Raising Teens

What Happens to Teens When They Are Bored?

Substance Abuse

Boredom is a driving factor in experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Teens with little to do are more likely to try drugs, cigarettes and alcohol than teens who are busy, according to an article in "USA Today." Consistent communication with your teen about the dangers of these substances goes a long way toward helping him abstain, even if he is bored, notes Steve Pasierb of Partnership for a Drug-Free America. Get your teen involved in sports or after-school clubs if he complains of boredom when you're still at work.

Boredom Habit

You probably can't understand why your teen is so willing to stay bored. Being bored becomes a habit over time and reduces your teen's willingness and motivation to try new experiences, according to the Women's and Children's Health Network. Even if an activity is potentially interesting, your bored teen might avoid it just because he's gotten into the habit of being bored. Help your teen find activities that match his skills and interests so he's more willing to give them a try.

Weight Gain

Bored teens are more likely to eat, particularly junk food, according to the Women's and Children's Health Network. As they sit around wondering what to do, they might mindlessly snack, which combined with a lack of exercise can result in unhealthful weight gain. Being overweight increases the risk of several health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Encourage your teen to choose healthful foods, even if he's bored, to fill him up without filling him out. At the same time, help him find exercise that he enjoys so he's motivated to get out there and burn calories and stay fit.

Conflict

As the parent of a teen, you've probably encountered the resistance from a bored teen when you suggest a possible activity. Boredom can make a teen feel angry, which he then takes out on you because he's out of sorts and doesn't know what to do with himself. Suggest inviting a friend over, teach your child to cook a meal or take him to a movie, when you can. With time, he'll learn to find himself something fun to do when boredom strikes.

How to Motivate Lazy Teens

Serve as a motivating role model for your child. Avoid lazy tendencies in your own life to encourage him to get moving. According to the Mayo Clinic website, showing your teen how to act is more effective than telling him how to act.

Set expectations and boundaries for your teen so he understands how you want him to act. Be specific, yet flexible, allowing your teen to make his own decisions within reason. The Mayo Clinic site suggests avoiding ultimatums, which may cause your teen to resist or rebel.

Talk to your child about his behaviors. Ask about specific issues where he is showing a lack of motivation to find the cause. You might say, "I've noticed you haven't done your science homework lately. Is there something going on in that class?"

Present choices and consequences to your teen. For example, he has the option to skip his homework, but his grades will suffer and he may become ineligible for sports. Discuss the effects of his laziness, both immediate and down the road. Poor grades now mean difficulty getting into college later.

Set goals with your teen that match his interests and aspirations. If he wants to be a computer programmer, research the school requirements with him. Help him decide on high school classes he needs. Break down that goal into smaller steps that might include getting at least a B in his high school classes. Goal setting shows your teen that his actions now affect his options later.

Encourage interests and talents that keep your teen from being lazy. If he loves skateboarding, suggest he skateboard to school to get him there on time. If your teen is a music fan, get him off the couch and involved in family life by seeing live music together.

Warning

Avoid nagging your teen into doing what you want. He doesn't learn motivation this way but instead resents you or simply does the task to get you off his back.

How to Improve the Defiant Behavior of Teenagers

Explain the consequences of exhibiting defiant behavior to your teenager, advises the American Academy of Pediatrics. When your teen knows exactly what discipline he will face for behaving defiantly, he is more likely to behave accordingly. Tell your teen that any time he defies your wishes about something, he will suffer a specific type of consequence, such as the loss of a privilege or grounding.

Take away a privilege, such as watching television, talking on the phone, using the Internet or going out with friends. According to the Children’s Trust Fund of Massachusetts, a program designed to offer support and help for families, your teen is not going to like having things she loves taken from her, which is incentive for her to improve her defiant behavior in the future.

Keep his punishments short-term. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, your teen will not learn to improve his defiant behavior if you ground him for a month. In fact, this type of punishment will do just the opposite; it will teach him that he has nothing left to lose, and defying your wishes, rules or punishment is no longer important to him.

