Taking Care of Teenage Boys That May Be Killed By Their Curiosity

The old adage "curiosity killed the cat," isn't an exaggeration; and unfortunately, it doesn't just apply to cats. When teenage boys act on curiosity that leads them into dangerous and/or illegal activities, it's a very scary thing for parents to face. But these "curious" boys cannot be left to their own devices--they need extra care and guidance. How do you take care of teenage boys that may be killed by their own curiosity?

How Did My Teenage Boy Become Like This?

Parents can usually tell when their teenage boy begins having serious behavioral issues. Sometimes the issues begin with the onset of adolescence. This is when outside influences, such as friends, become much more important to them. It's also when physical changes begin to occur, such as the hormones of puberty and the associated mood changes. Sometimes there has been a traumatic event in the family, such as a divorce. There may also be mental or physical issues that existed since your teen boy was born. These issues, plus the stress and anxiety associated with school and peer influences may all play a role in his behavior. As parents, it is completely normal to want to discover why your son is acting out in these destructive ways.

The issues causing the behavior can help you, and others you enlist to help, to understand where the behavior is coming from and what you can do to address it. If the out-of-control behavior starts after some kind of trauma or loss, there are many places to get professional help for your boy. But no matter why the destructive behavior is happening, there are still consequences, and the behavior still must be dealt with. If an adult is arrested for robbing a bank, the judge isn't going to let him off because he claims he needed money to pay his debts or feed his family. His financial struggles aren't an excuse for breaking the law, and that's just how it is. Consequences must play out, and that's how it must be for all members of society. It is definitely important to look at issues that contribute to delinquent behavior, but a teenage boy still needs to be held responsible for his actions.

Please note that if your teenage boy is engaging in destructive, illegal behavior, it is recommended that you consult with a professional therapist or residential treatment center right away.

How Can I Manage My Son's Destructive Behavior?

According to Kim Abraham, LMSW, it's very important for parents to remember that they cannot control their children's behavior. However, they can control their own response to that behavior! It is a parent's job to make sure that their children are held responsible for their actions. Here are some critical responses for parents dealing with their teenage boy's destructive behavior:

  1. Make sure that your son is held accountable for his choices. If he's been engaging in illegal behavior, you may have to allow the law to take over, and that's important. Your son needs to know that there are consequences for his actions, and that you cannot protect him from those consequences. Doing so would not be in his best interests.
  2. Don't put off getting professional help. For example, according to CBS News, two million teens need substance abuse treatment, but only about 150,000 of them actually get it.
  3. Be a good example. If you expect certain behaviors of your teenage boy, such as no underage drinking, make sure you exhibit the behaviors of a responsible drinker yourself. In other words, make sure your son knows what your family values are, and that you live them.
  4. Set consequences for breaking those family rules, and then be consistent and apply them every single time the rules are broken.
  5. Find support for you and the family. A teenage son who is acting out in destructive ways doesn't only harm himself--he harms the whole family. Family therapy, support groups, and even a trusted friend can be vital during this time.

What Can I Do to Help My Family Survive?

At Hope for Hurting Parents, Tom and Dena Yohe share helpful information and lessons they gleaned from parenting a rebellious teen. They report that the number one lesson learned was that they needed to prioritize the actual relationships in the family--with each other, with their rebellious child, and with their other children. They used an analogy everyone in the family could relate to: a broken bone. The rebellious child was like a broken bone which needed some extra care and attention to help it heal properly, but without neglecting the rest of the family {the body}. It's definitely a fine line for parents to walk.

The Yohe's also took a look at their calendar in order to prioritize family time. Worrying about a destructive teen takes a lot out of his parents and family--mentally, emotionally and physically. They suggest parents cut out activities that are nonessential to the health and survival of the family, and focus on those things that will help to rejuvenate and build up the family as much as possible.

When Professional Help is Needed

As previously mentioned, once laws are broken, parents have a responsibility to allow justice to run its course. Even if laws have not been broken, if you can see that your teenage boy is on his way to serious trouble, it's time to consider professional help. Sometimes it is helpful to completely remove the boy from his destructive influences. In many cases, getting therapeutic help in completely different surroundings is an effective tool in redirecting your teenage boy's destructive behaviors. A fresh start in a therapeutic boot camp may be just what your teenage son needs.

Residential treatment is a place where your teenage son can begin to heal in a structured, safe and completely supervised environment. Liahona Academy provides just this type of long-term support and therapy for teen boys, as well as their parents and family. Don't hesitate to seek out the professional help you need to get your son back on track to a healthy and productive life!

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