Parenting Troubled Teens: Self-Control


A little over a week ago, Adam provided us with three great insights for parenting troubled, angry teens. Before reading this article, I encourage you to please read the first article about managing aggressive teens. As a recap, the first three points were

1. The parent should always control themselves.

2. The parent needs to recognize the signs of potential aggressiveness in their teen.

3. If a parent is the source of the problem, they need to remove themselves.

So what does it mean, that a “parent should always control themselves”? It sounds simple and self-explanatory, but isn’t there more to this simple truth? Or, am I just missing the point?

Parenting Troubled Teens Requires Parental Self-Control

I asked Adam if he could elaborate on the first point being discussed. I asked questions such as:

1. The parents are the boss, why can’t they react to their teen’s angry behaviors?

2. What are the repercussions if parents do not control themselves?

3. How can a self-controlled parent calm an aggressive situation with their teen?

So what is the point for parents practicing self control with their angry teen? Some of his answers are as follows. Adam said, “Controlling one’s self IS the point. A parent cannot control the actions of their teen. That’s an ever common problem. The parent attempts to control the behavior of the teen by making it worse (yelling, aggressive behavior, grounding, belittling, etc).

Behavior modification is most effective when it comes from behavior modeling. In other words, the parent MUST set the tone of the conversation. Realizing that the object is to get through the “moment” in a civil, caring and loving way. Even if the outcome is not desirable. With each “modeled” moment, the teen will see new responses to the ongoing situation.

The situation must be dealt with. In other words, the parent should not run around the issue, rather attack it head on being honest and open, BUT in control of their own emotions.”

Parents Cannot Control Their Teens, Even if the Outcome is Not Desirable

The sad truth is that many parents do not control themselves when their troubled teens are acting out. They react, yell, belittle, etc… I’m not talking down to you -the parent- because I know it’s next to impossible to control your actions when your angry teen is yelling at you, swearing, threatening, and even physically demolishing your home and belongings.

Really, what parent is perfect in this? None. BUT, with practice and dedication, you CAN learn how to control yourself when your teen is aggressive and out of control.

Your struggling teen WILL see the change in you, and your teen will learn that even though he/she is angry, they don’t have to respond aggressively. You cannot control your teen, but you can change your response to one that is loving, caring, and civil.

This isn’t easy…we know. But, we encourage you to take these steps in parenting your teen.

1. You cannot control the actions of your teen.

2. You MUST set the tone of the conversation.

3. Your goal is to get through the “moment” in a civil, caring and loving way, even if the outcome is not desirable.

We are here to support you, and if you ever have a question or want a community to talk to other parents about your teen, please join our forum. You are doing a great job, please continue and be encouraged that we are here for you and know what you are going through.