If you are a parent, you already know how trying it can be to raise a teen, especially one who has behavior issues. Teens can be selfish and dishonest, engage in risky behavior and even become violent. If you are dealing with a teen and nothing has worked so far to help them, here are some tips:
Take Away the Safety Net
If you are the parent who is constantly bailing your kid out or defending his actions, stop. One of the surest ways to curb teen rebellion is to make them responsible for the cleanup of their own messes. Don't apologize for them to others, make them apologize. Make them pay you back when they break things.
Condition Privileges on Good Behavior
Privileges like driving, seeing friends, cell phones and other screen time should be based on appropriate behavior. Your kids know what this is. It may be kindness instead of rudeness, being on time, getting good grades, helping at home, or a combination. Be clear what this means, and instead of punishment for bad behavior, limit privilege to 3 full days of good behavior. If they slip, start the clock over.
Look for Underlying Cause
In many cases, a shift in behavior for a teen may be due to something in their life. It can be medical, either body or mind related. In many cases, mental illness begins to manifest during adolescence. It can also be social, related to bullying. It also may be congenital, as some who fall on the autism spectrum don't get noticed or diagnosed until much later. One of the best places to begin, if problems are not getting better, is to give your child a full physical workup and to go to some family counseling, asking the counselor to let you know if he/she suspects that your child has some deeper underlying issues that may need more extensive therapy and/or medication. There are some surprising things that can be found as a link to this issue, including embarrassment at poor school success, and often this can be remedied with a diagnosis of ADD, ADHD, or even poor vision and an eyeglass prescription.
Get Outside Help
In the most extreme cases, if traditional outpatient solutions and discipline shifts don't help, inpatient care may be necessary. If your child's health and safety are at risk due to suicide or risky behavior, there are a number of different kinds of programs that can help you to help them. Wilderness therapy programs and Residential treatment centers are often great solutions to help your child find a better way to live through patience, therapy and positive redirection. In some cases, they may even be covered through medical insurance.