Every parent dreads having to deal with a rebellious teenager. However, there are tried-and-tested techniques for successfully helping teens grow up in a safe and responsible way. This article explains four ways to deal with the challenges of a difficult teenager.
Understand Why Teens Take Risks
Recent psychology shows that many teens actually experience pleasure and even happiness through risk-taking. This is because risk-taking may take the teen out of their comfort zone while helping them overcome fear and discomfort. Teens naturally feel the need to challenge social norms while pushing the boundaries of their predefined social position. Consider providing opportunities that challenge the teen in safe and structured environment. Read more about the psychology of teen rebellion at Psychologytoday.com.
The conservative Amish sect famously allows their teens to leave their isolated communities and experience the real world. This rite of passage is referred to as the rumspringa, which means to run around. An astounding 80-90 percent of Amish teens return to the flock and remain in their community for the rest of their lives. Consider establishing structure while providing freedom to your teen. Parents often panic and overwhelm teens with rules, structure and punishments, which only further pushes the teen to rebel. Therefore, encourage safe risk-taking through constructive activities.
Get Legal Help
Rebellious teenagers typically fail to understand the consequences of their actions. More specifically, they often don’t realize the legal ramifications of their actions. Defiant teens that enjoy taking risks and engaging in criminal behavior may end up in legal trouble. Depending on the offense, a parent may want to consider hiring an attorney in an attempt to preserve the child’s future opportunities.
A supportive criminal defense attorney will be able to skillfully handle any criminal matters while making appropriate restitution. It can be a hard choice between allowing your child to deal with the consequences of his or her actions and protecting their future prospects. Do your research on their specific offense and how it can impact their opportunities.
Consider trying a ‘scared straight’ approach. That is, allow your rebellious teen to see the consequences of risk-taking and poor decision making. Teens often feel they see the true reality of the world when they actually only see what they want. If you want to explain to your teen why it’s important to have a stable job and home, have them volunteer at a homeless shelter. If they are beginning to engage in criminal behavior, consider having them go along for a police ride along or prison tour. If your teen is ever arrested, consider letting them spend the night in jail.
In conclusion, parents can better deal with high-risk teens through proper understanding, allowing for autonomy, scaring them straight and getting legal help.