Parenting Teens

From the day your baby is born you worry about their wellbeing—have they eaten enough, are they healthy, will they develop normally? As your children grow and develop, your anxieties for their wellness increase with your love for them. Your concerns leap from simple concepts to major, possibly life-altering problems: are they hanging out with good kids, drinking or doing drugs, having unprotected sex? You never imagined when you held that beautiful newborn baby in your arms that these were problems you would have to ponder. Parenting teens can be challenging and frightening at times, but there is help out there.

Teenage girls suffer from many stressors during adolescence. Problems stemming from self-image issues, anorexia, depression, self-mutilation, and more, can blot out the joy in their lives. Depression is oftentimes, the underlying issue for adolescent girl’s destructive behavior—it is the number one factor in instances of self-harm, suicide, underage drinking, drug use, and rage. Depression affects teens differently than adults. Close to eighty percent of depressed teens act out in anger, whereas, most depressed adults are deeply saddened, not angry. Teens tend to stay close to some friends when depressed, while adults pull back from most social interactions when morose feelings arise. Teens who are suffering from depression usually isolate themselves more than before, they tend to drop out of activities they used to enjoy, and often feel extremely fatigued and hopeless; this feeling of hopelessness can lead to high-risk behaviors, such as unsafe sex and drug use. Noticing the warning signs of depression can make an enormous difference in the outcome for your teen. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent devastating events from occurring.

Parenting teen boys can be equally challenging. Boys are just as intelligent as girls, in general, but they do not understand oral commands as well. When speaking to your son, if you want him to really hear you, touch him as you speak; a gentle squeeze of the hand will trigger his sense of touch, alerting him to listen. Do not waste your time lecturing teenage boys—long-winded speeches are usually lost on them and are not productive. Instead, use small words and as few as possible, to get your point across. Have him repeat back the important instructions to ensure his understanding. Boys do not fully develop their frontal lobe until about age eighteen. This essential brain function is what makes them understand consequences, sense fear, and control their impulses. With their delayed frontal lobe development, teenage boys should be monitored constantly. This is not an issue of trust—it is about their physiological engineering.

Parenting teens can be frustrating and scary, but if you keep communication open, watch for unusual behavior, and love them through whatever trials may come, you can both end up stronger as they enter adulthood.

Parenting Teens with Mental Health Issues

Parenting is a chore like no other. It is filled with up’s and down’s, high’s and low’s, sometimes it can be navigated through with the usual course of curfews, boundaries and arguments to temper through the adolescent roller coaster and then other times will need extreme intervention. That is why parenting teens with mental health issues needs a parent’s utmost commitment, love and support.

Mental health needs for a child can be a difficult reality for parents. No one wants to admit that there is something different about their child, but acknowledging your child’s needs is the first step to recovery and treatment. Start with your child’s pediatrician and express any concerns you have experienced. Things like ongoing school issues, odd behaviors, change in personality or worries that you have. Should all be addressed here. Chances are if your child has been thoroughly evaluated, your pediatrician can either refer them to a specialist or start therapy and/or pharmaceutical treatment.

Parenting teens with mental health issues will be fraught with challenges, sometimes even violent or unstable behaviors, but the good news is that active and supportive parents can make all the difference in their child’s life.  When a teen is behaving in ways that are beyond your control, it is in a parent’s best interest to get the help and the support that their teen so desperately needs. Mental illness is a disease. It is treatable with therapy, medication and support, but will require a huge amount of commitment and care on a parent’s behalf.

With a treatment plan and caring medical staff in place, you and your teen can slowly start down the path of life—together. If may be extremely unsettling and certainly not a part of a parent’s plans for their child, but as parents know, you cannot always get exactly what you want. Children are given as gifts; it is a parent’s responsibility to get them the help they need. Parenting teens with mental health issues will not be easy but no one ever said that life was about the easy path. It is about the best path and life for your child’s specific needs.