Open the lines of communication between you and your teen, advises the Children’s Trust Fund of Massachusetts. When you do this, you encourage your teen to openly discuss with you in a mature manner why she views your rules or anything else as unfair. When she’s comfortable enough to discuss these things with you, she’s less likely to defy you or your rules. If she thinks her 9 p.m. weekend curfew is a joke and she feels comfortable coming to you about this, you can compromise on something that satisfies you both rather than her staying out late and breaking curfew.

How to Parent a Teen Facing Jail Time

Make an appointment for your teen to see a therapist, both individually and with the rest of the family. According to Time magazine, teens who face jail time tend to learn more and reform their behavior in therapy than in the juvenile justice system. Your teen may not be able to avoid jail time for whatever crime it is that he committed, but therapy could help him accept responsibility and show remorse more so than his time in jail. Also according to Time, teens that go to jail are twice as likely to end up arrested again as adults.

Accept that your teen might go to jail, advises Dr. Adekemi Oguntala, MD, head of the Teen Clinic in South San Francisco. When you accept that your teen is possibly going to jail, you can help him come to terms with the same concept. Being in denial about your teen’s situation is not the way to parent your teen when he is facing time in jail. He needs your support and your unconditional love at a time like this.

Encourage your teen to look at his potential jail time as a learning experience, advises Dr. Oguntala. For example, say he was with a group of friends who decided to break into someone’s house and rob them and he stayed in the car the entire time because he didn’t want to participate. He is still an accessory to the crime, which is the reason he is facing jail time. Encouraging him to look at his potential punishment as a lesson can help him to learn that even when he makes good decisions, when he's with bad people, it can have a poor end result.

Tip

Grieve on your own, states Dr. Oguntala. Do not allow your teen to see you cry or grieve while he is facing jail. Be strong for him so that he learns to be strong for himself.

Activities for Selectively Mute Teens

Movement Activities

According to Ricki Blau in an article for the Selective Mutism Group website, hands-on activities or staying physically active allow teens to feel more engaged and less distracted by anxiety. Additionally, gross motor and directed physical activities help children with self-regulation, which helps reduce anxiety. Try an art class with small attendance or a small sports team. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, small, cooperative groups will be less intimidating to your teen.

Dramatic Activities

Blau also suggests dramatic activities for teenagers with selective mutism. Some selectively mute teens might actually feel more comfortable talking through a character than just as themselves, and playing a role potentially boosts confidence. Other teens might be comfortable singing or acting in a group, so they are not singled out or put on the spot. Even if your teen does not want to act in a dramatic role, he can participate behind the scenes as a stage manager, lighting technician or writer. All these roles improve confidence and give your teen a chance to interact socially with his peers.

Games

Have a family game night with activities like board games, crafts or food preparation. These activities encourage conversation and allow the use of eye contact, according to the Children’s Hospital of East Ontario. If your teen feels comfortable talking to his family, these activities give your teen the opportunity to practice healthy social skills. As your teen gains more confidence talking in a familiar setting, he can translate those skills he picks up to other social situations. Do not force your teen to communicate in other settings because you could make his mutism worse.

Addressing Anxiety

Since anxiety or social phobias are likely the root of your teen’s selective mutism, you should address this issue head on. Try guided imagery or breathing techniques to reduce feelings of anxiety. Give your teen opportunities for non-verbal communication, such as signing or gesturing. Gradually encourage your teen to use words and eventually full sentences. Encouragement is much different than persuasion or forcing your teen to speak, and you should not punish your teen for not speaking. Instead, praise your teen for even small advances in reducing his anxiety or improving his speech. If you are concerned that your teen's anxiety levels might be too high, contact a licensed medical professional for help.

How Do Teenagers Show Compassion?

Friends

A teen's social life usually takes precedence over just about anything -- that's why your teen is constantly calling, texting, planning and hanging out with her friends. But spending time with friends also gives her plenty of opportunities to show her compassionate side. Anything from comforting a friend after a bad breakup to pitching in when another friend is falling behind in school means your teen is practicing a selfless act for someone else -- that's a testament to your teen's compassionate side.

Volunteerism

No, not every teen has the time -- or the desire -- to pitch in at a homeless shelter. But other opportunities for volunteerism exist in the school system, extracurricular activities and in church groups. Tutoring younger children in math, pitching in around a neighbor's overgrown yard, babysitting a family member's kids for free and working with a church group can all be considered volunteerism. And, if done with friends, your teen is even more likely to lend a hand -- DoSomething.org reports that 70 percent of teens who had friends who volunteered were likely to do the same.

