Parenting Troubled Teenagers
Don’t know where to turn?
When your teenager is getting into trouble, it can be difficult to know where to turn.
We work with families and young people and know that this is one of the most challenging times for parents.
If you’re worried that your teenager is getting out of control, here are some tips to help you turn things around:
- Share your worries. First of all, voice your concerns to your partner or friends of similar aged young people. It’s normal for teenagers to push boundaries and behave in more challenging ways, so it’s important to check whether your concerns are shared, or whether you’re just going through an adjustment phase.
- Talk to your teenager. The best time to do this is before things spiral too far out of control, but if things are already difficult, ask your teenager if you can arrange a time when you can both talk calmly. Explain that you are concerned about their behaviour, but also that you’re concerned that they may be unhappy. It can be helpful for both of you to separate behaviour from the person - you still love your teenager, but you might not like their actions.
- Maintain positive routine. A lot of ups and downs of teenagers come from the fact that their world is changing. They are becoming more adult, their bodies and hormones are changing, school pressure is increasing and their sense of themselves may be adjusting. If you can, maintain some positive routines so that at least some of your time with your teenager is stable and enjoyable. Simple things like having a cup of tea together when they get in from school. Or making the time once a week to eat dinner as a family can make a big difference - even if they protest at the time.
- Keep your cool. Their behaviour might be infuriating, but they are struggling with a lot of challenges, and you are still the adult in the relationship. Try to give them space when they need it, whilst insisting on some boundaries. If you are calm but firm, they are more likely to respond positively than if you mirror their behaviour
- Seek help. Teenage years have a reputation for being turbulent, but if your teenager is heading towards serious trouble, the damage can be lasting. Talk to your teenager’s school or college about your concerns and try a free online chat with one of our trained counsellors.
You can find more information and support to help you cope with the challenges of parenting teenagers at