Parenting Suicidal Teens

No parent wants to believe that suicide or thoughts of suicide will affect their teenager, but unfortunately, it can strike any teen in any family at any time. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in teens and the second leading cause of death in college students. There are many surveys that reveal that sixteen percent of high school students have thought about suicide, and eight percent have admitted to making an attempt. Parenting suicidal teens can be very challenging and must be approached with the utmost care. There are many things a parent can do to prevent teen suicide, and, probably the most basic and effective is talking openly about suicidal thoughts. Providing a safe environment for a teen to talk about their feelings is one of the first and most effective thing a parent can do.

How to Talk to a Teen About Suicide

Parenting suicidal teens can be difficult, but there are steps to creating a safe environment for discussion. First, choose a right time to talk. Timing is very important, and should be selected based on when the teen will be most attentive. A car ride is a great place to begin a discussion because it not only forces a captive, attentive audience, but provides a safe place where no one else can hear the discussion. Also, thinking about, and deciding on what to say before the discussion actually takes place is a great way to ensure that negative emotions and fear do not overtake the conversation. Starting with statistics or recent media coverage of suicide is a great place to start.

When discussing suicide with a teen, make sure to be honest. If talking about suicide is uncomfortable, it is important to convey that to the teen. Mentioning how important the subject of suicide is a great way to bridge the age gap and help create a common interest between the parent and the teen. Also, giving the teen a place to express their discomfort with the discussion is also important to creating a safe environment.

Even though teen suicide is relatively rare, parenting a suicidal teen can happen to any family at any time. Knowing the tools that can create a safe talking environment is the first and most important step to preventing teen suicide.

Why Parenting Alcohol Abusive Teens Can Renew Your Family

Teenagers and adolescents can cause a great amount of strife and stress in the most functional of families, but when you throw in alcohol abuse, it can cause your normal world to spin out of control. Parenting alcohol abusive teens can be difficult and stressful upon the entire family unit. But the problem needs to be addressed through either counseling or entering a reputable treatment center. Do not be surprised if your teen fights you tooth and nail with such protests as denial or outright anger, it is all part and parcel of adolescents.

Parenting alcohol abusive teens needs to start at home. The best gift you can give your child during this tumultuous period is at least one place where stability and consistency rein supreme. Parents should become a united front, to partner with each other in this fight to save their teen’s life. After all, a lifetime of alcohol abuse can forever alter the course of a teen’s life, it can be the difference between being accepted to go to college and not going to college, getting a good job and enjoying the rewards of your hard work or facing a life in a series of dead-ends and missed opportunities.

As parents you want the best for them, and sometimes having to make the hard call will ultimately be that critical junction in their life. Start by seeking a reputable counselor and follow treatment options. Sometimes a teen will need to physically leave the home in order to heal and grow out of their addictive behaviors. It will not be easy, they will fight and hate you every step of the way, but no one ever said parenting alcohol abusive teens would be easy.

At the end of the day and in order to get your teen’s life back on track, you will have to step in and make the hard call. But years later when they are successful and well-adjusted adults, you will know that the pain and angst was worth it.

Common Struggles of Parenting Teens

Adolescence can be difficult at times, especially if you happen to be the teen in the midst of it or the parents who are also going through those tumultuous times with you. It is a time of growth, or changing bodies, hormones and mood swings to the most extreme. The teen years are the last little respite of childhood before you enter the adult world and children are often biting and clawing their way against it. But it is not always so dire. As a matter of fact, this period of life can have great rewards, once you are able to navigate the common struggles of parenting teens.

Being a parent of a teen is a huge challenge in itself. Adolescence means, to ripen, to mature, leaving behind your childish world and coming to terms with the harsher reality of being an adult. This can be a difficult transition, even with the most even-keeled of children. But when you throw things in like peer pressure, recreational drug or alcohol abuse and wild hormones, you might end up with a recipe for disaster. Common struggles of parenting teens can include things like establishing boundaries, which can lead to arguments that can become verbally abusive and/or physical even. Another aspect of parenting issues can be maintaining respect between the parent and the child. This can entail a gamut of issues like study habits, observing curfew times and doing chores.

