Hitting Troubled TeensThere are times when a troubled teen becomes frustrating or very difficult to deal with.  While you still love them, you might find it hard to manage your emotions and slip.  If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to control the anger and stress so you do not turn to physical punishment.

Hitting a troubled teen can be dangerous and have adverse consequences – even if at first it seems work.  Despite having the best intentions in mind, hitting your teen may cause them to stray and turn to the activities to heal the pain.  Or worse, they may even strike back in defense.

Consequences of Hitting a Difficult Teen   

Should you happen to hit your teen, you may be faced with consequences that you never considered like the following:

  • They may hit you back.  Even if you think that children should respect parents, think about the conflicting message you are sending.  “I can hit you, but you can’t hit me.”  That’s like yelling at them “don’t yell at me”.
  • They may lose all respect for you – even if you already feel that they don’t have respect for you because of their actions, hitting your teen strongly affirms whatever they may already be thinking or feeling.
  • You are sending the message that violence is the way to release anger and stress.  Don’t be surprised if you get phone call from the school or from the authorities that you child was involved in a violent altercation or crime.  If they see that you example is to release stress through violence, they will resort to that as their release.
  • You lose power.  While you may think that you gain power from hitting, think about what happens when you teen no longer fears the mighty hand.  Since hitting is often the last resort, you no longer have anything in your bag of tricks.  You’ve lost the game.

Rather than hitting, here are a few suggestions to handling tough situations.

Be Clear and Firm

You can still get your message across by simply being firm.  A parent in control conveys much more than one who loses control.  Restrain your overwhelming emotion and channel it into your message.  This is often more powerful because it displays the behavior you are trying to teach.

Set and Stick Boundaries

Troubled teens will always push the boundaries and often cross them completely.  That is to be expected.  The important thing to remember is to repeat your guidelines and more importantly why they are important – for their health, not yours.

Take a Walk

If all else fails and you are unable to restrain yourself, stop the conversation and go for a walk.  At first you will still feel the heat of the moment boiling your blood.  After a few minutes, it will begin to subside.  When this happens you will begin to think more clearly.  Then you can devise a better plan for handling the situation.  This may involve writing letters instead of talking, or maybe even using social media to communicate.  Once you come up with a plan that seems to be the best approach, go a back and execute.    You will find that this works much better than resorting to physical violence.

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Troubled Teen Like a StornThe recent terrible events of Hurricane Sandy have certainly rattled the northeastern part of the United States.  Our thoughts and prayers go to that part of the country.  Interestingly, the nature of the events may be reminiscent of your troubled teen.  Parenting difficult teenagers can seem as difficult as battling a raging hurricane, but the truth is that unlike tackling a natural disaster there are preventative steps you can take to keep your troubled teen from getting beyond control.

In parenting difficult teenagers, there are a number of steps you must take that will help keep a small tempest from becoming hurricane strength.  Unless that moment has already been reached, you will need to handle this by following a series of simple, yet powerful steps.

Be Consistent

The first step in taking on the difficulties inherent in parenting a troubled teen is being consistent in your approach.   Unlike your teen that is experiencing mood swings and challenging your authority, you must be the rock of consistency in order to lay a proper foundation.  Essentially, the more inconsistent you are in terms of how you treat your troubled teen, the more problematic it is going to be in parenting difficult teenagers.

Set the Rules

Be sure to set clear, unambiguous rules for your teen to help refrain from bad behavior.  Setting rules does not necessarily mean that your teen will follow, but setting rules communicates that you have certain expectations.  Parenting difficult teenagers often means setting clear, precise rules that she can understand and know the consequences.

Even handed Punishment

When punishing your troubled teen for negative actions, be firm, fair and even handed.  If you scold a little for one action, then ground on a different yet similar situation, your teen may become confused and might lash out feeling that she has been treated unfairly.

Be their Parent first, not their Friend

The old saying that you can “choose your friends, but not your family” certainly rings true.  Your job as a parent is to best prepare your child for the world that awaits them.  All too often, parents want to express their love and affection by giving in.  While this is certainly a noble gesture, it can be damaging.  If your troubled teen has done something wrong or out of line, punish them appropriately and stick to it.

Even if there is now appreciation for all the work that you have done, your primary job is to raise a child that is ready for our complicated modern world.  Parenting difficult teenagers is certainly no easy task, but unlike Hurricane Sandy whose effects could not be halted, you can make a huge difference in making sure your teen gets through these difficult times.

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