Penny For Your Thoughts

Judge Penny Gives "Real" Advice

How do I deal with an out of control teenager?

Everywhere I go, people stop and want to talk to me abut their out of control teenager. Because parents are not given a handbook on how to raise children, it can be difficult to know what to do so that you don't run your children away.

Children need discipline and structure. By the time they become out of control teenagers, it will be difficult to get them in line. I said difficult, but not impossible.

The number one thing to remember is that you are the parent. Your teenager is not your buddy or your friend. By virtue of you having that child, you are responsible for his or her actions. You must take control of the situation. It will take time and disciple on your part. This teenager didn't get like this overnight. You have allowed this child to get away with a great deal over the years and now it has gotten out of hand.

As children become older, parents tend to give them adult like responsibilities before they are able to process the consequences of their actions. Teenagers are simple older children. They deserve respect from you, but you are the parent. Do not relinquish your control to your child.

Communication is key. Talk to your teenager everyday -- even when they don't want to talk. Become a part of their lives. Don't just be a provider for them, but engage them with their friends, school and their activities. Spend time with your teens. Go on family outings. Have weekly family meetings over dinner. Make the family meetings a requirement. Discuss issues that arise both in the family and issues outside of the family. Lay out the ground rules for living in your house and expect the rules be followed. When the rules are broken, make certain that you follow through with appropriate consequences. Seek outside support if you need it. But, remember, you are the parent.

Finally, become educated with social media and technology. A good way to remain in contact with your teenage is through the way they communicate. A text to your teenager during the day letting them know that you love them can go a long way.

Being a parent is hard. It is a life long commitment. Seek advice from professionals if necessary and get the help of other family members. Place your teenagers in constructive extracurricular activities. They may be more receptive of others. Just know that you're not alone. You must take back your house and communicate clearly and specifically what your expectations are.




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