If you have a teen with behavior problems, the fallout can affect the entire family. Under the pressures of everyday life, parents may struggle to maintain their marital relationship. When unexpected problems arise, the extra stress can be enough to devastate even the healthiest marriages.
Kids face many struggles during this period in life, as they seek independence, social separation and freedom from authority. Teens attempt to differentiate themselves from their parents, which can cause conflict. When these behavioral manifestations are taken to more extreme levels, however, it can seem as though you have nowhere to turn. If you have a teen who is exhibiting problem or disruptive behaviors, read on for some tips to help keep your relationship strong as you present a unified front.
What Is Normal Teen Behavior?
Your child may have once been sweet and obedient, but now you may find yourself trying to parent a virtual stranger who rolls her eyes at your suggestions and slams doors when angry. This is normal teen behavior. If you are the parent of a troubled teen, however, you may find that her issues go beyond ordinary teenage angst. She may engage in high-risk behaviors that include skipping school, drinking, drug use, sex, shoplifting, self-harm or other criminal acts. She may also exhibit symptoms of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety or eating disorders. Any negative behavior could be a sign of underlying issues, especially if the behavior is repeated over time. As a parent, it’s important to know what types of behaviors are normal and which may indicate the presence of serious underlying problems.
Marital Issues among Parents of Troubled Teens
Parenting a troubled teen with behavior problems can place an undue amount of stress on your own relationship with your partner or spouse. Often, decisions about how to handle the teen become a divisive issue in the marriage. However, presenting a united front is one of the most important actions you and your partner can take when dealing with behavioral issues in your teen. You must strive to achieve unity despite the challenges, and appreciate the support you can give each other during these times. If you view this is an opportunity to grow closer together, it may help ease the pressure.
When trying to decide how to handle your teen’s actions, it may be best to think it through first, especially if you disagree about the decision. Consider how your actions might affect your marriage first and how it will impact your teen second. If you disagree with your partner about a course of action to take with your child, take the time to come to a mutual decision that makes both of you happy. Your teen can and will wait for you to get there.
What You Can Do to Help
If you are the parent of a teen with behavior problems, the experts at Havenwood Academy can help. They can assist you, as parents, in negotiating these troubled waters intact, while at the same time treating any underlying problems your teen could be experiencing. Havenwood provides residential treatment for a variety of mental health issues and behavioral challenges for girls and young women. Contact the compassionate professionals at Havenwood today if your daughter or another young woman in your care is experiencing behavior problems.