Quality Time

While your teen might be grossed out when you try to give him a hug or a kiss, he can be compassionate toward you and other family members. Sitting down for dinner as a family, watching a TV program with his younger brother or helping a sister with a computer problem are all ways a teen shows compassion without all of the mushy, embarrassing stuff. Be aware of how your teen shows his compassionate side, even if it's a bit unorthodox.

Creating Opportunities

If you're worried your teen isn't compassionate enough, start creating opportunities where she can show her selfless side. Arranging for family volunteer opportunities, such as helping out at a food bank, donating gifts for a toy drive or gathering items for charity, helps your teen understand the importance and the benefits of helping others. You can also be a good example of compassion toward your teen by genuinely listening to her, lending a hand when she's stressed or giving a quick -- if a little squirmy -- hug when she's down.

How to Get Your Teenagers to Cooperate Without Nagging

Sit down with your teen in a family meeting. Tell him clearly that his attitude needs to change. Explain that you do not enjoy nagging him. State that as a member of the family, he has responsibilities, just like everyone else. When he disregards what you tell him, it is disrespectful and that you will no longer put up with it without him reaping consequences of his actions.

Write down the task if you feel you may forget that you asked your teen to do a chore or another task. Do this on a bulletin board or a dry erase board somewhere visible in your house. Knowing that his chores are listed daily ensures that the teen won't forget his responsibilities. Busy parents often forget they instructed the teen to do something and this results in the teen scoring a win. His procrastination resulted in an avoidance of the chore, making him determined to wear his parents down in the future to avoid other duties. This builds resentment in the family unit as well.

List consequences of failing to comply with the chore list and stick to it no matter how much your teen whines, bargains or complains. Ask him for his input on the consequences. This gives him a sense of control in the discipline. If an individual knows that he probably will not reap consequences if he doesn’t act responsibly, he is unlikely to do them, according to the Family Education website. It is also important to praise your teen when he does cooperate. This provides positive reinforcement.

Tip

The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry suggests that appropriate consequences for a teenager who refuses to cooperate include grounding and loss of privileges. Although your teen may balk at your audacity in taking away his cellphone or mode of transportation, he will soon learn that to enjoy these privileges, he must cooperate.

How to Solve Teen Issues

Pay attention to your teen's behavior and discuss problems with him to understand the source of stress. Initiate a discussion to help your child identify the cause of trouble so you can both work it through.

Actively listen, rather than do all the talking. This shows him you're invested in the situation. Ask your teen for ideas on how to handle the situation, and use those as a starting point for working toward a solution.

Provide guidance and support when your teen experiences difficulty in coming up with possible solutions for an issue. Understand that the amount of physical, mental, emotional and social growth your child is going through can make it downright difficult for him to figure out how to solve a problem.

Model effective, positive problem-solving skills in the home so your teen can see the techniques you suggest in action.

Touch base with your child each day to keep the conversation going. Check in to see if things have improved so you can discuss other options, if needed.

Enlist the support of other influential people in your teen's life, such as a coach, teacher or youth group leader. Realize that when your words fall on deaf ears, the guidance of another respected adult can fill in the gaps.

Step in on your teenager's behalf if the matter at hand threatens his health and safety. Seek advice from your child's pediatrician if you need expert guidance on how to handle a particular issue.

Tip

It's important to allow your teen to solve his own problem when appropriate or possible, but he will still need your guidance and advocacy during many challenging situations.

Intercede on your teen's behalf when a troubling situation, such as bullying or substance abuse, threatens his well-being.

Single Mothers Coping With a Teen Who Won't Come Home

Exploring the Behaviors

One step in fostering more compliant behaviors is to examine the reasons why your teen won’t come home. This behavior could stem from multiple reasons: wanting to test boundaries, drug use, a desire to spend more time with peers or discomfort with you or a sibling. Although your teen might be reluctant to talk about his actions, the National Runaway Safeline recommends talking to him about his behaviors non-judgmentally and calmly. By discerning why, exactly, your teen is reluctant to come home and by outlining your expectations for his behavior, you will have a basis for helping him make better choices.

