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Teens Becoming an Adult : Giving and Getting Respect Challenging behavior (part 3) - Tough times Helping with harmful situations

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Tough times Helping with harmful situations

A small number of teenagers do go “off the rails” during adolescence and present you with exactly the situations you had always hoped to avoid. It is normal for your teenager to be impulsive, reckless, and consider himself indestructible, but not to deliberately put himself in danger, willfully harm others, or repeatedly break the law. If this happens, you and your child need to take action and acknowledge there is a problem. Seeking help from outside the home, for example from health, drug, and youth services and (as a last resort) the police, will make things easier, and means you won’t have to cope on your own.

If there is tension brewing

If tempers do not cool and you are at immediate risk of, or are being harmed, take the difficult step of calling the police for help. In the long term, call on your extended family or friends for support and contact youth services for assistance.

  • Ask your teenager to tell you the problem from his point of view.

  • Listen without interrupting or offering unwanted advice.

  • Under no circumstances fight back or use physical discipline with your teenager.

  • Keep your body language open and the tone of your voice soft. Try to stay calm, even if he is deliberately trying to provoke you.

  • Avoid arguing back or sarcasm.

  • Keep your distance: Getting too close and invading your teenager’s personal space can escalate emotions.

  • Find solutions together if at all possible.

Aggression and violence

It’s rare but, occasionally, teenagers struggle against the limitations of home life by threatening or hurting their parents or siblings. Avoid getting to this point by being aware of pressure points that could lead to violence. Start a conversation with your child about his frustrations before tempers get too hot.

Not just playing

If your teen is hurting you or his siblings, you may need to seek advice from youth services or the police.

Talk it out

Have a calm conversation with your child about her frustrations.

Fight

You will need to take action if your teen is deliberately harming others.

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