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Dealing with a troubled teen is never an easy thing to do. It can be very overwhelming to have a teen who is violent, abusing drugs, depressed, alcoholic, violent, or engaging is other reckless behaviors. The act of staying away all night and worrying about your teen’s whereabouts or who he or she might be with and what they are doing may even make you feel exhausted.
The open defiance, the endless fights and failed attempts to communicate can also make you despair. The most prevalent factor affecting troubled teens is depression. Along with depression, there are other risk factors including suicide risk, low-self esteem, lack of motivation in all aspects of life and substance abuse. As a common teenage problem, statistics show that at any given time, about 5 percent of adolescents suffer from major depression.
The task of parenting a troubled teen may seem like an impossible task, especially if your teen’s violent mood swings and explosive anger is making you live in fear. To help ease the chaos at home, here are some steps you can take to deal with a troubled teen.
1. Look for the Source
This is the first step of action to take whenever you are faced with the challenges of dealing with a troubled teen. Some of these symptoms are visible including skipping school, lying and sneaking out of the home. While trying not to allow your troubled teen get away with them, it is important to set limits on what you do and don’t allow. Take time to ask questions, pay attention and seek the source of the behavior. If you must deal with those teenage problems that seem to turn your world upside down, then you must endeavor to find the source.
2. Communicate with others in your teen’s circle
A good place to start is with the parents of your teen’s friends as well as your neighbors. Learning about your teen’s sphere of influence with peers will give you a wider and clearer view of the situation. Be honest with yourself and don’t be afraid to open up about your concerns to friends and neighbors this can help to provide you with valuable resources of information. They can be a source of support to you as they probably might have been there too.
3. Practice Empathy
It is not easy to be a teenager and you must always remember that it is a tough stage in life. A great way to effectively deal with a troubled teen is to put yourself in their shoes regardless of the kind of problems you and your teen are faced with. Even when the going may seem to be very difficult, tough and stressful, practicing empathy is essential as it helps you to have an open mind and keep a soft heart toward your child.read more
What is Bullying?
Bullying is a deliberate act of making someone else feel down and less of what they are, repeatedly. It is an intentional misuse of power because most times the bully has an advantage over the person being bullied. Bullying can happen at any time in almost any place; in schools, neighborhood and even sometimes at home. Getting bullied might seem like a normal rite of passage to some people but the damage caused by bullying can be devastating it can lead to suppressed anger, depression, constant fear, among others. Bullies act out to make themselves popular, when they are jealous of you, to feel tough, to escape their own problems or because they are/were bullied themselves. They target teens based on physical appearance or social standing and they most pick on those who don’t fit in.
Types of Bullying
What makes bullying so dangerous is that it is constantly repeated and may have long lasting effects. The different types of teenage bullying are:
Verbal bullying: This may seem harmless but can be very hurtful. This is when someone is constantly being put down, belittled or teased using sarcasm to embarrass and hurt the other person in front of other people such as name-calling.
Physical bullying: This is the type of bullying that is the easiest to notice because there is evidence of the assault. This has to do with the show of dominance by punching, kicking, slapping, stealing, among other harmful show of force and this leaves the victim in a constant state of fear.
Emotional bullying: This is the subtlest form of bullying as it has to do with using emotional methods to make someone feel left out and alone. This form of bullying often leads to depression as other teens stigmatise the person being bullied.
Cyber bullying: This type of bullying has grown recently. This is the use of text messages, and social media platforms to continuously embarrass and humiliate someone. Just like hacking someone’s account and misusing or uploading of personal private information/images.
How Common is Teenage Bullying?
Family First Aid statistics show that about 30% of U.S. teenagers have had some bullying experience, either as the bullied or as the bully. Older teens bullying is less rampant than the younger teens, data suggests, or it may be that older teenagers are less susceptible to bullying. Boys engage more in physical bullying while girls tend towards the emotional and verbal bullying.
Teenage Bullying Effects
Physical bullying leaves a lot of physical injuries or problems in its wake. Verbal, cyber and emotional bulling has serious effects as well. It can lead to anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, violence, misplaced aggression, suicidal tendencies, drug use, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and stunted social development.
How to Reduce Teenage Bullying
Do not blame yourself for getting bullied, learn how to cope with stress, be true to yourself and get help. It is difficult to completely prevent bullying but there are certain things to do when it happens, such as:
Understand you are being bullied; always try to walk away from bullies, protect yourself if you can and report the situation to a trusted adult.
Look at bullying in a different light; figure out why this is happening, focus on the positives, help yourself in any way you can and seek help.
