The “Out of Control” that they won’t Outgrow

 Sometimes it’s not “just a phase”. Often times, parents dismiss their teen’s behavior as part of a “phase”, but unfortunately it may be more than that. No one wants to think their child may be struggling with a deeper rooted issue that cannot be outgrown. But sometimes this may be the case and if so, you can be the most important person in their lives to get them the help they need. It is important to identify and confront your teen’s behaviors, some of which may be normal, and others may indicate potential issues.
The following behaviors can be identified as a “normal” part of adolescence:

  • Moodiness, secretiveness, desire for a lot of alone time
  • Short-temperedness and less patience
  • Opposes hanging out with the family as much
  • Being late for curfew
  • Say things like, “Only my friends understand me! I hate it here, I wish I could leave.”

In contrast to the list above, here are some behaviors that could be potential warning signs. These are not categorized as “normal” teen behaviors:

  • Stealing
  • physical aggressiveness or destructiveness
  • Being verbally abusive, intimidating or threatening
  • Coming home drunk or high
  • Staying out all night
  • Getting arrested

It’s Now or Never

If you become worried that your teen’s behavior isn’t going to disappear with time, you should confront it head-on. It’s important to never bother with confrontation when you feel outraged. You must have your own emotions under control before you can help your teen control theirs. More often than not teen’s use out-of-control behavior to gain a sense of control. It seems pretty senseless, but it works for them. It works so well that they won’t change it without intervention and the application of better behaviors. Compromise, acceptance and appropriate negotiation are all part of healthy life skills that your teen needs to acquire in order to be a functional and successful adult. Without these things, having healthy relationships or maintaining a job will be nearly impossible. If you allow your teen to continuously get by with their behavior, you are setting them up for failure in the future.

Trails Carolina can help

Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program for boys and girls ages 10-17. This is an adventure-based therapy program that focuses on changing troubling behavior, guiding adolescents up new paths of self-awareness, leading families toward reunification and healing, and re-engaging students in an appreciation of academic challenge and learning. Trails Carolina addresses the “whole child” as an effective way to address every aspect of their struggles. Students leave Trails Carolina feeling empowered and well-equipped to lead happy and healthy lives. We can help your family today!
Contact us at 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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