When kids struggle with problematic behaviors, we might feel like our home life is out of control. Our kids could be getting into trouble, spending time out late each night, disrupting the lives of our other kids, and leading us toward an emotional burnout. When our kids are younger, they can be somewhat easier to manage. Power struggles or shouting matches might work when kids are small, as we have some physical dominance over them. We can also pick them and carry them up to their rooms when they are having tantrums.
However, as our children grow up, they start to test their limits with us. They may even grow to be bigger than us and use intimidation to manipulate us into getting their way. They might bully us by hurting our feelings, defying our commands, destroying property, and resorting to physical violence in the worst-case scenarios. Parents in these situations could feel unsafe within their own homes. They might not know what to do during these situations where a teenager uses bullying tactics within the home.
Deal With Your Emotions
If a teenager is using bullying at home, we may experience several emotions about what is occurring. Kids that use intimidation to get their way have learned that these tactics will get their needs met. We could struggle to remain confident in our parenting abilities when experiencing such behaviors from our kids.
Finding support to keep ourselves grounded can help us regain control of the situation. We need to lean on others for advice or help. Often, parents do not seek guidance out of shame or feeling that they have failed as parents. Asking for help might feel like admitting that they have a problem. To avoid feeling judged by others or facing the negative stigma of parenting a teen who struggles, they never effectively deal with their emotions.
We might need to deal with our feelings of guilt and shame to get the help that we need for our kids. Shame and guilt can be barriers to treatment, leading us to believe that we are terminally unique in our suffering. Other parents have dealt with similar issues as us; sometimes, hearing the stories of others can combat feelings of shame and give us tips. Fire Mountain Residential Treatment has created a Facebook group called “Parenting Teens That Struggle” for parents to connect and share resources.
Knowing What You Can Control
Self-care practices can go a long way toward regaining our confidence as parents. We cannot control the actions of other people—even our children. As our kids get older and more independent, we start to lose control over them. When our child threw a tantrum over going to the doctor’s office, we could simply pick them up and strap them into the car seat. Trying to get a teenager to take a psychiatric assessment when they do not want help is another issue altogether.
Even when trying to help our teenagers in their own best interest, they might resist any treatment or therapeutic interventions. They could perhaps attend appointments just to keep us off their backs, then continue their behaviors anyway. Recognizing that we cannot control their actions can be challenging to accept; however, sometimes, we need to let go of the struggle to see things progress the way we would like them to.
Letting Go of the Struggle: The World Provides Natural Consequences
Parents of teens who struggle might worry about their children hating or resenting them when they seek outside help. We could discover that our child is involved in illegal activities or hoarding items of concern in their room. In some cases, our teenagers might storm out of the house and steal our car; however, we do not want to see them get arrested. While stealing a car is technically illegal, we might hesitate to contact the police because we worry about the consequences of our child getting into legal trouble.
However, when things are out of control, our kids might need to learn that while we as parents might let certain behaviors slide due to our love for them, the world will not tolerate destructive or reckless behaviors without providing consequences. While we may not want to call the police or put them into a psychiatric unit, they might need to suffer the consequences of their behaviors.
While we love and accept our child no matter what, the rest of the world might not be so kind. The sooner kids learn that extreme behaviors lead to consequences that limit their freedoms, they can correct course and get back on track.
When troubled kids resort to bullying tactics in their own homes, parents might struggle to know what to do. Parents could feel a loss of control, as their authority within the home is challenged constantly, often with their teenager getting their way. While our kids might have been easier to manage when they were younger, they begin to test limits and push boundaries as kids get older. Potentially, they will use physical intimidation and threats to get their way. When problematic behaviors, like suicidal ideation and addiction, are involved, we might struggle to get outside intervention. We know that our teenager is a good person on the inside, reaching out for help. Unfortunately, if our child is out of control, we cannot protect them from the consequences of the world at large. If your teenager struggles with addiction, problem behaviors, or other challenges and is not compliant with other forms of therapy, long-term residential treatment might be the next step. Call Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center at (303) 443-3343 today.