Using Natural Resources

If your teen is reluctant to speak to you about his reasons for not coming home, consider other important resources in the child’s life, such as his other parent, aunts, uncles, adult cousins, trusted teachers or close family friends. In addition to helping you foster stronger communication with your teen, these people can provide you emotional support. Likewise, as individuals who do not share the complex mother-child bond with the teen, these outside supports might be able to communicate with your teen in different, more effective ways.

Self-care

In addition to turning to friends and family members for support, it is important for you to maintain your own emotional care as a single mother of a teen who will not come home, recommends the Supernanny Team. Because the circumstances might feel stressful or even overwhelming, taking time to eat properly, sleep adequately and exercise can help you preserve your emotional resources and respond to the circumstances rationally.

Professional Supports

If you and your family’s natural supports are unable to reach your teen or if you are feeling depressed, anxious or emotionally impaired by the problem, professional counseling might be a good resource for both you and your teen. Individual counseling can provide you with an outlet to share your emotions and frustrations, while your teen can use individual therapy to process the reasons for not coming home. Further, family therapy can help bridge the gap between you and your adolescent and foster healthier communications and family dynamics.

How to Make a Teen Quit Slouching

Correct Standing Posture

Ask your teen to stand in her normal posture and face a full-length mirror. Stand behind your teen and gently pull her shoulders back, while instructing her to push her pelvis slightly forward. Ask your teen to hold this position, close her eyes and gently roll her head around until she finds a position that doesn't place any strain on her neck muscles.

Cut a length of string that exceeds your teen's height by approximately 6 inches. Tie a pair of scissors, or an object similar in weight, to one end of the string and allow the string and object to rest on the floor.

Ask your teen to turn sideways to the mirror. Hold the unused end of the string just above and behind your teen's ear. Tell your child to stay turned sideways and assume the posture from earlier -- shoulders back, pelvis forward and head in a comfortable position.

Check to see if the string falls in a straight line, touching your teen's shoulder, hip, back of knee and ankle. If it does, your child is assuming a good posture. If not, help your teenager adjust her posture until the string touches at the correct points. Tell her to remember her stance.

Correct Sitting Posture

Place a dining room chair or another similar chair in front of the full-length mirror.

Ask your teen to sit in the chair with his back against the back of the chair, feet flat on the floor and thighs parallel to the floor. His hips and knees should be at a 90-degree angle.

Ask your teen to straighten his shoulders so they are parallel with his hips and hold his neck and head in an upright, but comfortable position. Have him practice slouching and reassuming correct posture several times. This will help him remember how to sit correctly.

Things You Will Need

  • Full-length mirror
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Chair with a straight back

Tip

If you prefer an expert posture analysis, contact a physical therapy or spine center in your area.

If your teen carries a backpack, advise her to wear both shoulder straps and a hip strap, if available. Shoulder straps should be wide and adjustable.

To help your teen remember how to get into correct posture, tell him to imagine there's a cable on a pulley connected to the top of his head. Tell him to act as if the cable tightens and pulls his head upward. His spine should straighten and his shoulders drop as he pushes his shoulder blades back.

Warning

Teens who carry backpacks or purses with contents that exceed 10 to 15 percent of their body weight are at risk for poor posture.

How to Let Go of an Older Teen

Plan your new life. Many parents fear that their lives will be empty and lonely once their teens leave home. Take up a hobby, join a group of people who share your interests or volunteer your time for a cause you support. Discovering how rich your life can be can help reduce the loss and anxiety you feel.

Give your teen more freedom. Start loosening the reins now while you are still able to observe at a distance and offer help or advice when needed. Allowing activities that are appropriate for your teen's age and maturity level might help you feel more confident in your child's abilities.

Add more responsibilities. Consider the duties your teen will need to perform when you are not around to take care of him. Showing your child how to do laundry, balance a bank account and cook more than Ramen noodles or frozen pizza not only gives your teen valuable life skills that may ease your worries, but you also get to spend constructive time together.

