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Let’s Talk: Four Suggestions for Helping Your Struggling Teenager

These days, teens are finding themselves in a lot more trouble than the days of old. Instead of playing innocent pranks and getting the occasional reprimand in school, things are taking a darker and more serious turn. Be it drugs, alcohol, violence or any number of other devious activities, kids are getting into much more sinister situations. This means that it’s more important than ever that parents know how to help their teenagers when they’re struggling in life. Below are four tips to help you do just that:
Let's Talk: Four Suggestions for Helping Your Struggling Teenager

Listen Fully

Counseling professionals, like Theresa Britton, agree that listening to what your teen has to say is of vital importance. It can be all too easy to find out that your child has gotten into a troublesome situation and immediately start jumping to conclusions, but listening to their side of the story is a necessity. Don’t interrupt them, and let them finish whatever it is they have to say before you begin speaking yourself. By showing them that their information and input is valuable, you can increase the likelihood that they’ll talk to you about other issues in the future.

Don’t be Too Aggressive

There are few things that can push your teen away faster than aggression. If your child has ended up in a decent amount of trouble, your first reaction very well may be to get angry, and rightfully so. However, it’s important that you stay calm and collected while dealing with the issue, as yelling and blaming them outright could cause them to distance themselves from you and wind up in more trouble.

Don’t Assume That Your Child is Innocent

In today’s day and age, parents have a habit of automatically believing that their children can do no wrong and are always innocent. While you should never assume that your child is guilty right off the bat, their innocence in something isn’t always a guarantee, either. Gather all of the facts and get all sides of the story before you begin making judgments.

Be Consistent

Consistency is the key to maintaining authority over your teen. Be it punishment or reward, if you say that you are going to do something, stick to it. All too often parents make idle threats and never follow through with them, which means that teens will often disregard your warnings when telling them to do something. If you’re always consistent in your threats and promises, your child will be more likely to heed your demands, which can often keep them out of trouble in the first place.

Above all else, if your child finds themselves in a tough situation, the best thing you can do is be there for them. Make sure that they know they aren’t alone, and they’ll be much more receptive to the advice and help you offer them.

Tim Esterdahl

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