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Is Parenting Troubled Teenagers a Difficult Task


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a troubled teenager entangled in the parenting web

Having a hard time parenting troubled teenagers? Well, you are not alone because most parents find parenting a troubled teenager an uphill task.

Parenting teenagers who are troubled due to any reason could be an overwhelming experience for you and your family, but you need to know that it’s a passing phase.

Let’s face it – we too were teenagers at some point of time, and some of us could’ve been the typical case study for troubled behavior. But now that we’re on the other side, it’s a totally different story.

With changing times, nowadays teenagers have greater exposure and experiences than we did when we were teens; however, the teen behavior patterns and characteristics remain the same.

As parents of troubled teenagers you may worry because your teen is violent, withdrawn, angry, and defiant. You may feel overwhelmed, angry, and worried at times, and your home may be filled with tension and chaos. Sounds familiar?

“You can tell a child is growing up when he stops asking where he came from and starts refusing to tell where he is going.” ~Author Unknown

Who is a Troubled Teenager?

A ‘troubled teenager’ is a youth who has problems that cause negative behaviors, and if these problems keep affecting the teen, he/she will not grow into a happy and successful adult.

“Telling a teenager the facts of life is like giving a fish a bath.”  ~Arnold H. Glasow

What are the Problems of a Troubled Teenager?

Teenagers are rebellious, they are in search of their identity, they want recognition, and they want to be independent. They are no longer children and they are yet to be adults – they are in a confused identity zone.

Not all teenagers are plagued by troubled behavior, but typical teenage problems are related to drug, alcohol abuse, normal teenage angst, and depression. Such troubled teens can upset the peace of your home and the family.

These problems can be the inability to deal with the normal issues teens face or are beyond the normal issues. They can range from anything related to their environment like dealing with poor peer group, abusive relationships, to mental and physical health issues like diabetes or ADD/ADHD and others.

If the behavior of your troubled teen seems to be the result of something that isn’t normal trouble, then you may need professional help. But first you need to look for the warning signs yourself, analyze the teen behavior, and appropriately deal with it.

You also need to remember to have a loving and supportive family and a home where rules are obeyed. This helps prevent troubling teenage tornadoes to happen and helps handling more severe teenage problems.

Look Out for the Warning Signs of Troubled Teenagers!

Most teens can show the below mentioned signs at different times, but when there are more than six of these warning signs that remain for an extended period of time then you would know that you are dealing with a troubled teen.

A typical troubled teenager exhibits these warning signs:

  • Has mood swings that go to extreme levels.
  • Avoids positive friendship and/or a sudden change in peers.
  • Scores low grades or there’s a drop in grades.
  • Shows intense sadness and/or impulsive temper.
  • Becomes secretive.
  • Loses interest in activities.
  • Tries purposely not to fit in with peers.
  • Begins to experiment with drugs and alcohol.
  • Rebels openly.
  • Fails to follow limits and rules.
  • Finds humor when others are distressed.
  • Spends too much time sleeping or being alone.
  • Has a more defiant and rude attitude.
  • Turns to lying by feeling the need to avoid all consequences for misbehavior.

Now that we understand the problem and know how it appears, we need to develop a strategy to successfully parent troubled teenagers.

“Your children need your presence more than your presents.” ~ Jesse Jackson

Always Analyze Teen Behavior

Whenever you want to understand teenagers, you need to carefully analyze their behavior, which includes all that happens before, during, and after the troubled behavior.

Once you have understood the specific troubled teenage behavior you can begin aiming at the unwanted behavior, which means you need to study an encounter after it’s over.

You may need to use behavior therapy or modification techniques when you begin targeting a troubled teen behavior, so that you can replace the negative behavior with a positive one.

“Stop trying to perfect your child, but keep trying to perfect your relationship with him.” ~ Dr. Henke

Ways to Deal with Troubled Teenagers as Parents

There are various ways for parenting troubled teenagers as mentioned below:

1- Be supportive, talk, and listen to them

The best thing you can do for your teenagers is to be a supportive parent, by being there for them and be willing to talk and listen to them. Create a family bonding time where you can all share things with one another in the family.

Also, always be available for talks, which helps a great deal if your troubled teenagers are involved in risky behaviors, drugs, alcohol, or are becoming depressed or suicidal.

2- Love them unconditionally

Ensure that your teens know that you love and care for them, even if you don’t approve of their behavior. I know it gets tough being parents when your teenage kids don’t listen to you, but this way to deal does help a great deal.

Find ways to connect with them and express your love and concern even when it’s not asked for. This gives them a sense of being loved and security that we care and are with them.

3- Praise their smallest of efforts

Being parents of teenagers, you need to remember to thank or praise them for helping around the house. When you reinforce positive behaviors with praise, it’s magical as teens feel they have achieved something and are motivated further.

Sometimes teenagers do grumble about doing a chore assigned, but you need to remain cool and refrain from lecturing them or telling them things that may hurt. Instead, thank them for the work they do and appreciate their efforts.

My teenage girls are just like that – they just won’t do chores around the house anymore! This has happened recently when they stepped into their teens, and that does tend to get me angry.

But I remember my time, just as you would remember your time as a teenager, and I know that this is a passing phase that all of us have undergone, and soon they will grow out of it.

So, it’s best to keep praising them often for the good things they do, just like our parents did with us, and then watch the magic!

4- Set rules and stick to them

When your teenage kids don’t behave the way they are supposed to, you sometimes need to set curfew. Make sure that there are consequences set for breaking the rules, and you need to carry them out consistently.

The consequences could be in the form of banning their computer or Internet, or restricting their usage of cell phones, or asking them to stay at home the next day. Anything works as long as they learn to behave.

However, you need to be careful in selecting the form of the rule breaking consequences – they need to be appropriate, just, and not be too hard on your teenage children.

Stand firm in your decision, as many troubled teenagers feel that if they argue long with you, you may become tired and give in. But yes, hear them out and if they apologize then perhaps give in.

Even though I wasn’t really a troubled teen, but whenever I did trouble my parents, I was grounded for the next day. But I was quick to get around my parents and apologize, and they were quick enough to forgive me too!

