Sunday, March 9, 2014

Help I'm Losing My Teen

Each week I participate in a parenting podcast where parents submit questions. There is one topic my cohost and I get week after week: “Help, I am losing my teen.” To give you an idea, here is a question I received last week: “Help! I feel like I'm losing my 17 yr old son to rebellion...I've read the comments regarding getting teens to be responsible and pay for different things like cars, phones etc..and I've tried to impose rules requiring a good balance between responsibility and priviledge but my lazy 17 yr old son only wants things his way. I've been battling with him for months about getting a job and pulling his own weight around the house. He just got a 29 ACT score so he's very smart but not acting like it. I think he would rather play in his band than go to college. He will not do chores around the house, except to do his own laundry. He sits around playing X-box and drums. This past weekend I was so totally fed up that I took the car away, and cancelled the xbox subscription. He got mad of course, called me horrible names and spent the weekend at a friends house. It seems that the more rules I impose on my son the more I push him away. I don't know what to do anymore. If I give in he doesn't learn anything. any advice “ Teen rebellion or teens out-of-control is a big issue. Too many parents live in homes that have become battlefields between parent and their teenager. This problem is not isolated to a few families. It is happening in far to many homes. There are many programs set up to prey on parents who are struggling and need help. In desperation, many parents turn to the wrong source for help. There are wilderness survival programs where teens are taken against their will and through basic survival skills are taught to behave. At schools or academy’s teens live their full time and must learn appropriate behavior before they are allowed to leave. that promise change. I am not a fan of these programs because they are very costly and too many parents believe that the end result will automatically fix their child. If you have no other alternative, make sure you have researched the best place for your child. They cost a lot of money($15,000-20,000 a month) The most expensive program is not always the best. One of the things I would look for is a good follow up or after care program. These programs can can clean up your child in a rather short amount of time. The problem comes when your child comes home they fall back into the old behavior. Why? Because they are back in the same environment that led to the deviant behavior. It is important to remove the child from their current environment to break the cycle, including the people in their lives that often contribute to their underlying feelings It is those underlying feelings that are the cause for the deviant behavior. If the goal of the parents is have some one else fix the child, then they will fail no matter how much money they spend or how ever many programs they sign them up for. I believe the problem needs to be solved in the home with parents and child attending regular therapy sessions. The key is a good therapist. If the therapist is not asking for change from both parent and child find a new therapist. Simple Steps for Improving Teen behavior: Parent needs to understand the teenage years and have patience with them as they learn. The teenage years are not only puzzling for you as a parent. The teen years are very confusing for your child. Think of your teen as children in adult bodies. The home cannot be run as a dictatorship. Parents and teens should set the rules together and also agree upon discipline. Positive talk about future plans. Make sure those plans are the child’s dreams, not yours. Listen to your child. What to do if you currently have a troubled teen: Find a good therapist. If you need help, contact me on my website and I will give you the name of a good therapist Be open to attending therapy with your child. Listen to the therapist and realize something is wrong in your home A good therapist may make you uncomfortable because they will be asking you to change You must be open to change and then make the changes The sooner you make changes, the sooner you will see improvement in your child

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