How to Handle Unruly Teenagers

You might expect to run into issues here and there with your teen’s behavior. After all, it's no secret that teens can get a bit unruly and defiant from time to time. In fact, it’s practically a teenage rite of passage in the minds of many. However, while it might seem like a common occurrence, there's no reason to subject yourself to dealing with your teen’s constant unruly behavior. Because you're the parent, you get to make the rules -- and if you want your teen’s unruly behavior to become a thing of the past, you have to confront the situation head on.

Look for a cause. Teens don’t simply decide they want to become unruly overnight, according to Dr. Phil McGraw, talk show host and mental health professional. There’s likely little cause for concern if your teen does something unruly or just plain stupid that’s completely out of character, but there is cause for concern if your teen is suddenly exhibiting this type of out-of-control behavior on a regular basis. The problem could stem from a recent event, such as the loss of a loved one, or an event that happened many years ago that finally came to a head, such as the effects of an absent father who disappeared, or a painful divorce in your family.

Stop yelling at your unruly teens. According to the Children’s Trust Fund of Massachusetts, it's ineffective to attempt to deal with your unruly teen by yelling at him 1. The only thing yelling at your unruly teen accomplishes is teaching him that yelling and screaming is an acceptable outlet for frustration and anger, which it isn't.

Be a parent to your teen. Dr. Phil says that you should stop trying to keep the peace - and stop trying to be a friend to your teen. If your teen is behaving in an unruly manner, you should discipline her without fear of her reaction. It doesn’t matter if she gets angry. As the parent, it’s your job to make sure your teen behaves in a manner that is safe and appropriate -- and that might mean that she doesn’t like you very much from time to time.

Take control of your life and your unruly teen's by choosing to no longer play the victim. David York, a Pennsylvania-based professional counselor and founder of the self-help program, Toughlove for parents of unruly teens, says that parents are often too understanding of their teen’s feelings and behavior -- and that leads to a teen only caring about his own feelings. Toughlove encourages parents to set limits and consequences for unruly behavior -- and to refuse to intervene when a teen repeatedly gets into trouble, offering accommodations somewhere else if the teen refuses to abide by house rules.

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