master manipulator and can breeze through these sessions convincing the therapist the parents are the problem. I know many of you have probably already experienced this. The other concern with therapy is that in many situations the one hour once or twice a week can barely scratch the surface of what a family with a troubled teen may require.
• Was your child arrested? If your child has committed a crime, chances are they will be arrested. If your child has become belligerent in the home and you fear for your safety or the safety of your family, again chances are they will be arrested. In some cases with first time offenders the charges could be dropped. However if this becoming a chronic problem, you seriously should consider outside help. When a teen is arrested and placed in a juvenile detention center, even for one night, they are exposed to a different element that could either scare him/her or harden them. Teens can learn bad habits in these centers, or potentially worse, make friends with teens that have far worse problems than yours.
• Scared Straight Programs or Boot Camps – Are they effective? Many parents will seek a local weekend Scared Straight Program or Boot Camp. In some cases, it may have a positive effect on your teen – a wake up call so to speak; however in other cases it may worsen your problem. Depending on your child and the problems you are dealing with or how long they have been going on, may help you to determine if these types of programs would be beneficial or detrimental to them. Some teens will leave a Boot Camp or weekend Scared Straight program with more anger and resentment than when they entered it. The resentment is usually directed at the person that placed them there – not at the program. This can open doors to more destructive behavior. Personally, I am not in favor of Boot Camps or Scared Straight Weekend programs. A visit to a jail with a police officer, giving the teen the awareness of what could happen to them, may be a better way to help the teen to understand consequences of the current behavior.
These above efforts are avenues parents could try before considering any type of boarding school program. I believe exhausting all your local resources should be the first path. Making a decision to place a child outside of the home is a major decision and one that is not to be taken lightly. It is important you educate yourself – empower yourself with information to help you make the best decision for your child. Here is a list of questions to ask schools and programs in order to determine if they are a fit for your teen.
Click here: http://www.helpyourteens.com/questions_to_ask_schools.html
Helpful Hints: http://www.helpyourteens.com/helpful_hints.html when searching for schools and programs.
An educated parent is an empowered parent. Parent Empowerment! Take control of your family life again. Don’t be a parent in denial – take control and become empowered! I believe giving your child a second chance to have a successful life is our responsibility as a concerned parent.