Lifting The Weight: Five Tips for Parenting Troubled Teens

8630787384 446d41974e z 225x300Having a teenager who is struggling with behavioral or emotional problems can weigh on a parent. Not knowing how to help them can consume your life. Teenagers may become troubled for a number of reasons, including home life, influences from peers, personal decisions, and mental health issues. No matter the cause of your teen’s trouble, there are things you can do to help your teen heal. Here are our tips for parenting troubled teens:
1. Find a way to connect. One of the best tips for parenting troubled teens is to find a way to connect with your kid, especially when they seem to want to do nothing but push you away. The more they push you away, the more you may feel like giving up. Stick with it and find a way to get through to him or her.

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2. Ask for help. Whether from a therapist, a school or a therapy program, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are lots of places for you to turn when you are in need of help, so find a resource that works for you and your teen and use the techniques they teach you to get through to your teenager. You don’t have to wait until the situation is so bad that it “warrants” professional help. If you feel stymied, ask for help form a professional.
3. Look for the root cause. The biggest misconception about parenting troubled teens is that you should just deal with your teen’s actions and emotional state right now. Looking back, finding the root cause of their trouble can be very help when it comes to dispelling that trouble and starting the healing process.
4. Be a friend, but only until you need to be a parent. Being a listening ear is great. Not stopping your child from doing something dangerous or ignoring warning signs because you want to be his friend is not great. Parenting troubled teens requires you to actually be a parent—be willing to step in and intervene if the situation is dangerous.
5. Know what to do in a crisis. Don’t be helpless when it comes to your teenager. The last thing you want to do is panic if a dangerous situation becomes a dire one. Know who you can call and what resources are available to you.
Parenting troubled teens can be difficult, but if you follow these tips, you can ease the burden and really help your teen through this hard time.
Trails Carolina can help your teen overcome their emotional and behavioral difficulties. For more information, please call 800-975-7303.

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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: 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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Trails Carolina’s wilderness camps for troubled teens are dedicated to helping teens work through behavioral or emotional difficulties, build trusting relationships with their family and peers, and achieve academic success.