Remain available. Chances are that your teen won't want to share everything with you, but make it clear you are willing to listen objectively at any time. Show interest without doling out advice or judgment any time your child talks to you about friends, problems or other concerns. You might find your teen is more starting to seek out your companionship again.

Trust in parenting skills. Knowing that you raised your child to the best of your abilities will help you relax and enjoy the time you have left under one roof and anticipate a strong relationship as your teen transitions to adulthood.

How to Build a Loving Relationship With a Teen Who Pushes You Away

Set aside time to spend with your teen each day. You don't have to talk -- you can go for a walk or even just watch TV together. Most likely, your teen will appreciate the fact that you're showing an interest in her by putting in your time and effort. Surprisingly, teens -- more than young children -- feel that they don't spend enough time with their parents, according to a study by researcher and author Ellen Galninsky's, published in her book, "Ask the Children: The Breakthrough Study That Reveals How to Succeed at Work and Parenting."

Breathe and stay calm when your teen tries to push you away. Remember that this is just a part of the developmental cycle. Your teen needs to push you away for her to feel less dependent on you, writes psychologist and author Lucie Hemmen on her website. So the next time you feel compelled to react out of pain or frustration, take a deep breath and remember that your teen's behavior isn't a personal attack.

Ask your teen's opinion about important -- and seemingly trivial -- issues on a regular basis. Just keep in mind that teens can turn almost any conversation into a battle, notes psychologist Susan S. Bartel in a FamilyCircle.com article. Teens often disagree with their parents as a way to gauge whether the parents value and respect their opinions. By asking your teen's opinion about issues, like where to go on vacation or what to have for dinner, you're helping him feel trusted and appreciated.

Attend your teen's sports games or extracurricular events. You don't have to be a die-hard soccer mom, but showing up at an important match or band concert shows your teen that you're engaged and interested in his life and helps him feel your love and support.

Praise your teen's accomplishments and tell her that you love her on a regular basis. All teens want their parents' approval, according to Children's Medical Services. Praise promotes feelings of support and encouragement and helps build closer, more loving relationships.

Tip

Don't offer too much advice, even if you feel that it's in your teen's best interests. By lecturing your teen, you'll only push her further away instead of bringing her closer. Let her learn from her mistakes -- as long as they don't involve physical harm or dangerous or illegal activities.

Warning

If your teen's behavior becomes downright defiant and/or out of control, seek the help of a professional to help open the lines of communication with your teen.

Strategies for Immature Teens

Check Your Expectations

Before you can work to help your teen become more mature, you'll need to check your expectations to ensure they're realistic. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the teen brain isn't developed enough to fully understand consequences. Instead, your teen tends to live in the here and now, which can result in poor -- and immature -- choices. While it's possible to foster responsibility and maturity in your teen, don't expect him to become an adult overnight. Allow your teen to be immature occasionally -- it's in his nature.

Encourage Responsibility

An immature teen might not have had the opportunity to mature through responsibility, leadership and independence. By offering your teen the opportunity to be in charge, you force him to look past the present. Whether through chores around the house, a summer job or volunteering in the community, offering leadership opportunities helps your teen wise up and learn the difference between being a participant versus the one in charge. He'll also soon learn what happens when he drops the ball when given important responsibilities.

Set Boundaries

Because your teen might not make wise decisions, set clear and consistent boundaries for behavior and decisions. An immature teen, for instance, might make the short-sighted decision to try drinking for the first time without thinking about the consequences. If you've already talked to your teen about the dangers of underage drinking and set a no-tolerance guideline for the behavior, he might think twice before participating. Don't make the mistake of simply expecting your teen to make the right decisions -- talk to him about what you expect so he understands the rules beforehand.

Allow Consequences

Immature teens are often allowed to remain immature when parents, teachers and other adults make excuses for them. If you tend to step in to shield your teen from the unpleasant consequences of his actions, you aren't doing him any favors. By allowing your teen to be affected by the consequences for his actions -- whether it's a missed homework assignment, chores that went undone or rules that were broken -- you help teach him responsibility. He soon learns that negative behavior merits negative consequences and positive behavior merits positive perks, which can be instrumental in helping him to become more mature.