I try doing the same with my kids and sometimes things just don’t work and they tend to get stubborn, which is when I have to try other techniques. So, parenting teenagers is all a game of hit and trial, and depends on what works for you and your children.

5- Give them a warm home

Troubled teens need a place where they can discuss their problems, talk out their feelings, and confide in their parents. And a warm home with loving parents is just that kind of place, when everyone can have a family time together.

Being parents, when you show your vulnerabilities to your teenagers it shows you are providing a surrounding where honesty can thrive.

Also, encourage  your teens to bring in their friends at home so that you also know them, though stick to your terms and conditions for things like drinking, smoking, or other activities that you don’t approve of.

6- Encourage extracurricular activities

As far as possible, one of the best remedies for your troubled teens is to encourage extracurricular activities like sports, music, or any hobby they are interested in.

These give the teenagers a vent for their energy and their mind doesn’t really go haywire. Also, they are an important area where they can work hard and do well. When they are busy, they are less likely to be bothersome teenagers.

7- Learn to be a better parent

While I discussed mainly about how best you can deal with troubled teenagers, I should mention here that you also need to become better parents and always make yourself available for your teenagers.

I guess it makes a lot of difference if you try putting yourself in their shoes and think the way they do. How would you react or how would you feel? So, handle them with care.

Often times you may get too involved in work and when they come to you with their worries or problems, you tend to shun them or ask them to come later, which may just make them go elsewhere or feel unheard, unloved, and uncared-for.

I have been guilty of doing this and I keep reminding myself to stop all work and just hear them out first, as that’s exactly what my mom used to do, which makes mothers so special – isn’t it?

“I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.” ~ Harry S Truman.

Parenting difficult teens is a real challenge, and it’s a full time job that can be stressful at times and can even turn a patient parent into an anxious one. It surely turns me into one with two of them to handle!

Remember, teenagers are resilient and talks with them often lead to arguments or hurtful words said to one another. But when you positively parent your teens you bring in more harmony into the home, and that makes a lot of difference.

With time you learn how to parent your troubled teenager and improve relationship with them. And with your care, concern, love, and guidance, most teenagers get better and grow up to be happy, successful, and healthy adults.

To wind up, there’s wonderful advice for parents of troubled teens by Dr.Phil, so be sure to check it out if you can’t find solutions yourself. Also, here is a wonderful video about how to deal with your teen by parenting expert Suzie Hayman that you are sure to like.

Over to you -

Having been a teenager yourself, how do you feel your parents managed troubled teens? If you are a parent of a teenager, what suggestions would you give to other readers about parenting troubled teenagers? Share in the comments below.

 

Photo Credit: martinak15


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Avatar of Harleena Singh

About Harleena Singh

Harleena Singh is a positive thinker and a freelance writer. She loves to write inspiring and thought provoking posts on self-improvement, family, relationships, health, and other aspects of life. She's not another personal development guru, but just an average person with great life experiences. She's also a blogger, who loves to share her blogging knowledge and experiences. Network with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+..

69 Comments

  1. Allie

    May 18, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Harleena,

    Of all those indications above the only one that exists in my house is the first one “extreme mood swings” and that is from me. LOL.

    My kids are only 13 and 11, and so far I am glad to say they are pretty normal, lazy, crazy, wishy washy, moody but mostly happy kids. But this is an awesome article for parents who are just at their wits end with a teen that is beyond just “normal” (in terms of science and behavior).

    ~Allie

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 18, 2012 at 10:48 pm

      That’s a nice one Allie!

      So at least something matches, even if it’s not with your kids :)

      Ahh…your kids are just about in their pre-teens yet, but they are not far! I guess as long as they are happy-go-lucky kids, it’s fine to have a few mood swings off and on – don’t we all have them?

      Glad you liked the article, and yes, I have come across a few of such teens. And with my daughters well into their teens, I can truly understand what the parents must be undergoing when they have their hands full with troubled teens at home.

      Thanks for stopping by. It’s always nice to have you over. :)

  2. Galen Pearl

    May 18, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    I was the poster child of troubled teens myself!

    I don’t know how my mom survived my teen years. But what I learned came in handy when I had five teens of my own. When my foster daughter was surprised once that I knew what she was up to (she thought she had gotten away with something behind my back), I laughed and said, “Honey, you are not even in my league!” Great post full of good advice!

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 18, 2012 at 11:28 pm

      Glad that you could relate to things Galen!

      I also often wonder as to how my parents survived my teen years, whenever I have a tough time with my kids! I guess all that you were as a teenager and how your mom handled you must have made it easier for you to deal with your kids. So, there’s always something good in all this too – isn’t it?

      I think you caught your foster daughter because something similar may have happened with you when you were young, which is how one can relate to or get to know about such things. It happens with me and my kids too, because whenever they do something naughty or hide something from me, I get to know instantly. Perhaps I had done the same things and was caught also!

      Thanks for stopping by and liking the post. :)

  3. Sylviane Nuccio

    May 18, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    Another great post. Having children is never easy but when they get to be teenagers that’s when the real test comes for parents. I do not have kids, but I tell you one thing, you do NOT need to have kids to know what some parents are going through with teenagers.

    My brother and I weren’t even bad kids, in the sense that we never used drugs, or drank or got in any kind of troubles, but still we were full hands for my mother. I can only imagine what parents who do have children who have done any of the things mentioned above might have gone or be going through.

    I can also say, from experience from my mother that it’s harder if you are a single parent, and definitely if you are a single mother with no father figure what so ever.

    The best way to deal with teenagers is to show love, but be firm about rules and make them understand that whatever decision they’ll be making will affect them for the rest of their life. Worked for me :)

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 19, 2012 at 11:14 am

      Glad you liked the post Sylviane!

      Parenting is a full time job and is never easy, whether the kids are small or grow up to be teens. Parents who have younger children face different kinds of problems as compared to the one with teenagers, and like they always say the grass is greener on the other side- each parent feels the same way :)

      When my kids were small I used to say when will they grow up and learn things, but now when they don’t listen I often tell them that you were much better when you were younger! Just like your brother and you, all normal teenagers are hands-full for their parents- my kids are and so were we when we were teens. So you can well imagine how it must be for parents to have troublesome ones! I guess that age is such.

