What To Do With An Out-Of-Control Teenager

No parent expects that their son or daughter will grow up to become an out-of-control teenager who needs the help of professional treatment to help them overcome their poor behavior. But it can be tough to differentiate between normal teenage angst and boundary-pushing and a teen that is genuinely out of control.

To help you identify the signs of an out-of-control teen and what you should do if your teen needs more help than you can provide, Liahona Treatment Center is here to provide some insight.

When Is Your Kid “Being A Teen” Or Actually Out-Of-Control?

There are plenty of ways a teen can act out without being considered genuinely out-of-control, as the teenage years are when your child will be flexing their new-found independence and physical abilities. Unfortunately, cognitive development doesn’t happen as quickly as physical development, leaving teens in adult-sized bodies without the full reasoning capacity.

This lack of full cognitive development often leads teens to do reckless things such as speeding and attempting extreme physical feats. However, as long as the teens are willing to respond to correction—and their boundary-pushing isn’t malicious—it isn’t likely that they are truly out-of-control.

But there are some behaviors which should be immediate red flags for parents and guardians, as these behaviors can be highly destructive to your teen and those around them.

Some of the signs of an out-of-control teenager are:

  • Teen is abusing alcohol or drugs
  • Stealing from parents and others
  • Being arrested for misconduct
  • Skipping school repeatedly
  • Threatening family members verbally and/or physically
  • Abusing family members, particularly younger siblings
  • Destroying belongings of others
  • Risky sexual activity

Steps You Can Take To Reign In Your Out-Of-Control Teen

If your teenager is showing one or more of the above signs of being out-of-control, there are steps you can take to help curb their behavior and help them make better choices.

Discuss Problematic Behavior With Your Teen

It may seem redundant, but it is important that you have discussions with your teen about their behavior. While family rules often cover and prohibit the behaviors above, having conversations specifically addressing the behavior and asking why your teen is acting out can help uncover the root of your teen’s out-of-control behavior.

For instance, say your teen has started to skip school and has gotten involved with substance abuse. While it may be tempting to lecture and scold, instead, look to see why your teen is behaving this way. Try and ask open-ended questions that promote conversations, such as:

  • How do you feel about school?
  • When did you start abusing drugs? Do you know our family’s rules about substance abuse?
  • What are your friends up to when you aren’t at school?
  • How can I help you feel better without these things?

Outline Consequences Of Continued Misbehavior

In case you haven’t needed to outline consequences for this kind of out-of-control behavior, it is time to remedy that. We often recommend clear, natural consequences for your teen’s behavior, as it often is what helps them connect their behavior with the consequences that they don’t want to experience.

An example of natural consequences would be if your teen has a violent outburst and decides to trash their room, destroying belongings and wrecking clothing. Instinctually, most parents would lecture, assign a punishment such as cleaning up, and generally replace anything destroyed beyond use, especially clothing. Instead, explain that as you had discussed, if your teen destroyed their things, that was all you were providing and they would have to replace their things.

This method can be tough for parents, as it can leave children going to school in messy, hole-filled, and dirty clothes. But, it can help drive home to your teen that their direct actions brought about their situation.

Work With Your Teen’s School And Administration

Often, the behavior of an out-of-control teen can impact all parts of their lives, which includes their schooling. Whether it is due to poor grades, fighting, or other issues, it is important that you coordinate with your teen’s teachers and school administration.

As your teen spends a good part of their waking hours at school, by working with your child’s school, you can coordinate discipline—i.e., you know your teen is in detention, not missing—communicate about school projects, and work with the school counselor to develop a healthy academic schedule to support your teen.

Seek Professional Counseling Services

Along with these professionals, it is essential that you find professional counseling services for your out-of-control teen. Mental health professionals that specialize in working with teenagers often know tools and counseling methodologies, which will be particularly effective in helping your teen overcome their struggles.

Should you find that you have exhausted these resources and your teen is still displaying out-of-control behaviors, it may be time to consider a boarding school for troubled teens.

Consider A Boarding School For Troubled Teens

At all-boys boarding school or all-girls school, troubled teens can enjoy relief some of the constant pressure they are under as many teens feel like they need to perform for the opposite sex. Along with the benefit of being under less pressure, troubled teens can also enjoy a fresh environment where they can be supported in changing their behaviors, rather than have negative influences that can hold the teens back.

Therapeutic boarding schools for troubled teens like Liahona Treatment Center also emphasize therapy along with academic recovery, providing teens with assistance in learning to balance their various needs. Positive physical outlets are also built into boarding schools for troubled teens, with cooperative sports, community service activities, and outdoor adventure helping an out-of-control teen learn to channel their energies positively.

If you would like to see if your son is a good fit for Liahona, feel free to contact us with your questions. Our program advisors will be happy to tell you all about our program and how it can help your son make critical changes in his life to reach future happiness.

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