Find support from others; This is the most important of all, seek support from friends, online or in person and talk to teachers or adult authorities.read more
Self-harm is when an individual deliberately harms him or herself in order to deal with overwhelming or difficult situations. It is most common among adolescents and in the early stages of adulthood, usually appearing in individuals from 12 to 24. 2013 saw over 3.3 million reports of self-harm among teenagers worldwide. Studies have found that there is increased risk of suicide among teenagers who fall victim to self-harm, with the condition being found in 40-60% of suicide cases in the last decade.
Cutting one’s self is one form of self-harm. Although cutting may make the involved individual feel better or in control, it can make the victim feel worse in the long run and put them in a dangerous position. There isn’t any magic solution to help teenagers stop cutting, but there are steps to follow that can be of great help when it comes to how to stop cutting yourself.
Look for a Distraction
One way to overcome the urge to cut yourself is to be distracted by something. This allows the moment to pass and gets your mind off the idea. You might try:
- Calling a friend: Speak to him or her about what ever is comfortable for you. Just keep talking.
- Take a shower: It will invigorate your body thereby distracting you physically.
- Do some exercises: You can take a walk, run, go biking, climb, swim, or do yoga. During exercise, your mind is likely to think of something other than cutting.
- Seek healthy entertainment: Try watching non-violent movies on television.
- Listen to uplifting music: It will help you relax and make your mood better.
- Keep yourself busy: It’s important to stay active, as some people cut themselves out of boredom.
Do Things That Calm you
According to data collected from people who suffer from self-harm, teens sometimes cut themselves because they are agitated or angry. If that is the case for you, it will help if you do something calming whenever you feel the need to cut yourself.
Go to a Place Where you Can’t Cut yourself
If you feel the urge to cut, go to a place where it is difficult to do so. This can be a public place like the living room with your family, a coffee shop or out among your roommates. This makes it difficult for you to succumb to the urge. It might also make you feel better to be with people who support and love you.
Try Breathing Exercises
Breathing is a response that we can naturally take control of. Researchers have found that controlling your breath leaves positive effects on stress response, in this case the same response that is triggered when the urge for self-harm is felt. Learning fresh techniques may help you regain control of your triggers. Even Breathing is a technique that involves counting to five while inhaling, and then holding for five counts, before taking another five counts to exhale.
Use Relaxation Techniques
There are many relaxation techniques that can be used. One popular and useful one is an imagery exercise. Create an imaginary place that feels safe, somewhere you do not want to self-harm. Make an image in your mind that is peaceful or that reminds you of a memory you love or happy memory.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, peer pressure is the number one force behind teens engaging in dangerous and potentially deadly activities such as experimentation with drugs, the use of tobacco, underage drinking, distracted driving, and unprotected sex.
Parents naturally want to deter their children from any activity that may harm them mentally or physically, and that may prevent them from reaching their full potential.
Below are some recommendations for parents and teens from experts that deal with the problem on a daily basis in an effort to find solutions that work for all types of families.
Stephen Wallace, Senior Advisor to Students against Destructive Decisions, claims that talking to each other is the best thing to do. Wallace notes that his group’s efforts, and the efforts of other groups like his, have produced a substantial decrease in the use of drugs, tobacco, and alcohol in teens.
Tom Hedrick with The Partnership for a Drug-Free America believes that parents outrank peer pressure in the minds of their children, but only if the parent accepts the fact that they really have a say in how their child behaves. Talks should to be frequent and non-accusatory. Simply asking a child about the pressures that they face shows a level of care and understanding that is worth more than all the shouting in the world.
Dr. Rachel Fleissner, a member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, emphasizes that allowing a child to express their opinion is one of the easiest ways to get cooperation. The parent does not have to bend to the child’s will. Allowing a teen to express their opinion shows respect and demands the same in return.
Learn and Teach Relationship Skills
These experts also agree that teaching children how to evaluate people as potential friends is an invaluable life skill. Most teens, and even many parents, are not good at this. Attending a few classes on how to develop relationship skills helps parents and the teens find new ways to develop relationships with others and between themselves.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Dr. Fleissner also insists that parents can learn to deal with peer pressure by imagining what their child is experiencing. Role-playing can help promote understanding and can add some humor to a difficult situation.
Learn from your mistakes first. Teach your child to learn from when they have made a mistake and given in to peer pressure. Do not make the punishment for an infraction so severe that the child develops resentment toward you. Resentment creates an urge in your child to prove who is boss.
Teens can’t learn from you if you’re not there for them. It’s simple, you created this person and are responsible for them becoming the best they can be. Parents cannot afford to be selfish with their time.