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How to deal with troubled teens

Teenagers tend to experience physical and emotional changes

Teenagers tend to experience physical and emotional changes that may lead to teen troubles like depression, drug or alcohol abuse, relationship problems, anxiety, violence, identity crises, or issues with body image. See some of the steps to know how to deal with a troubled teen.

Be a parent and a friend

Many parents have to deal with troubled teens. The hormonal changes coupled with physical and emotional, and social changes may trigger troubling behavior in a teen. Therefore, the first and the foremost way of dealing with your troubled teen is to become a friend. Instead of being a neglectful or authoritative parent, indulge in your teens’ routine and act friendly towards them. Respect their views and opinions, in fact ask them to give their opinions on different family issues. Involve them in different things. This will keep your communication channels open. If you are friendly with your teen and advice her/him instead of forcing your decisions, then your teen will come to you if she/he faces a problem. Teens like to feel confident and wish to be the center of attraction, so keep them as the focus of your conversation with them. This will also help your teenager to develop self confidence and they will confide their problems to you.

Keep a check on weight

Teenagers worry about being accepted in their peer group. They want to feel attractive as this increases their self esteem and their chances of being accepted. Although, all the teenagers cannot be attractive, you can help your teen to be physically fit. Therefore, keep a check on the weight of your teen so that your teen does not get overweight or obese. Obesity or overweight teens are more prone to troubling teen issues such as binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa, depression, and substance abuse. So, as a parent, you need to inculcate healthy eating habits in your teen. This will help her/him to stay physically fit, will keep the hormones in check and will help the teen to gain a better understanding of herself/himself. At the same time, you must help your teen develop a positive image for her/his body, particularly teenage girls as they tend to have body image issues.

Be a role model and not a hypocrite

As parents you can be a role model for your child. If you live your life with moral codes and do not suffer from issues like alcohol dependency, chances are high that your teenage will not pick up troubling issues like substance abuse. But, make sure that you don’t be a hypocrite. For instance, if you want your teen to stop lying, you must say the truth yourself. If you are caught lying, you cannot expect your teen to say the truth on different occasion. Also, do not reprimand the child and punish her/him unnecessarily. If you notice undesirable behavior, you must talk to your teen about it and focus on the ways of eliminating the behavior instead of scolding and shouting. Make your teens feel the love that you have for them.

Get help

If you feel that your teen is troubled and is dealing with issues like depression, nervous breakdown, substance abuse, or identity crises, don’t wait for the matters to resolve themselves. Instead, opt for some professional help or assistance. Consult a counselor if your child has isolation problems, eating disorders, or anxiety and depression. But, before taking your teen to a professional, make sure that you do a thorough check on your teens behaviors and actions as sometimes a normal teen behavior may also appear like a disorder. For instance, if you think that your teen might have depression, look for symptoms such as loss of interest in pleasurable activities, changes in eating and sleeping pattern, guilt, etc. At times teens might just have mood swings, so without adequate observation, don’t label their actions by saying sentences like, ‘You have depression,’ or ‘You are way too aggressive.’

Show love, care and warmth

Teenagers will suffer silently if they have a disturbed family background. Although, as a parent you cannot control problems like divorce, financial issues, or fights, but you can make sure that these issues have lesser effect on your child. Therefore, always make sure that your teen knows that you love her/him. Care for your teen (but don’t care too much, it will be repulsive) and provide her/him the warmth and acceptance. Never force your teen to choose sides during a fight with your spouse. If your teen is dealing with relationship issues, make sure that you help her/him deal with it positively. As a parent, discuss the issue of physical intimacy with your teen so that she/he can avoid teenage pregnancy, physical abuse, or STDs. Having a one to one talk with your teen can help her/him deal with identity crises. With some patience and lots of care, you can turn the storming period of teenage into a happy and healthy developmental stage.

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