Rules for Parents of Post-Rehab Teens

Responsibility

You may be tempted to accept the responsibility for your teen’s addiction when he leaves rehab, but you cannot do that, advises Christina Botto, author of “Help Me With My Teenager! A Step-By-Step Guide for Parents That Works” and “Fitting the Pieces.” Thinking that if you worked less, spent more time with him or forbade him from spending time with friends you knew were bad influences is not going to help anyone in this situation. Your teen’s recovery requires him to take responsibility for his addiction.

Consequences

According to Botto, your teen needs to suffer the consequences of her own actions once she is home from rehab. This means you need to stop rescuing her from the outcome of her choices, such as doing her homework for her so she doesn’t get into any more trouble at school or making excuses to her teachers when she is late for class because she chose not to get up when her alarm clock went off. She won’t learn responsibility if you don't let her suffer from her poor decision-making skills.

Encouragement

One of the most important things you can do for your teen when he leaves rehab is encourage him, especially when it comes to attending recovery meetings. Your support and encouragement are great for your teen, but meetings with his sponsor and other teens who are going through the same thing he is going through are an essential part of his recovery. Sharing stories and hearing the stories of others in their situation often help teens stay focused on their recovery, which is important.

Relapse Warning Signs

Keep especially careful watch over your teen the first year following her release from rehab, suggests the Newport Academy Teen Treatment Center. Watch your teen for signs of relapse. According to psychologist Neill Neill, Ph.D., there are four primary signs your teen may exhibit if she begins using drugs or alcohol again. If you suspect her recovery is not going well, watch to see if she is lying, blaming others, exhibiting feelings of shame or acting euphoric. Each of these signs may indicate she is abusing her substance of choice again and in need of additional help.

New Ideas for Teen Crafts

Homemade Beauty Products

Making homemade versions of their favorite beauty products keeps teens busy and gives them a way to make special treats for their friends. Teens can make homemade bath salts by combining two cups of Epsom salts with one cup of sea salt. Add food coloring and essential oils as desired, then place the salts in a decorative container such as a mason jar or a tin with a customized label your teen has created. Another easy homemade beauty product craft is tinted lip balm. Mix lipstick samples with a bit of petroleum jelly or a mixture of beeswax and coconut oil.

Altered Clothing

If your teen loves fashion but doesn't have the budget for designer clothes, encourage her to experiment with ways to turn thrift store finds into unique outfits. Simple altered fashion projects include cutting the sleeves and neckline of an old fleece sweatshirt to create a trendy 3/4-sleeve v-neck or using fabric dye and iron-on transfers to camouflage stains in a favorite T-shirt.

Room Decor

Many teens enjoy personalizing their living space, so room decor crafts are an ideal choice for this age group. A teen could repaint an old dresser her favorite color and then stencil or decoupage a design on it. Transform favorite photos of friends into a large collage for the space above her bed. Sew colorful ribbon onto plain curtains to make a modern striped design. If there is a paint-your-own pottery place near your home, your teen could make ceramic trinket boxes for storing small mementos.

Entrepreneurial Crafts

Teens who enjoy crafting may want to choose crafts that they can sell in order to earn extra money. They could sell to their friends, at a local craft show or online through sites like Etsy. The best crafts for teens to sell are those that are small and require little upfront expense. Make beaded key chains by stringing beads on heavy gauge wire. Drawing designs on tissue paper and using a blow dryer to transfer the design onto a pillar candle is another option to consider. Your teen could even decorate it with a homemade candle ring made from silk flowers or beads wrapped around a wire frame.

Help for Teens With Parent Issues

Mentors

If your teen needs someone to talk to, suggest a mentor for her. Mentors can be found through local resources, charities and school systems who can act as a listening ear for your teen and sometimes, arbitration between you and your teen when you're having a serious problem. A mentor works because she's an uninvolved third party, which means your teen might feel more comfortable talking it out. The National Mentoring Partnership notes that teens spend about 40 percent of their time outside of the home; mentoring can help your teen find a safe and secure place to go.

Hotlines

Teens suffering from parental issues such as abuse or parental substance shouldn't be left to fend for themselves. Even if the parent can't connect with a teen, hot lines and support groups can act as a listening ear for a struggling teen. For instance, teens can text Teen Line by sending "TEEN" to 839863 for help via text -- standard messaging rates apply, call the Boys Town Hotline at 1-800-448-3000 or seek out online support forums to talk about their parent issues. Help is available if your teen or a teen you know needs someone to talk to.

