Raising a child is both the most rewarding, most natural thing in the world – and the most difficult one. There isn’t a family in the world that hasn’t had at least one major fight. Moreover, pushing boundaries is a perfectly normal part of growing up. Testing limits allows a child to assert their individuality and explore who they are. In most situations, these arguments resolve themselves. Unfortunately, however, in some cases arguments become an everyday occurrence. Teens start ignoring adults, engage in dangerous behaviors, and stray far from a healthy path. While there is no magic solution to parenting struggling teens, several tips can make life easier for the whole family.
When parenting struggling teens, the first step is to find the underlying cause of the issue. Usually, a teen’s behavior is directly related to some influence, internal or external. For example, mental illness (such as depression) can cause drastic changes in your child. Falling in with the wrong crowd can also lead a child to make the wrong choices. Substance use is a possibility – as is bullying, peer pressure, anxiety, or a virtually endless number of other potential factors. Finding the root of the problem is vital to figuring out ways to address it.
Dos and Don’ts of Parenting Struggling Teens
The most important thing to keep in mind when parenting struggling teens is that there is no wrong way to be a parent.
Every family is different and nobody knows what’s best for your child better than you do. With numerous styles and approaches to parenting struggling teens, finding a universal truth may be impossible. However, experience shows that striking a balance between being a parent and being a friend can help struggling teens through the worst of situations.
On the spectrum that ranges from permissive parenting on one end and authoritarian on the other, the middle ground – “authoritative” parenting – often produces the best results. Too permissive can lead a child to ignore the parent’s authority; too authoritarian, and the child might fear and resent the parent (and, possibly, lose respect). An authoritative parent is always available for the child and supports them in finding passions and following healthy patterns; however, they are also there to set rules to make sure the child makes good decisions.
Trails Carolina Can Help
If your child has a problem, it may be time to consider professional help. Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program for struggling teens, ages 11-17. Our students commonly deal with issues such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, trauma, and other behavioral challenges.
For more information about Trails Carolina, please call 800-975-7303 today!