by Shadra Bruce

Are you struggling with an out of control teen and feeling hopeless about things ever being any different? Are you losing sleep, worrying about whether or not you’re doing it the “right” way, hoping the decisions you’re making won’t backfire on you or your kids? It seems like parents have to do a lot of muddling through, waiting a few years to see whether or not any of their hard work will pay off.

But what do you do when you have an out of control teen who is making life for you and the rest of your family a living hell? It’s more common than you’d think, and finding the right way to deal with out of control teens may be a matter of trial and error.

If the normal strategies aren’t working with your teen, don’t give up. You know them better than anyone else and you can reach them on a level that no one else can. Therefore you need to come up with a different strategy that caters specifically to your out of control teenager. A passive aggressive teen who pays lip service but never follows through on responsibilities has to be dealt with differently than a violent teen who threatens your safety or the safety of your family.

No one can advise you about the best way to handle your out of control teen; every situation is different. These tips can help:

  • Protect yourself. If your teen is putting you or your other children at risk with violent behavior, call the police. It’s not worth the risk and not fair to your other kids to live in those conditions.
  • Be consistent. If you have house rules, you can’t enforce them some of the time and look the other way some of the time. Teens need consistency.
  • Let go a little. Your teen is trying to become an adult. As they earn respect and trust, reward them with additional privileges and responsibilities.
  • Expect respect. No matter what is going on in your teen’s life, he or she is capable of treating you with respect, and it’s ok to walk away and disengage if they are not.
  • Put your teen in control. Your teen should understand that it is his or her own choices that lead to whatever consequences they experience.
  • Get away from it. Take care of you. Go to a spa. Have a date night. Let your teen know that you still plan to prioritize yourself and your relationships with other family members and friends.
  • Tell your teen, every day, that you love them and always will.