Important Information Regarding Struggling Teenagers
If you are looking for help for troubled teenagers, you may be in a heartbroken state of mind. Losing a child is unbelievably painful, whether to death or to rebellion. Having your own teen reject you and all you've done for them is every bit as painful as being physically assaulted. There are lots of places you can go to get help with troubled teenagers, but what do you do to help yourself, as a parent? It really is important that you protect your own sanity so that you can take care of the rest of your family. As hard as it sounds, you must not let your wayward teen destroy your entire family. Here are two simple suggestions for helping yourself as you also look for help for your troubled teenager.
- Hanging on. Make sure you are hanging on to things you actually have control over.
- Your sanity.
-The environment in your home.
-What you spend your money on.
-What you spend your time on.
-Developing your personal strengths so you can be strong when you need to be.
You notice that nowhere in this list is hanging on to your troubled teenager. This is very hard so listen carefully. Mom or Dad, if your teen is deep in rebellion and chaos is ruling your home, you need to think about the fact that you cannot control or hang on to your teenager. I know. This goes against every parental instinct you have. Here's the deal. When your precious teen was a tiny tot, your instincts to protect, help and guard them made sure that they were protected against things in the world that could hurt them.
Ideally, as a child grows, a parent is gradually letting go and training the child to be responsible for themselves. This process is a gradual one and is slightly different for every human being. But the truth is, as parents, we need to be starting this work from birth. But this process often feels uncomfortable. So we put it off. And eventually our child, feeling the very real need to be exercising self-control but not knowing how, begins to rebel. A little at first. But instead of responsibility growing gradually, the rebellion grows.
- Letting go.
One way or another, all of parenting is about letting go. In the best of situations we let go gradually and intentionally, as we talked about above, in an age appropriate manner. When a family's life goes this way, a child growing up is a bittersweet thing as a parent sees that his child is slowly moving away from him but in a healthy manner, preparing to be an adult. This process can get disrupted for a wide variety of reasons. Some are within our control as parents. Some are not. Let me be clear. Letting go of troubled teens in a manner that's consistent with loving them may mean
-Involving the authorities, including police.
-Placing strong boundaries around them, including clear and enforceable consequences for drug and alcohol use and sexual behavior.
-Getting support for yourself as a parent so that when you must do tough but loving things with your troubled teen you have the strength to do so. Nothing is more detrimental to a teen than a waffling parent.All of these methods are about requiring a troubled teenager to stand on her own feet. To face reality. To live in this world exactly as it is, not as she is imagining or wishing it to be.
And to set her free to be responsible for herself, we parents have to do the same thing. We have to stand on our own feet and be the leaders in our home. We must face reality. We have to live in this world exactly as it is, not as we wish it was. It has been said that you never really know if something is yours until you let it go. If it returns you didn't really lose it in the first place. Our children are our responsibility but they are not our possessions. Our primary job is to teach them to be excellent human beings; not necessarily to use cell phones, dress in the latest fashions, feel good all (or even most) of the time, or a myriad of other possibilities masquerading as things of value in our culture.