5 Ways To Handle your Out-Of-Control Teenager

Imagine this scenario – you are in your neighborhood, and you see a teenager arguing with his parents. You feel for the family. You think to yourself, this will never be you. Until you become a parent of teens, and then BAM! The teen angst hits you hard, and you don’t know what to do. Sounds familiar?

Are you at your wit’s end when it comes to dealing with your teenager’s less-than-ideal behavior? Do you feel your teen is indulging in out-of-control acts and needs help? If yes then you may find this article useful as it provides some tips to handle out-of-control teenagers.

Most of us have been rebellious teenagers ourselves. But there is a difference between a rebellious phase of late nights/weird behaviors and harmful practices and violent/abusive acts.

What is Out-of-Control Teenage Behavior?

As a parent of a teenager, you must often wonder what’s normal and what is out-of-control when it comes to your teen’s behavior. You may be right with this line of thinking as teenagers are a moody bunch. You never know when and why they react in a certain situation. [1] [2]

Out-of-control behavior is not a fine line. It is a clearly-seen demarcation. But still you may easily miss it or even dismiss it as normal. [3]

Normal Teen Behavior:

    • Rebellious acts
    • Mood swings
    • Spending more time with friends than with family
    • Angry outbursts
    • Being secretive

Out-of-Control Teen Behavior:

  • Falling/poor performance in school
  • Violent acts (fights at school/home), extreme aggression
  • Breaking laws
  • Drug/alcohol abuse
  • Self-destructive acts

Red Flags:

  • Changes in appearance/appetite/sleep patterns
  • Depression/emotional health issues
  • New set of friends that lead to negative behavioral patterns in your teen
  • Excessive isolation/aloofness
  • Repeatedly breaking laws

Possible Reasons For Out-of-Control Teenager’s Behavior:

There can be any number of reasons for out-of-control teen’s behavior. [4] But here are the major causes you need to be aware of:

  • Teenagers go through a lot of physical and mental changes. All the cognitive changes along with hormonal flux can make teenagers moody and anxious. Your teen can go through a state of confusion and succumb to peer pressure. These can lead your child to indulge in rebellious acts that can go out-of-control easily. Depression and other emotional changes can also lead your teen to experiment with drugs or alcohol. [5][6][7]
  • The adolescent brain goes through a lot of development. The cortex (the base of memories and thoughts) fully matures in the early 20s. The processes that help with impulse controls mature last. At this stage, teens are likely to experience tremendous mood swings that can lead to bad behavior on their part. [8]

Ways to Handle Your Out-of-Control Teenager:

You can deal with your out-of-control teenager with the help of several measures. [9]

1. Face the Mirror:

Is it you or is it your teen? Did you contribute to your teen’s troubled behavior? What makes your teen behave the way he does all of a sudden? You may also be in denial about your teenager out-of-control behavior. But this may not help anyone in similar situations. So, it may help you to observe and reflect on the whole situation. Your teen will not spring his out-of-control behavior on you all of a sudden. It happens over a period. A rebellious phase may turn into an out-of-control burst of anger that refuses to subside. You may have missed the signs, which are your teen’s cry for help. If you did, instead of wallowing in guilt, take action before your child does something that is life-threatening. Also, don’t be too hard on yourself. A child’s teen years are tough on parents too. Take a deep breath, toughen up and take action. [10]

2. Find the Answers:

Have a heart-to-heart conversation with your troubled teenager. Even if he doesn’t share, chances are he is listening to you. Talk, not scold or patronize him. And if they share, listen without judgment. [11]

3. Know When To Act:

When to intervene and when to wait for any troubled behavior to phase out? Scenario A – Is your teen hanging out with friends who are loud/have poor hygiene but otherwise decent kids? Scenario B – Is your teen bunking school and hanging with kids who abuse alcohol/drugs/destruct properties? With scenario A, you can relax but may want to keep monitoring any changes in your teen. With B, you need to act fast and with some firm action. The trick is not to go by your preferences but what keeps your kid safe. [12]

4. Make Rules:

Establish order in your house by implementing tough rules about schoolwork, household chores, dinner time, bad behavior, spending, etc. Add consequences to each action that doesn’t comply with these rules. Don’t become lax thinking your teen will hate you for it. Teens hate their parents in any case. So, if your teenager breaks a rule then let him know there are consequences he must face. For instance, overspending equals earning his next month’s pocket money through extra chores around the house. [13]

5. Seek Help:

If sessions with a counselor or a therapist can benefit your kid then by all means, go for it. Teens may be more willing to open up to a stranger than their parents. Also, don’t discount seeking help from family members. Teenagers are likely to be more open with an older sibling or even grandparents. Try all avenues for help. [14]

As a parent of an out-of-control teen, you may feel an utter sense of helplessness looming over you. But instead of thinking that there is nothing else you can do for your child, look into tiny crevices of hopes that may provide you solutions to your problem. There is no downward spiral from which your teen can’t come out and face the light.

But timely intervention, tailor-made solutions and with a whole lot of patience you can help your troubled teen out of any trouble. There is always a way to find ways to help your troubled teen.

What to do when your teenager is out of control? How do you deal with your kid’s out-of-control behavior? Please share some tips with other readers.

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