      Yes indeed, if you are a single parent raising teenagers it’s double the work. And hats-off to your mom to have raised both of you so well. Teenagers do need lots of love, attention, care, and most of all – to be able to find a trustworthy friend in a parent whom they can confide in and talk to – isn’t it? But being a friend doesn’t mean you let go of things, because that would make them unruly to a certain extent. I guess parents need to be firm regarding rules and have some amount of discipline in the home too.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. :)

  4. Praveen Rajarao

    May 18, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Harleena – I am glad I havent got that to worry about for another 10years !!!!

    I have heard from friends about these issues and I think it is universal that every kid and parent has to go through this phase no matter what.

    But the info provided in this article is very useful for all such parents and lets them know how to deal with any such circumstances.

    Great read.

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 19, 2012 at 11:24 am

      Glad you could relate to the post Praveen!

      That sure is a long time to go, but times really flies soon and you never get to know how fast your kids grow up. :)

      You also must have experienced most of the things mentioned about teenagers when you were a teen, and of course, heard it from friends or other family members who have teens. And yes, this stage will come in the life of every parent and child, so it’s good to learn more about it and be prepared for it.

      Thanks for stopping by. Always a pleasure to have you over. :)

    • Carolyn

      May 19, 2012 at 5:36 pm

      Hi Praveen,

      My suggestion to you, my friend, is to bookmark this post. Ten years from now you will be glad you did. :-)

      • Praveen Rajarao

        July 31, 2012 at 7:25 pm

        Hey Carolyn – You guys are scaring the hell outta me :-) I am a huge follower to Harleena and I am sure I will refer back to these awesome articles in every step of my life ahead. There is a lot to learn and keep one in track to face life.

        • Avatar of Harleena Singh

          Harleena Singh

          August 6, 2012 at 9:53 pm

          Lol…thanks Praveen. :)

          I guess Carolyn was perhaps trying to tell you that time really flies really soon, and before you know it, those 10 years would just pass by. And don’t worry, these posts are always going to remain on the blog, whenever you want to revert back to them. :)

  5. Jack

    May 19, 2012 at 1:46 am

    I sometimes worry about what my children will be like based upon my personal experiences as a teen. I have a few years before my own are old enough for me to truly worry, but the time is coming.

    That is part of why I am trying hard to spend time with them now. I want them to see my behavior is consistent and that it is something I have always done. I hope it will make it easier later on for them to see this is not new for me.

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 19, 2012 at 11:42 am

      Glad you could relate to the post Jack!

      We all pass through the ‘worrisome’ phase you are going through presently. I guess your kids must be in their pre-teens now or nearing it, and nowadays kids grow up so fast. It’s almost like they do things we did when we were teens! So, one has to be very careful even when they haven’t really reached their teens, because of the changes in time.

      Spending time with your kids is the best thing you can do as a parent, and this is something that’s needed more-so when they become teens- they need you all the more then. Yes, they do tend to spend more time with friends than family, but it’s good for them to know that they have someone back home to rely on, talk to, confide in, and who will always love and care for them – no matter what.

      Thanks for stopping by. It’s always nice to have you over. :)

  6. Joanne Cipressi

    May 19, 2012 at 6:44 am

    Harleena,

    What a timely article. I have a pre-teen daughter, so I am not at those teen years yet. But, just today I bought a book for how to talk with your teenager as preparation for when those years come. It has some really great ideas that I saw just from skimming through it. Then, I came to see if you added any new articles and it was about teens.

    I appreciate the warning signs you give and I will sure be on alert for them. As you know, being the best mom I can be is very important to me and I believe in preparation as much as is reasonable. As good as my girls are now, I know that we never know what the future holds. What great tips! I do most of them already, except for enforcing the rules. I tend to bend a little at certain things. Been improving in this area, but I know I need to do so even more. I have heard that this is very important, especially for teens. So off to find a whip…only teasing…I am one of those moms that does not believe in physical punishments.

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts here. I sure will be reflecting on these! Hope you have a lovely day!

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 19, 2012 at 12:28 pm

      Glad you could resonate with the post Joanne!

      That’s a nice coincidence, and am sure the book must be full of wonderful information. Pre-teen is as good as teens nowadays with times changing so fast, just as I was telling Praveen in an earlier comment.

      We never really get to know the pace with which our kids grow up, so yes, the preparations should ideally be made much in advance. And if parents gain knowledge beforehand about things that can happen, or how to avoid certain situations, or how best to deal with their teens – it makes a lot of difference when you finally do face the situation later.

      I guess we all want to be the best moms or dads for our children, but like you said, we can never predict the future. So, it’s good to learn as much as you can, and yes, the warning signs can help if need be- though I hope your kids don’t need them at all and face just the normal problems teens face.

      Ahhh..you are another one like me when it comes to enforcing the rules I think. We do have certain fixed rules in our house that takes care that things are done routinely, beside maintaining the disciple, which is where my kids tend to slacken a bit and often need reminders!

      I also don’t believe in physical punishment – guess I have a soft heart. This is because I strongly feel that there are better ways of conveying what you want to- to your kids, and they are more receptive when you talk out, discuss, or explain things to them.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. It’s always a pleasure to have you over. :)

  7. Carolyn

    May 19, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    As the mom of three teenage girls, I give this article a big “thumbs up”!

    My oldest daughter was troubled, but in a different way than mentioned above. When we moved back from England she started high school and it did not go well from day 1. The transition was a disaster in every way, socially, academically, extra-curricularly (<<- not a real word). My effervescent daughter became withdrawn and quiet. But her father and I kept the conversation going, acknowledging the difficulties and her struggles. She knew we were on her side and fighting for her.

    We ended up switching schools and she is in a much better place now. She has wonderful friends, is outgoing, loving her music and sports again and is doing well in school. She traveled a rough road, but that will serve her well in life.

