Three Questions About Troubled Teens
Mr. Ryan Piester earned his Masters of Social Work degree from Marywood University in 2008. Since graduating he has been employed as a Therapist and Behavioral Specialist Consultant. Also, Mr. Piester has four years of experience working with troubled teens in a residential treatment facility.
Q: Why do some teens not listen to their parent’s advice and end up getting in trouble?
Teenagers who see their parents as “always telling me what to do” or “nagging me all the time” are less likely to listen to their parent’s advice. Parents should try not to harp on issues that do not affect them like hairstyles, music, or a messy room.
If they respect their teenager’s right to be an individual, their children will be more likely to listen to them about subjects that matter such as drugs, sex, and the importance of schooling. Also, parents do not always need to offer advice on their teen’s personal lives.
Often the teen just wants someone to listen to their problems and can become resentful if others continually tell them what they should do. If you have advice, be sure that you listen to their side of the story, their feelings, and their ideas first.
Q: What can parents do to help keep their teens out of trouble?
The key for parents is to balance their approach with a combination of discipline and love. Be firm but fair. Harsh parental responses do not always stop negative behaviors and can permanently damage the relationship between children and their parents. All people, including teens, are more likely to listen to people whom they like. However, parents who do not hold their children accountable are likely to raise kids who do not learn to take into account other people’s thoughts and feelings. Such teens may grow up believing their needs are more important than those of others.
Q: So if parents do all the things right, will their children grow up without getting into trouble?
Sometimes, no matter what parents do, their teens will get into trouble. Teens will likely find a way to do something if they are set on doing so. Plus, part of growing into an adult is learning from one’s mistakes and experiences, not just following a parent’s advice. It is important for the parents to continue to have a positive relationship with their teens, even if they are misbehaving, or they run the risk of being “tuned out” as someone their teens listen to and respect. This is by no means an easy task. If a teen’s behaviors begin to cause intolerable levels of tension in the household, the parents should consider professional counseling to assist in finding solutions.
Reprinted with the permission of the National Association of Social Workers.
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