Often parents can become embroiled in a power struggle between their teens, wanting at all costs to win arguments and control, when really what a teen wants most of all is to be heard and respected. Taking the time to calmly discuss items like curfew or grades, even drug or alcohol use can help alleviate those trigger-points that flare up when in the heat of an argument. Cooler heads will prevail if you can also keep your temper to a minimum. Speak calmly and even walk away from your teen if necessary.

Common struggles of parenting teens can have an effect upon the entire family. It is important to carve out time, no matter what your schedule and reconnect. Chances are they might even smile.

Tips For Parenting Teens With Internet Addiction

The Internet can be a fun and useful tool for education, socialization, and entertainment, but if your teen is spending too much time on the computer, they may be struggling with Internet addiction. Parenting teens with Internet addiction can be difficult, but there are many ways to ensure your child gets the help he or she needs.

Internet addiction is a serious behavioral disorder in which a person loses control over the amount of time they spend on the Internet. You may disapprove of how much time your teen spends on the computer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your child is suffering from an addiction. If your teen develops obsessive behaviors, choosing Internet activity over all other aspects of their life even after punishments and ramifications like being grounded, losing friends, or experiencing declining grades, then you may want to seek the help of a professional. Internet addiction can have serious mental and physical repercussions, such as depression, insomnia, and carpal tunnel syndrome, so it is important to consult a professional as soon as you discover signs of addiction.

There are many solutions to explore when you are parenting teens with Internet addiction. Counseling and therapy can be very helpful. Reducing your child’s dependency on Internet devices is the primary goal of therapy, so your therapist may suggest additional family activities that make Internet access impossible, such as camping, hiking, or other outdoor experiences. Engaging your teen in structured activities away from the computer may help them break their addiction while also providing quality time for your entire family.

Parenting teens with Internet addiction can be just as difficult as dealing with drug or alcohol addiction in your children. All addictions are characterized by a loss of control over one’s activities, which means that your teenager’s Internet addiction is more than just a desire to spend time online. With professional help and family support, your teen will have the tools to overcome his or her addiction and develop a healthy relationship with technology.

Resources For Parenting Teens With Eating Disorders

Parenting teens with eating disorders can be a scary, overwhelming experience. There are many ways to get your child the help he or she needs. If you suspect your teen has an eating disorder, it is important to find professional help as soon as possible. Eating disorders are a serious psychological problem with dangerous physical ramifications. A trained professional can offer counseling for both you and your teen to treat this disorder and cope with future challenges.

One important step on the road to recovery is therapy for your teen. Some teens with eating disorders benefit from individual counseling sessions, while others prefer group therapy. Talking with other teens who are struggling with the same problem can help your child feel less alone. Your teen is not the only one who can benefit from therapy. Parenting teens with eating disorders can take an emotional toll on you too. Having someone to talk with can help you keep your emotional balance and give your child the support they need to overcome their disorder. In addition, it is possible that your teen learned their unhealthy behavior through your own attitudes toward food, so examining your behavior could help both you and your child.

If your teen is dangerously malnourished, they may require medical care in addition to therapy. Watch your teen carefully for unhealthy habits or rapid weight loss, and contact your doctor immediately if you suspect your teen may need medical attention. Eating disorders can affect your teen physically in many ways other than weight loss, such as low blood pressure, bone loss, and inflammation, so a doctor’s examination is crucial.

When you are parenting teens with eating disorders, you must remember that there are no quick fixes. Eating disorders can be a life-long problem and require a strong network of support for your teen to cope with their disorder both now and in the future. A mental health professional is a key part of that network and an invaluable resource for dealing with your teen’s eating disorder.

Parenting Self Harming Teens

Being a parent can have its challenges, but parenting self harming teens can feel impossible. Self harming behavior is when a person intentionally inflicts physical harm onto their body to help ease emotional suffering and distress. This type of behavior affects around 15 percent of kids and teens.

There are many different types of self harming behaviors and the manifestation of them has a broad range. Some forms of self harming behavior include burning, hitting, cutting, and scratching. One of the commonalities found in kids and teens who are suffering with self harming behavior is that most of them tend to also have an accompanying mental illness like anxiety, an eating disorder, or depression.