    I have a slightly different opinion about defiance than you said above, but that might be because of our unique experience. Last year my daughter wasn’t defiant at all because she was withdrawn. Now she is a bit defiant and that actually feels good to me because it means her spirit is back. We are very close so she doesn’t push too far, but she definitely challenges me now.

    I think the key is not to take it personally.

    Thanks for this wonderful piece of wisdom for us, Harleena!

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 20, 2012 at 10:32 am

      Glad to get a ‘thumbs up’ Carolyn!

      I think no one would be in a better position to relate and add more value to the post than a parent of three teens, especially where all three would be different in their nature.

      I can understand what your oldest daughter must have undergone, which must have been due to the transition as children take a lot of time adjusting to the new place, and with teens it’s almost like starting all over again by making new friends. And all this keeps working on their minds and they aren’t able to do well academically, socially, and are just overall saddened within.

      We as parents often don’t realize and think from our view point as elders, but the teens do go through a great deal and are rarely able to express themselves. But I am glad that she knew she had both her parent by her side with your full support and encouragement. That’s half the battle won!

      Nice to know that a change of school and new friends (who may be more like earlier friends in England) made a difference in her and brought her back to life. I think at this age their circle of friends and whom they interact and connect with matters a great deal to them. Yes indeed, everything kids and teens experience, just as we did when we were young, teaches them something in return – it never goes waste. :)

      You are right about there being many ways of teens showing their defiance. Some kids just act stubborn and defiant in the real sense, some become withdrawn and keep to themselves, while some go beyond all these too. Her being defiant after all that she has undergone is a good sign, which means she is back to her normal self being a teen! It happens with my elder one too when she gets really down or depressed due to any reason, and she just stops interacting or speaking to us, and often goes into her own shell. But after we both talk things out with her and she expresses herself, she is back to her bubbly self again- and I think that’s what’s most important- to see her normal again, even if she becomes a little defiant and moody! And the little things teens do are absolutely normal at their age and acceptable for us parents too.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. It’s always a pleasure to have you over. :)

  8. Amandah

    May 19, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Fantastic article!

    Parenting a troubled teen can be a difficult task, if it’s seen as a difficult task. Through introspection and self-reflection, I realized my parents did the best they could based on ‘how they were raised’ by their parents and who else was involved in their lives, i.e., teachers, relatives, etc. I think today’s parents forget that their parents were once children. If we step back and get out of our stories for a moment, we’ll realize our parents did the best they can based on the information they had at the time. A person can’t do better if no one shows them how to do better or if they’re not willing to change and open up to suggestions.

    Troubled teens from dysfunctional families

    The only way to stop a family’s troubled pattern is for someone, in my case it’s me, to break and dissolve the cycle of dysfunction. I’m not saying that all families are dysfunctional, but I think a high percentage of today’s families are.

    Parents aren’t present

    I’m in a position right now where I’ve become a coach, mentor and sort-of surrogate mom to my teen niece and nephew. I listen to them – I keep my mouth shut. Most people can’t or won’t do that. I also respect them (I respect me). I teach them to set boundaries with people. I reiterate to them the importance of approving of themselves versus seeking it from others. I pay attention to them. Many parents are busy with their careers and or other activities that they don’t pay attention to their teens. It’s no wonder teens act out. Parents are wrapped up in themselves. Why have kids?

    Learning to parent

    I agree with Point #7 about learning to be a better parent. Let’s face it; some people get married and have children for the wrong reasons. Then parents get divorced. Who suffers the most? The kids. Again, I’ll use my own experience. My sister and brother-in-law are getting a divorce. Sadly, my brother-in-law is basically out of the picture. Why? Because he doesn’t know how to be a parent. Why? It goes back to his childhood. I won’t get into that here.

    My role as an aunt/godmother

    I’m the one who spends time with my niece and nephew. I’m the one who’s teaching them how to save, invest, have multiple streams of income, pursue their dreams, etc. I’m the one who asks my nephew (10th grader), “How was school? Do you have homework? Do you need help with your homework? How are your wood shop projects progressing? How were your tests? How are your grades?” My sister’s doing the best she can, but everything’s on her shoulders and our 66-year-old mom’s shoulders. Grandma thought she was done raising her kids. Not to mention the fact that our mom raised girls. Helping to raise a teen boy is a challenge for her.

    Stepping up my role is a challenge for me because I’m not my niece and nephew’s mom. I’m their aunt. My sister keeps assuring me that I have the ‘right’ to say something if I believe my nephew’s acting out or being disrespectful. But I feel I walk a ‘fine’ line.

    Final thoughts

    My wish for the world is that people “think” before getting married and having children. Really think about what it means to be a parent. My other wish is that people would work on themselves and dig deep to get to the ‘root’ of their issues. Figure that out and you’ll live a happier, more fulfilled life.

    Also, please don’t have kids if you don’t want them. Don’t have kids because you think it’s expected of you. Realize that kids want want to be loved, nurtured, and know they matter. Isn’t that what we all want?

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 20, 2012 at 11:33 am

      Welcome to the blog Amandah!

      Glad you liked the post and thanks for your wonderful comment!

      I agree that if parenting a troubled teenager is taken as an uphill task, it looks like one. And yes, if parents haven’t been taught things by their parents or they aren’t willing to change or learn things, they would never know how things are done. I guess parents try their level best to teach and give the best to their kids, based on what they have learnt from their parents and what’s best to their knowledge.

      When we speak about dysfunctional families that would be some of the cases perhaps where things go to extremes, but not all families are such I guess. And it’s not easy to break or dissolve the cycle of dysfunction, unless you have a strong support system or seek professional help and are determined- isn’t it?

      You are doing a wonderful job as a mentor, coach, and kind of surrogate mom to your niece and nephew by listening to them, though I’m sure where it’s required you would be giving the guidance required, as most teens do need that. Yes indeed, there are many parents who don’t have the time or patience to listen to their teens, spend time with them, or teach them things, which results in teens becoming troubled or they have problems and end up doing things they shouldn’t. Majorly the parents are responsible for their kids and teens and if they don’t have time for their teens especially, then yes, why have kids at all.

