Disciplining and raising teenagers isn?t easy. It can make you miss the good old days of your child being in elementary school — even if they misbehaved, they didn?t constantly seek to question your authority in more ways than one. And sometimes, making a bad day better was as easy as buying them a cone of icecream.
Teens these days are going through a lot, and this can lead to a lot of behavioral issues. Nearly one in three students, for example, will be involved in bullying — whether they are the bully, or the victim, or both, depending on the situation. And another 20% of teens will experience extreme depression.
How can you help your teen through these difficult years? Here are a few suggestions.
Teenagers naturally want to push boundaries — it?s a part of growing up and becoming independent. While this is a healthy instinct, it can be maddening to deal with. One thing that may help is having a teenage behavior contract. Having your rules and expectations in writing can help to reduce the ?you said/I said? conflict and helps to establish a firm action/consequence sequence. What type of rules should be on your teenage behavior contract? Rather than trying to regulate emotion or something hard to define like ?bad attitude,? concentrate on things that are easy to observe and hard to argue with: following curfew, no swearing, etc. And when these things happen, have a clear punishment so that a teen doesn?t feel like they can wiggle their way out of it.
Teen Mental Health
Did you know that only 10% of people experiencing an eating disorder will seek professional help? Whether it?s depression, anxiety, an eating disorder or something else altogether, your teen may be going through more than you realize. To begin with, realize that some of the behaviors that often get written off as ?moodiness? can be symptoms of deeper issues. Withdrawal, hostility, and changes in eating habits, for example, can be symptoms of depression in teenagers. If you suspect your child is having these sorts of issues, setting them up with an unbiased third party — like a therapist — is often the best first move. A teen expert can help your teen identity exactly what they’re struggling with, and also if there is a “why.” They can then work with you to chart out a treatment plan for teen anxiety, depression, eating disorders, etc.