The teenage years are full of highs and lows. You get the joy of watching your child become their own person, with their own interests and passions, as they transition from childhood into adulthood. But on the flip side of the coin, that new independence can lead to head butting as your teen goes through changes both physical and mental. If you feel like your teen has gone out of control, we’re here to help.
It can be exhausting to feel like you’re always fighting with your teen. But if they are exhibiting out of control behavior, there are ways that you can work with them.
Tips for dealing with your out of control teen
When dealing with an out of control teen, there are a few tips you can use to help defuse and work through the altercation effectively:
- Communicate: Teenagers often feel that they’re misunderstood or that nobody is listening to them. When they feel overwhelmed by their emotions and feel that they have no outlet to share them, they are likely to lash out. When you see your teen getting worked up, consider using some empathy. Remind them that you are not going to judge them, but rather that you understand that things are difficult and you want to understand. Opening the lines of communication can help effectively deescalate the situation.
- Resist Power Struggles: Defiant teens believe they are equal in authority to adults. This makes it futile to try to beat them in the power struggle game.When they are being defiant, instead of yelling or making threats, explain to your teen calmly that their behavior is disrespectful, and that you are happy to speak with them once they calm down.
- Reinforce Positive Behaviors: Younger children can benefit from positive reinforcement, like a sticker chart. But for older kids, you may need to get more creative about rewarding positive behaviors. The first step is simply verbally praising your teen when you notice they are making a good choice. It reminds them that you notice what they are doing, because despite craving independence, teens do also still desire your approval. For rewards, maybe it’s extra technology time if they complete their homework during the week without complaining.
- Set Boundaries: It may seem counterintuitive but out of control teens actually want boundaries. A parent’s job is to keep our children safe, and boundaries help them feel safe. Teens need to understand their limits. Parents need to communicate those limits clearly and then hold those boundaries no matter what. If your teen knows you will give in if they scream or cry, they will constantly go back to those behaviors to get what they want.
- Teach (and Model) Healthy Coping Skills: Take a step back and ask yourself: “How do I respond under stress?” When your teen makes a mistake or lashes out, do you yell right back? Has your teen seen you blow up when things go wrong? If so, the most important thing you can do is shift your own emotional responses. When you get cut off in traffic, can you show your teen how to communicate your frustration in a healthy way? By modeling those behaviors, your teen begins to internalize a new way of dealing with negative emotions.
- Practice Patience: This is a big one. Patience with your teen. Patience with yourself. Understand that your teen’s out control behavior won’t be fixed in a day, or maybe even a month. Practicing the above techniques can have a positive impact on your teen. But there may be a time, when even with your help, your teen is still struggling with their behavior. If so, a wilderness therapy program that combines clinical expertise with adventure therapy can help.
blueFire Wilderness is here for your family
Our goal is to help guide others on a personal journey and to discover and confront their core beliefs and fears and realize their strengths, hopes and dreams. Many deep and meaningful conversations take place around a campfire. We believe these conversations and connections create possibilities for the future. blueFire Wilderness Therapy provides an opportunity for your troubled teen or young adult to make life-altering self-discoveries, learn through challenges and gain life skills. Clients will take these new skills with them and utilize them or as we like to say “continue to tend their fire.” Just like a good camp fire is never completed, a client’s journey never has a destination. We must all continue to tend the fires to work with new and past struggles in a positive, impactful way. For more information please call (208) 502-2734.
For more information about how we can help your out of control teen at blueFire Wilderness, please call 1 (844) 413-1999 today.