Thursday, September 24, 2015

Three Strategies for Dealing With a Troubled Teenager

With changing hormones and both physical and mental growing pains, most teenagers will experience mood swings and small outbursts at some point in their development. While this is to be expected, many parents wonder how much of this is normal. When do your teen's normal mood swings and acting out turn into verifiable behavior problems? A few signs that there may be an issue include grade falls in school, a lack of motivation or interest (particularly in things that they used to enjoy), and activity that seems suspicious or out of character. If you suspect that your teen may be experiencing some of these issues, there are several actionable steps that you can take, depending on the severity of the situation. 



Speak With School Staff

The first course of action, if you believe that your teen may be experiencing difficulties, is to speak to school staff. Teachers spend hours every day with your child and see him or her interact with others. They may be able t shed insight into what is going on. School counselors are also a great resource and may be able to speak with both you and your teen to correct the behavior problem and get back on track. This also ensures that you are keeping the school in the loop about what is going on so that any future problems can be easily mediated. 

Seek the Help of a Therapist 

Sometimes it is difficult for troubled teens to speak to their parents or family members about their behavior. Perhaps they are embarrassed or need an impartial opinion. This is where the help of a licensed professional can come in. Look for a therapist who specializes in working with teenagers. The therapist will likely have a consultation with your child and and prescribe a series of sessions, with frequency depending on the severity of the situation. Oftentimes health insurance will cover this sort of treatment. 

Consider Alternative Living and Learning Options

If it seems that nothing else is working, you may want to consider a residential option for your child. Therapeutic boarding schools provide students with the opportunity to live and learn in community with others facing similar challenges. Onsite staff members are trained to deal with troubled teens and issues ranging from low self esteem to substance abuse. These types of programs tend to be holistic and help teens get back on track for a happy and healthy life. One such program is Wood Creek Academy, located in western Montana.