      The kids are always the ones who suffer most when parents get divorced for whatever reasons. I guess they really don’t think about what their kids will undergo, and neither are they ready to make amends or resolve issues for the sake of their kids. Sometimes things get beyond the recovery phase I guess, which may be the case with your sister and brother-in-law. And as you mentioned it goes back to his childhood, or perhaps it’s related to what his parents were like or behaved, or some childhood trauma or other experience he’s undergone. Nonetheless, such incidents in-fact should teach you not to be or behave in the same manner, and they are learning experiences which should make you a much better parent to your kids.

      You are surely doing a commendable job with your niece and nephew by teaching them so many things that ideally parents should do. And yes, it’s not easy for your mom and sister to shoulder the responsibility alone, which is where you fit in well even though you are just their aunt. I think your sister is right about you having the ‘right’ to guide the kids because I think you are a part of their lives now, and I am sure they look up to you as a second-mom too or know that you are doing so much for them out of concern.

      I ditto your final thoughts Amandah! Yes, never have kids or get married just for the sake of it or because everyone else does so, or because it’s expected of you. You need to understand the importance and value of having kids and learn to love, care, and understand them once you have them. And if there are problems or issues you have with things, just as you mentioned, resolve them by digging deep and finding out the root cause of things, rather than taking drastic steps that only make you unhappy within.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. Your comment has surely added more value to the post and I’m sure many readers would learn from it. :)

  9. Nikky44

    May 19, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Thank you Harleena. You always analyse very delicate and important subjects.

    My daughter is 15 and I don’t think she is a hard to deal with teenager. In fact, she hates to be alone, but hates to be with us. She loves to have friends, but never had any. She speaks of going out, but she never does. She is very clever, but doesn’t like school. She has a lot of love, but never shows it. I feel a lot of anger in her heart.

    I feel so uselss as her mother since I don’t know what to do. I took her to a psychologists and she had many sessions, but didn’t open up, so we stopped.
    5- Give them a warm home: How can I give that? How can I give something I need too, but don’t have?

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 20, 2012 at 12:15 pm

      Glad you could relate to the post Nikky and found it useful!

      Nice to know more about your daughter, who I think is more of an introvert. Being surrounded by people is absolutely alright I guess, no one really wants to be alone, though I wonder why she never had any friends?

      Perhaps if you go out to your friends place who have teens her age or make friends with other parents at her school and visit them by taking her with you, she may start mingling and get friendly with other teens and open up more. That would then encourage her to go out and make more friends, and if those teenage friends are her schoolmates, she would love going to school and meeting them there too.

      Perhaps the anger in her heart is due to the problems at home that you are facing, which being a quiet person she doesn’t express, but it stays within her- but that’s not good. She surely does need an outlet to express her emotions, whether they are of love, hate, or anger. And if she isn’t able to share her feelings with you, because she is an introvert-quiet person and a teenager (who prefer friends over family)- she does need teens of her age to share things with. That may be an answer for her that even psychologists may approve of, and I think that initiative you would have to take as her concerned mom.

      I can well understand your problem of not being able to give her a warm home Nikky, but being her mother you can surely get as close to her as you can be giving her all the love of both parents, a mothers and a fathers that she needs at this age- mores-so because she doesn’t have anyone else. You are there with and for her and that’s more than enough, so don’t think you can do nothing or that you are useless because there’s lot of hidden courage and strength that lies within us and surfaces when the need arises.

      I hope I was able to help you in some way, and I’m sure things will get better provided you take the first step for your daughter and help her make friends. :)

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. :)

      • Nikky44

        May 20, 2012 at 12:31 pm

        Thank you Harleena.

        You are right. She is an introvert girl and has never talked to me about anything private in her life. It’s not a matter of trust, but more like very strong self confidence. She is a strong girl, and always solves her problems alone. I talked to her teachers, and they always tell me I must be very proud of her as she is very wise for her age.

        She refuses to go out with me and visit people whether they are my friends or schoolmate. I think her problem is that she feels that if she goes and visit friends, she would have to invite them home. That is her problem. She doesn’t want anyone to know about what is going on at home, and she is embarrassed by her dad. She had over 10 sessions with a psychologist two years ago, but she refused to say a word about home.
        She doesn’t have any friend at school or outside school, but she is very popular and loved by all.

        • Avatar of Harleena Singh

          Harleena Singh

          May 20, 2012 at 12:55 pm

          Glad to know that she has lots of self-confidence Nikky!

          I guess situations may have made her a wise and strong girl, and given her the courage to solve her own problems, which if course is something to be proud of. She may not be wanting to burden you with her worries because she knows you have your own, so refrains from talking with you may be, though I am sure you must be talking to her so that she can express herself to someone.

          Ahh..I can now understand her refusing to make friends, which must be related to the reason you mentioned. I think in that case perhaps if she makes friends, they can all meet at some other place and not visit each other houses- most kids our end meet at some movie hall or eating joint, spend time together, share things and are back home at a respectable time.

          She would be of course embarrassed of her dad and things going around in the house, though I wonder if her dad would really bother her and her friends even if they did come home. His problem isn’t with her, so perhaps if you discuss this issue with him, he would be alright with things.

          The psychologist are usually able to find ways to make people open up to resolve issues, so if things aren’t working with one, you could try another one, who may be better and would be able to make her talk things out. I think her problem is basically of not having anyone to talk out things with, discuss, or resolve whatever issues she has within herself. Being popular is good, but not to have a friend is something that she must be missing too, because she can’t really express her feelings to you too.

          You are surely undergoing a lot and all I can really do is hope and pray that things get better for you. :)

  10. Vidya Sury

    May 20, 2012 at 9:44 am

    :-) Very good post.

    It is interesting how it seems like a topic is going around the web. Just last week I saw a spate of teen parenting posts and tips. Very relevant topic, Harleena, and you’ve recommended some excellent tips.

    When I was a teen, my Mom treated me like a friend. Most of all, she listened. She respected me. I think that kept the “troubled” at bay with ease. I do the same with my son who is 14. He’s a warm and compassionate person and erm…..very unlike a teenager should be :-). He’s often called a softie. I realized it is only because he doesn’t behave like a teenager is expected to. I am truly lucky.

