People don’t talk about this much, but teenage behavior has actually gotten better and healthier over the years. Sure, kids are on their phones more and joke about suicide more. But we live in a hyper-connected world, and suicide has actually gone down in recent years.
It’s not just suicide either. Kids drink less, have less casual sex, do drugs less, get pregnant at lower rates, and drop out of school less frequently. Things are never perfect, however.
We should appreciate the advances that have been made in society, but any parent will tell you that there is still a long way for all of us to go. There are plenty of teenagers that are still exhibiting behavior problems. Today, we will go over the 10 most common problems, as well as how to respond to these problems to try and weed them out of your teen’s behavior.
Table of Contents
CS Lewis said that “Humility is not think less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.” Sadly, many people with low self-esteem have trouble recognizing their own accomplishments. They think less of themselves as a method of mitigating the hurt caused by their self-criticism.
The solution to this is not to be pointlessly positive, but to point out the ridiculousness in being negative. A teenager will clearly go through some effort to brush off certain accomplishments. All you have to do is ask why they are doing it and recommend a change of course.
This where we address the standard “drinking, and drugs” concerns that many parents will have. The best way to keep your children from taking part in these things is not necessarily to prohibit them entirely, but to educate about them thoroughly.
For instance, if you teach your child how to handle a drug overdose should one occur, they will be far less likely to do drugs simply due to knowing the risks better.
Overuse of Social Media
We mentioned how the world is more connected than ever, but while that necessitates an amount of time being spent in front of electronics, that does not take away the diminishing returns someone gets from them.
The reason social media is so addictive is because it is incredibly low effort for the amount of dopamine it provides. Therefore, competing for your teenager’s attention means providing greater rewards for real-life tasks, such as rewards for chores, outside time, and crafts.
Maybe your teenager is driving fast, maybe they are getting into fights, but whatever they are doing, you need to pull them back before they hurt themselves. Due to how extreme this behavior can get it also requires the most extreme measures.
In this case you will want to restrict privileges that allow for the risk-taking. No keys to the car, restricted schedule, and counseling on the weekends. Don’t be gentle with this behavior.
On the other end of the spectrum from risk-taking is aggression. Rather than responding by punishing your teenager, this is where you should focus your energy on communicating with them. Ask them to explain to you why they are being aggressive. Listen to what they think is the best remedy for the things that make them so upset.
Of course, stand up for yourself too. Tell them your side of the story. If you give them patience, you are far more likely to get it back from them.
There are two kinds of liars among teenagers: Those who lie to cover up their mistakes, and those that lie compulsively. The first is easy to deal with: Point out their lies but let them know that they are in a safe place where they don’t need to lie. Don’t punish them.
In the second case, most compulsive liars are that way because of some deeper dissatisfaction with reality. They might also lie to manipulate. In both cases, call their lies out at every opportunity. Talk them into a corner. Let them know that you will not accept their false reality.
A hugely problematic behavior among teenagers is when they begin to show less and less empathy for others. This might be a personal choice, or it might be a mental illness.
In either case, it is another situation where punishment is not the best option. If you want to remedy this, have extended talks with your teenager as to how empathy benefits people. They might not care how other people feel, but they probably care how other people’s feelings reflect upon them.
Imagine your teenager comes home late one day with an electric blue mohawk, a tattoo on their face, or an absolutely ridiculous fashion. What should you do about that?
Well, there is no turning a chicken nugget back into a chicken here. If they made a change, support it. It is their body and, as long as they did it safely, you should support it. The remedy here is to make sure they know why they did it and what the consequences might be.
Social Darwinist Thinking
But imagine if your teenager starts to act the opposite way. What if they come home in a crisp suit and start looking for ways to make money at all costs? They sublimate their personality and self-expression for material gain. What do you do then?
Again, it is their life to do with what they want. Your job is to make sure they are safe and that they are doing it for reasons that make them happy.
Lack of Self-Care
Teenagers can go without eating, showering, or sleeping properly and not realize it. You might have to be the one to spot it for them if they are suffering from a lack of self-care. You might also be the one who has to force it on them by requiring food, bathing, and sleep before they are allowed to do anything fun.
Taking care of a teenager is hard. But you are not alone in this. If you need any help at all, contact BasePoint Academy here: https://basepointacademy.com/