September 2012

Parenting is not an easy job especially when dealing with troubled teens.  During the teenage years, children tend to be rebellious, cause all sorts of problems and may be very hard to deal with.  The reasons for the unwanted emotional and behavioral problems may be caused by several factors.  It is up to you as a parent to help your teen by being there for him during these hard and challenging adolescent years.

As a parent you should never give up when the situation becomes harder.  It is important to always be by your teenager’s side to help him manage this hard time.  There are several ways you can ensure that you are there for your teen.

Open Lines of Communication

As with any relationship, communication is key.  It is important to open all lines of communication and let your difficult teen know that you are always there for him and that you are always ready to listen to what he has to say.  To communicate effectively, it is important for you to learn new ways of communicating with your teen that encourage openness.

 As parents we sometimes tend focus on the verbal part of communication.  In order to improve your relationship with you teen, turn your attention to listening to him.  It may be a difficult proposition, but connecting with your by listening intently is a major advantage for you.

Focus on the Positive

It is important to be positive.  Despite the constant urge to point out the mistakes that your teen is making, focusing on the positive is beneficial.  Positive reinforcement will encourage your teenager try and do more positive things as a way of seeking attention.  Troubled teenagers like attention and will pursue it in all ways even if it means doing something good.

While the natural urge might be to lecture and scold, do your best to also acknowledge and praise.  Maintain a healthy balance between recognition and reprimand.

Communicating Your Love

Troubled teens need validation that they are loved.  The primary source of love should come from you.  There are many different ways to communicate your love to your teen.  The simplest way is to just tell him that you love him.  You can also write him a short poem or a letter.  This is an effective way to communicate love when you find it difficult to express verbally.  Also, try spending time with him by taking walks, going to an amusement park, or seeing a cool movie.

Recall for a moment their infancy and the way you cuddled and spoke with him.  Look at him with those same eyes and begin to express your feelings.  You are sure to see a reaction.

Adolescence is a difficult time for children but it is a necessary part of becoming an adult.  If your teen seems to be troubled or having a difficult time, ensure that you maintain the open lines of communication, remain positive and always communicate your love.  By doing so, you will help him move through this challenging phase with meaningful support.


All the billboards seem to be singing the “Back to School” refrain already.  There is no telling how your adolescent may be feeling about the idea of getting back to school.  Some young adults go through the summer reading list and actually enjoy it, while others seem to take summer as a complete educational escape and instead go trekking, biking or doing things that they do not get to experience during school months due to time constraints.

While thinking about the fast approaching end to her summer, you might encounter her balancing between the excitement and cynicism of return.  One moment she is in high spirits bringing other teenagers home for fun, and at other times you might find her sitting alone, muttering about not having any more time for vacation.

Whatever the case may be, there no escaping the dreaded first day of school.  As the school year gets off to a quick start keep in mind a few tips in dealing with troubled teens to make this school year smooth.

Set Goals

If you haven’t done so already, sit down with you teen and identify meaningful goals for the year.  Having significant direction is an important element that gets overlooked.  Troubled teens oftentimes perform poorly because they lack clarity and understanding of the “big picture”.  Setting goals with this in mind will give your teen a clear target.  All the efforts of your teen this school year should then be geared towards achieving the goals identified.

These goals set should be realistic and attainable.  Get beyond the proverbial “do well and get good grades” and move towards something more specific.       

Identify Rewards

The use of rewards with a troubled teen is important.  Many times difficult teens act out because they want the reward of your attention.  Start out this year by giving her the gift of your attention and identifying additional rewards that she can earn by doing well.

First, start with rewards that are meaningful and value based.  Discuss how doing well in school will award her with a strong sense of purpose, internal satisfaction and higher self pride.  Also discuss how doing well will better prepare her for her future.

Then, if you deem appropriate, identify gifts that will encourage your teen.  I like scaling gifts based on performance.  The higher her grades, the higher the reward.  Gifts don’t have to be expensive and if you don’t have the financial flexibility to purchase gifts come up with creative ways to reward her.  Added freedom, flexibility and increased privacy are all rewards that most troubled teens want.

Positive Parenting

One of the most effective ways of encouraging your teen to do well in school is by being positive.  Difficult teenagers are trouble seekers.  They act out to get your attention.  Give her your attention by staying positive and maintaining your focus on constructive things.

I recommend starting with small things to build momentum.  You can positively comment on politeness, picking up around the house, taking out the trash and many other simple things.  Positive reinforcement is important and is a very beneficial way of motivating teenagers.  As your teen begins to receive acknowledgement for these small things, her desire for added attention will begin to shift behavior.

In order to have a successful school year this year, you can play a huge role by getting involved and implementing these simple three tips to help your teen.  If you appropriately set goals, identify rewards and maintain a positive parenting plan, you may find by the end of the year that you troubled or difficult teen, is not so difficult.


How to Use Instagram to Communicate with Difficult Teenagers

September 14, 2012

There is a good chance that your teenager might accuse you of being out-of-touch or even detached.  The simple reason for this perception is because most adults do not share the same taste in networking as teenagers do.  Let’s take Instagram as an example.  With smartphones and notebooks proliferating among kids, this social media is […]

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Positive Parenting for Troubled Teens

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