    Thank you for a great read!

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 20, 2012 at 12:39 pm

      Glad you liked the post Vidya!

      Sure seems like a coincidence for you to have come across so many teen parenting posts, I guess mine just adds to that list. :)

      I know how close you were to your mom, and by treating you as a friend she did the right thing as teens look for and need a friend in either of their parent, which in your case was your mom. Similarly, I think this closeness passed down between you and your son too – isn’t it?

      Listening to your teens when they want to express their feelings is what’s mostly needed, which does take care of all troubles and problems as once you know of things you can work collectively in resolving the issues.

      Nice to know more about your son, though being warm, compassionate, or a soft person at heart is something normal in teenagers. Yes, you are indeed lucky that he is otherwise quite unlike other teenagers his age and thus, you are saved from a lot of troubles and worries other parents undergo.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. :)

  11. Elena Anne

    May 20, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Thank you for sharing this Harleena.

    I’m also going to share this with my friend who’s having a hard time understanding and disciplining her teenage girl. :)
    I guess parents should just also be extra patient and be strong and keep their composure and control when dealing with problems with their troubled children.

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 20, 2012 at 6:30 pm

      Glad you could relate to the post Elena!

      Yes indeed, parents do need to love, care, and understand their teens. They do need to have the patience to hear out all that their kids want to share with them, and listen to them calmly by keeping their composure. Hope the post helps your friend who is having a problem dealing with her troubled teen. :)

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  12. Amandah

    May 20, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    You’re welcome!

    I had a rough childhood. But I forgive both my parents. They did the best they could. I also forgive myself for being a “spitfire and rebellious” teenager. I knew why I was acting out. As a teen I was powerless to change my family’s situation. What could I do? I was a kid. I also didn’t have great role models and or mentors in my life. I did the best I could at the time.

    As I mentioned above, I’ve now become a coach, mentor, and surrogate mom to my niece and nephew. I’m very AWARE of the energy I bring to them. Kids pick up on their parents’ energy. If mom and dad are worried, kids will pick up on it. If mom and dad are arguing, kids will pick up on it. If I’m having an ‘off day,’ I check myself before I interact with them. I’ll meditate, do deep breathing exercises, work out, journal, etc. to get to the ‘root’ of my feeling. I feel my feelings and process them. It’s easy for me because I’ve been working on shifting my life since 2007.

    Thoughts on Parents

    I think parents forget that children come through them. Once kids are out, all bets are off. We forget they’re individuals with their own personalities. I truly believe we’re souls having a human experience. But like I said, I’m at a different point in my life than others. And my beliefs may be different from others.

    Personally, I look at my niece and nephew as two individuals having their own life experience. Even though they’re brother and sister, they’re complete opposites. Therefore, as an aunt, I may need to ‘tweak’ my approach when I interact with them. For example, I know I can joke around with my nephew. But my niece is more sensitive. If I make a joke, she could interpret it as me ‘picking on her’ when I’m not. Their childhood affected both them differently just like my childhood affected me and my sister differently. It’s something I’m having to reiterate to my mom who walks on egg shells around my niece. This is hard for my mom because my sister, niece and nephew are living with her. She’s paying the bills.

    I also learned that holding onto anger and pain doesn’t hurt others, it hurts you. I reiterate this to my niece and nephew every chance I get. I’d prefer it if they didn’t repeat family patterns.

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 20, 2012 at 7:55 pm

      Glad you forgave your parents Amandah!

      I think that’s the best thing you could so, because keeping any kind of hatred or anger within you would only harm you- no one else. I think all that you underwent as a rebellious teen must have been based on whatever happened in your family or with your parents, or how they were with you. And you feel more helpless when you know things are not right, but you don’t have the power to change them- because you were just a child that time.

      Yes, you are absolutely right about kids picking up the positive or negative energy from their parents and also from the enviornment we create for them. I think you are doing wonderfully well by passing on the much needed positive energy to your niece and nephew, and though they may not realize it now, they would surely be grateful for all that you are doing for them.

      Each individual is different and experience things differently. Often time brothers and sisters or siblings in general turn to be opposite of each other- just as my kids are. And yes, you do need to handle each child in a different manner based on what they understand or what they are better able to follow. I have to do the same with my kids so often, because both their natures are different.

      Your niece and nephew have indeed undergone a lot in their chidhood and what they are experiencing now is partly based on those past experiences. They are to be handled with care and I think all of you are trying your best to mold them into happy, loving, and successful adults.

      Thanks for adding more value to the post :)

  13. Anne

    May 20, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    I’ve worked as a teen counsellor/worker for 10 years. My experience and qualifications in this field has led me to this conclusion: teenagers will do what is expected of them.

    Where I live in the UK, kids are told all their lives, ‘What am I going to do when you become a terrible teen!’ I’ve heard people having conversations (with their pre-teens listening) with their friends, making fun of the fact that they’ll have terrible teenagers, looking forward to being unable to cope, etc. Kids are taught by their parents that when they become teens, they’re expected to misbehave and upset the family. … so they do.

    I understand there are hormones at play, but I wanted to reverse this ‘expectation’. When my oldest was on the cusp of becoming a teenager, I made a point to tell people in her presence how much I was looking forward to having 2 and a half adults in the house after being outnumbered by 3 kids for so long. I said I was looking forward to relaxing and leaving more responsibility in her lap. That I was so excited about having her help out with the other 2 kids etc.

    In the end, I think SHE was the one who was a bit apprehensive about becoming a teen :-) She’s a great child. She’s responsible, kind, honest, loving. Of course (like you said) she wants to fit in with peers and can be secretive. But I realise I have to give her this privilege. I understand this. She knows that responsibility comes with a gift – freedom. She and I both understand she’s still technically a child. I allow her to be one.

    In my book about raising kids to be responsible, I addressed a lot of points you raised. The most important thing is to start training them very young. All the ‘hard’ years really pay off when they actually become a teen. My son is now 12. Can’t wait!