Therapy

Teen parent issues could simply be a symptom of a deeper problem, such as a lack of communication or even teen depression. If you think your teen or a teen you know needs more than just someone to talk to and could benefit from a mental health worker, ask your family doctor for a referral. Spending time in therapy as individuals and together as a family can help you discover your true issues and remedy them through communication and expressions of caring.

Parents

Sometimes, the best help for teens with parent issues are the parents themselves. If you and your teen aren't getting along, don't give up: A study published in a 2012 issue of the "Journal of Adolescent Health" found that teens who had involved parents were less likely to engage or be affected by problem behavior during those crucial teen years. The best way to help your teen is to talk, but more importantly, listen. You might learn a thing or two to help repair your relationship and work on something healthier and more satisfying for both of you.

How to Reach a Rebellious Teen

Avoid imposing on your teen. Telling your teen how you would act if you were her or telling your teen how to solve her problems is likely to block any open means of communication. Without giving any indication that you understand your teen’s problems, he will have no desire to listen to you. He may even take your unsolicited advice as a sign that you look down upon him.

Give your teen more freedom of choice. Realize how little power teens truly have. Take their point of view and understand that much of their rebellion is about feeling powerful. Giving your teen more freedom of choice over her daily life will relieve her of some of that feeling of powerlessness. Next time your teen wants to leave the house in a miniskirt and low-cut blouse, give her some alternatives instead of simply stating, “You’re not going out dressed like that.”

Share in your teen’s interests. Imagine how it is to be different from everyone in your family, having a set of interests that no one shares; this feeling will only further divide family members. Bring the family closer together by engaging with your teen in his activities or in discussion of topics interesting to him. While skateboarding might not be your cup of tea, you can at least ask him questions about it and genuinely learn something about the subject. T.W. Boyer, author of the journal article “The Development of Risk-Taking,” states that when parents know more about their children’s interests and activities, teen risk-taking and rebellion are less likely.

Be honest with your teen. Teens differ from younger children in that they have a better ability to spot insincere comments. When you find it hard to reach your teen through conversation, it could be that you are failing to be genuine. Letting your teen know how you truly feel rather than “saying the right thing” will allow your teen to be honest back. With this, communication lines open up more easily.

Strategies for Disobedient Teens

Communicating

Perhaps the most fundamental strategy that parents of disobedient teens should take advantage of is communication. By opening up the lines of communication and giving the teenager a chance to talk about literally anything, you’ll make the confusing teen years that little bit easier – and according to the Newport Academy Teen Treatment Center, teenagers who share an open and honest relationship with parents tend not to show the same level of bad behavior as others do.

Establishing the Cause

According to psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw, there is always a cause for your teen’s disobedience – no matter what it is, from playing hooky from school to crashing your car. For parents, finding this cause presents itself as a strategy in itself. It might be something that has happened recently, or it might be the result of something a lot deeper – like a traumatic childhood event. Bad behavior is always a cause and effect process; finding what’s behind this behavior or attitude is a great way to establish a real understanding of your teen.

Seeking Professional Help

Keep professional help in mind. Mental illness is a heavy word – but it’s relatively common in teens and not as worrying as it sounds. In a child’s teenagehood, a space for mental illness makes itself known – whether it is anxiety, depression, attention deficit or schizophrenia -- so if you notice your teen acting out of character, talking about death, suicide or saying highly peculiar things, then it might be time to look into consulting a professional. If your child is talking about suicide, according to Mental Health America, professional help might be urgently required. Speak to your teen's pediatrician for follow up.

Keeping it Positive

Try to be positive, states Newport Academy. This is an important strategy, as parents use a great deal of energy simply criticizing their teen’s behavior. It might be a good idea to start adding a positive twist to some of these comments, with the intention of instilling a bit of confidence in your teen. For example, instead of simply saying, “You stay out way too late with your friends, and this is appalling” say, “I know you enjoy feeling independent, and that proves that you are a capable individual, but we get worried when you stay out after midnight."