As a generally rule, teens and kids with self harming behaviors do not know how to express their feelings verbally, leaving them to act out their feelings through self harm. Teens use self harming as a way to soothe the sadness of depression and other similarly overwhelming emotions. Self harming behavior is also used to express feelings like shame, disgust, and self loathing, and it can be used to express negative thoughts they cannot seem to express any other way. When parenting self harming teens, always make sure that they feel that there communication is important and encourage open, non-judgmental discussion.

Self harm has also been found to be addicting. When a teen self harms, endorphins enter the bloodstream, and the ‘high’ or ‘rush’ felt from that is pleasing, which is how self harm becomes associated as soothing instead of destructive.

Self harm has been categorized by psychologists to be called a type of non-suicidal self injury because in almost all the cases of self harm, there is no real intention to end their life. In some cases, however, self harming behaviors over a long period of time can lead to suicidal thoughts and attempts.

When parenting self harming teens, make sure to take the teen to a therapist so that they can be evaluated by a professional. A suicide assessment will be administered to determine if other psychological concerns are present. A therapist will also be able to teach the teen healthy strategies to deal with their emotional life.

 

Ways To Communicate With Angry Teenagers

Many parents have a tough time communicating with their teenage children. If you are struggling with parenting angry teens, you may need to develop new methods of communication. First, you need to figure out why your teen is so angry. Anger may only be a mask to cover other emotions like fear, disappointment, or embarrassment. Your teen may be dealing with a bully at school or feeling self-conscious about his or her appearance, but they are hiding these emotions with anger. This anger may be directed toward you, which makes it difficult to discover the root of the problem.

One method for parenting angry teens is to enlist the help of others. Your teen may be more likely to talk with another family member or a therapist to help them deal with their emotions. Many teens see their parents as the enemy, so they do not open up about issues that are troubling them. Your teen’s school counselor may be able to provide you with a list of teen therapists and counselors in your area.

If you are struggling to engage your teen in conversation, try talking about less emotional issues first, like their hobbies or friends. Be careful not to pass judgment or offer unsolicited advice. Teenagers need someone to listen, and will quickly shut down or become angry if they feel like you are not listening. As a parent, it can be difficult to not immediately jump in to help with your teen’s problem. Remember that you already are helping, simply by listening and providing a safe space for your teenager.

Parenting angry teens can make you feel frustrated and discouraged. When your child was young, they came to you for help, but now they may be pushing you away, calling you names, or refusing to talk. Your teenager is dealing with many turbulent emotions, so do not blame them for being angry. With compassion, perseverance, and careful listening, you may be able to communicate with your teen and help them through this difficult period in their life.

Asking Family Members For Help With Your Teen

Raising a teenager can be a frustrating experience for any parent, which is why it is important to develop a network of family support for parenting teens. You may have already developed a family network to help raise your child when they were younger. Perhaps you asked your mother to baby-sit, or set up play dates with your child’s cousins so they could play and socialize at a young age. As your child grows up and becomes a teenager, you may not need a babysitter anymore, but you still need a strong network of family and friends to help you parent your teen.

Family support can be one of the most important aspects of a teenager’s life, especially if they are struggling with other issues such as peer pressure, depression, or addiction. Many teens have trouble asking their parents for help. They can become rebellious and antagonistic when you offer your own advice or solution for a problem. If you are having difficulty communicating with your teen, you may want to ask another family member, such as a grandparent or uncle, to talk with your teenager. They may be more likely to open up to a family member who is not their parent.

Family support for parenting teens is also a great way to improve your own mental health. Talking with a relative who has raised a teenager before can open up your mind to new solutions or methods of communication. Your teen is not the only one who needs someone to talk to. Parents have problems of their own, and it is healthy to talk them through with a friend or family member.

Some people say it takes a village to raise a child. That proverb can be especially true when you are parenting a teenager. By developing a strong network family support for parenting teens, you provide your child with a safe group of people to confide in, which can make a huge difference as they navigate the pains and difficulties of growing up.