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 20, 2012 at 8:44 pm

      Glad that you could resonate with the post Anne!

      Wonderful to know that you have worked in this field for so long, and yes, to a certain extent I agree with what you say but would like to add that they do things based on how or what we as parents guide or tell them also.

      I have often heard those lines at our end too, or for that matter- some of the parents worldwide say such things to their teens or kid, and speak with their friends in the presence of their kids, which makes the kids feel low, down, and useless. And yes, they have these preconceived notions because of the way their parents speak about them, that they are expected to behave like teenagers do – trouble the family, misbehave, rebel, and do all those things that they may not have done had they not heard all such things being spoken about them. The result mostly, just as you mentioned will lead to them doing those very things that they heard their parents say.

      Just as Amandah had mentioned in an earlier comment, we as parents are responsible for sending out the positive or negative energy to our kids. What you mentioned above is a typical example of sending negative energy to our teens, which will lead them to do things negatively- even if they hadn’t thought about it earlier.

      You did the right thing by praising and motivating her in-front of everyone, something that we always do with our kids too. It is an instant booster for them and raises their self -esteem and self – confidence. And they feel they are worthy of doing things and taking up responsibilities too.

      Nice to know more about your daughter, and I’m sure with a caring and loving mother like you she is going to grow up into a happy and successful adult. Yes indeed, the training of children starts right when they are young, so that their teenage years pass of with ease.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. Always a pleasure to have you over. :)

  14. Ilka Flood

    May 21, 2012 at 12:08 am

    Hi Harleena,

    Oh gosh did reading your post bring back “not so fond” memories. My husband and I had to go through “those teenage years” three times with our boys. At times it really was not easy, but through it all we always kept the lines of communication open, loved our boys unconditionally…even when it meant applying “tough love.”

    You’re right, teenagers try to test their boundaries. It’s a normal thing and as a parent you will have to stand firm. You have to set limits and you have to back them up even if it breaks your heart.

    The good news is, kids grow out of those teenage years and hopefully they will grow into responsible adults who look back to those years with gratitude.

    Thanks so much for sharing this, Harleena!

    Ilka

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 21, 2012 at 10:43 pm

      Glad you could resonate with the post Ilka!

      I think most of the readers have gone back in time and remembered their good old times when they were teens, and yes, for those who have more than one teen in their family – it wouldn’t have been easy (that includes me too!) Gosh! I crib with my two daughters, so I can well imagine what you must have undergone with 3 boys!!

      I think nothing works better than keeping your channels of communication open with your children, especially teens who tend to shy off or prefer friends over family for talking things out. When they know that they have parents who hear them out and would love them unconditionally even if they are tough at times, it makes a lot of difference.

      Yes, as parents we need to be tough at times to keep them in line and maintain a certain amount of discipline, which I am sure every parent must be doing to a certain degree. You do need to be strict at times (something that I really can’t but then my husband takes over here and does a better job!), to just let them know about what’s right or wrong and how they need to behave.

      Absolutely! We as parents need to understand that the teenage years will pass off really soon, and all that they undergo is a passing phase, which helps them develop and grow into happy and successful adults, which is what we all want – isn’t it?

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with everyone. It’s always a pleasure to have you over. :)

  15. Cathy

    May 21, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Hi Harleena,

    This is an article full of great advice for parents. I felt like I was a rebellious teen at the time, but when I look back, I was pretty tame.

    The teen years are challenging even in the best of situations. It is that time when teens want to spread their wings and be independent. As parents, our hope is that our teens get through these years safely.

    With the epidemic of experimentation and teen substance abuse, it is so important for parents to rule that out as the cause of their teens rebelliousness. Most teens are not abusing drugs, but parents do need to know if this is the case, sooner rather than later.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 21, 2012 at 11:33 pm

      Glad you could relate to the post Cathy!

      I agree that the new generation teens are generally much wilder than their predecessors. The instinct for experimentation is innate, but since the present teen generations have much more exposure to all kinds of media and drugs, things get lurky and risky. It is sure a great challenge to contain and control children in their teens.

      Even if the teen kids are not towing the notoriety line, parents do need to be on the vigil and look out for any signs that may hint that their children are falling for the tempting venemous bait of drugs. And if the teens are not abusing drugs, I think they need to be appreciated and applauded for doing so.

      I think there’s nothing wrong with spreading the wings and experimentation as far as the teens remain within limits and rules – but that is the core issue – kids at this age do not understand the limits and what is right or wrong for them. Characteristically a teen will always be a rebel, we too were, but our parents patiently and lovingly made us understand why we should do the right thing. I guess it matters a great deal that we love our kids even at those times when we know they are doing something wrong.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  16. Barry Wells

    May 21, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Hi Harleena, another topic close to my heart.

    As we’ve previously discussed my mum was left with 5 kids to bring up and of the 5 I was the most troubled and looking back I know I was a troubled teen and to be honest I don’t know how my mum put up with it.

    If my mum ever needed anything I was the first to step up and help her but when I had a mood change I was the biggest pain in the #### of us all and got the beatings to prove it… Some of them were deserved I suppose but at the time the beatings made me worse.

    I’ve raised my children, with a great deal of input from my wife, to listen to what I say and let my experiences be their lessons. I’ve only ever slapped my son twice (both times for the way he spoke to his mum) and my daughter once for the same thing. They’re now 22 and 19 and only ever had 3 slaps between them. That’s 3 slaps in total not 3 sessions of slapping. I don’t agree with hitting kids to teach them a lesson, words and understanding is far better and gets better results.

    Whenever they’ve misbehaved I have sat them down and asked them why they done whatever it is they’ve done and then advise them on the other choices that were available to them, all of which could bring about a different course of events.

    I have always encouraged them to think for themselves and assess the situations they face as calmly as they can. I have to say that I’ve been very fortunate with my children as the support and encouragement we’ve given them over the years has kept them grounded and well behaved.

    I do feel for some of the parents that have to put up with troubled teens. Some try really hard to help their kids whilst others just leave them to it.

