When the Cat’s Away: Controlling Your Out of Control Child Over Summer

girl 869213 1280Sunshine, the beach, swimming, and other fun things fill summer to the brim–but rarely does anyone talk about what happens when school lets out and the parents are still working full-time. If you’re the parent of a struggling teen, you’re probably familiar with this anxiety-filled situation. You need to provide for your family, but at the same time you need to keep your out of control child supervised. It’s something many parents face and battle with.

Tips on how to handle your out of control child over the summer

Create a structured environment. Oftentimes, when summer vacation rolls around, parents don’t have much of a plan and their kids end up without a schedule. This is a mistake. Going from an extremely structured schedule to no schedule at all can lead to an out of control child situation because they’re not sure what to do and you’re not sure what to do. It’s chaos. So, instead, create structure and limits. Tell them how many times they’re allowed to go out a week, what time they need to get back, where they can go, and–most importantly–the consequences. You pay for their phone, their cable, their electricity–you can easily take all of that away. Once you make that clear, your out of control child will have a deeper idea of what could happen if they misbehave.
Suggest getting a summer job. A child often becomes an out of control child when they have nothing else to do. It’s straight boredom. A summer job is a great distraction that has reward attached to it: money. Suggest to them that if they want the new iPhone or game station, they should get a summer job so that they can get it!
Plan activities. You’re working all the time, yes, but you have to have some time off. In this free time, try to plan fun activities that your child would enjoy. Ask your teen what they’d want to do. If they’re interested in rafting, offer to pay for a rafting day over the weekend! Giving your child something to do will help tone down that out of control child part of them.

Trails Carolina can help

If your out of control child is becoming too much to handle and you don’t know where to turn, Trails may be able to help. Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program for struggling teens, ages 11-17. Our students commonly deal with issues such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, trauma, and other behavioral or emotional challenges.
For more information about Trails Carolina, please call 800-975-7303 today!

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Jeremy Whitworth

As Executive Director at Trails Carolina, a leading wilderness therapy program for youth and teens, I oversee operations and collaborate with our leadership team. Since 2022, I've also hosted the Common Ground Podcast for parents: https://trailscarolina.com/common-ground-podcast/ With a background in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education, I've managed adventure-based therapeutic programs across the US and Canada. My experiences in competitive athletics and adventure sports have honed my leadership, risk assessment, and decision-making skills, which I apply to running a successful business like Trails Carolina.

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Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.

Margot Lowman August 2022

Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.

Winnifred Wilson July 2022


Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.

Kristin Brace June 2022


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