    I liken troubled teens to a disposable lighter: Full of gas and ready to fire up, just waiting for a spark to set them off and once they’re off they’re likely to burn whatever is in their way. What we need to do is find what the spark is and remove it. Once we’ve dealt with the spark we can then let the gas escape without fear of fire.

    I’ve always advised my friends of this and when I see troubled kids that I know I try to help them through my words and experiences and I always use the lighter to demonstrate my meaning.

    Another great topic Harleena with some great advice.

    Take care,
    Barry

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 21, 2012 at 11:37 pm

      Glad you could reosnate with the post Barry!

      I think a mother loves her children no matter how they are, because her love is uncondtional. And I think your earlier years were largely because of you dad – the past memories always have an affect on us that we may never know of.

      All teens have their mood swings, and my kids were are just like that too! Sometimes they are the first ones to run and do a job, while at other times no matter how much you keep asking them to do something – they just won’t budge. I guess at such times it’s best to let them be and move on to other things or divert their attention to something else.

      You must have so much to share about your own life experiences with your kids, and I am glad your wife is in it with you, which makes things much easier. I think sometimes you do need to get strict with your kids if they don’t listen to you or start ignoring you, and that may be the time you may have raised you hand on them. This is something I could never do, though I know it’s said that spare the rod and spoil the child – but I have always preferred talking, explaining, and advising things to them. But yes, when they are in a receptive mood, and if they are not then I prefer holding on to talk to them when they are ready to listen.

      It’s because of both you and your wife’s encouragement, love, care, support and understanding that your kids have grown up into well behaved and happy adults. I hope most parents are able to do the same with their teens, and if they are troubled teens, then give them all the more attention and guidance.

      I loved your example about the disposable lighter! Yes indeed, they are full of fire and energy. The root cause of the fire or spark surely does need to be removed so that there is no fire. And we need to divert their energy or else it can bring everyting down. I guess it can be by taking their minds away from things that trouble them and diverting them towards some hobbies or things they like doing.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. You surely added so much more value to the post. :)

  17. Amandah

    May 21, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Harleena … Thank you!

    I’m proud of my niece. She admitted that she wants to continue to ‘speak’ to someone, a counselor. Apparently, she was seeing a counselor at her college. I had no idea. She knows I’m available, but sometimes it’s better for kids to speak to someone ‘outside’ of the family. I’m confident that my niece and nephew will grow and learn from their situation. I know I have!

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 21, 2012 at 11:37 pm

      Nice to know more about your niece and nephew Amandah! I’m sure they will grow up to be a wonderful adults under your guidance. Thanks :)

  18. Corinne Rodrigues

    May 21, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    I don’t have children, Harleena but do have a lot of experience working with teenagers both from teaching and from working with them in an NGO. I have found that teenagers need from their parents and elders consistency, friendship and an ability to listen to them without judgement.

    Your article is very informative and a great resource for parents and teachers too.

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 21, 2012 at 11:41 pm

      That’s wonderful Corinne!

      You don’t really have to have kids or teenagers to know more about them, especially if you are surrounded by them at the places you mentioned because you come across so many of them and each of them is so different from the other – isn’t it?

      Yes indeed, teens need friendship from their parents or at least from one of them if not both, and lots of communication with one other to talk out and discuss things. Besides that, they need lots of love too, something that we all can’t live without. :)

      Thanks for your warm and kind words. I do hope the post helps parents, teachers, and all those who deal with teens, and of course, it does take us back to our good old times too.

      Thanks for stopping by. It’s always a pleasure to have you over. :)

  19. Sally Brown

    May 21, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Hi Leena,

    Troubled teens are so difficult. I think #4 is so important, though all that you state are important. I had two children who lived with my kids and I at different times. It was difficult, though rewarding. I found that these kids needed structure and acceptance. Great post! Sally

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 23, 2012 at 10:52 am

      Glad you could relate to the post Sally!

      Yes indeed, troubled teens are surely a handful to deal with. We do need to be strict by setting rules and ensuring we stick to them, but don’t forget to love them and convey in your own manner why you are doing what you are doing, because sometimes they tend to take it negatively.

      Bring up teenagers has it’s ups and downs, something that every parent is going to go through sooner or later, just as you must have experienced with the kids living with you. Kids do need lots of love, care, attention, acceptance and understanding for them to develop into healthy adults.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  20. Annie Andre

    May 21, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Harleena,

    I am mom to a 15 and a 14 year old then followed by a 4 year old girl. My oldest son has recently been a challenge. Thankfully, no drugs or alcohol or rebellion. More just mood swings, laziness and defiance here and there. This went on for 2 months and then it just stopped?

    I asked him recently what happened those two months and he said he didn’t know. I think he must have been possessed by the hormone monsters or something because he was a different person beyond any kind of reason. I remember being moody like that when I was pregnant and from what I understand teenagers can go through those same hormonal rushes making it hard for them to control their emotions, temper etc. I have no idea but all I know is I lost my temper way too many times.

    The only thing that helped was to have an outlet. To get away. For me it’s exercise, kickboxing or some physically straining sport and then I can deal again. Until the next time.

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 23, 2012 at 11:05 am

      Glad you could resonate with the post Annie!

      Kids that age do have their mood swings, and tend to be lazy- just as my elder one is sometimes! I guess they need to be pushed to do the smallest of things at times. And yes, they do tend to be defiant, which again I think is very normal with teens. But yes, this goes on and off, depending on their moods that also keeps varying depending on the hormonal changes that take place in their bodies.

      You son must have got over his set of hormones and got alright I guess! Often times when you ask them the reason for their strange behavior, they have no reply because they don’t know why they acted that way themselves. Or perhaps he got his mood swings from your genetically as you said you had them too when you were pregnant! (joking!) Yes, whenever there are hormonal ups and downs in our bodies, we do tend to get more angry and emotional, which again isn’t in our hands, though we need to control it so that it doesn’t go out of hand.

      Absolutely! I think having an outlet, some kind of hobby, or going in for activities that they like helps a great deal for teenagers to get through that tough phase. I guess they are able to release their energy in doing something useful instead- isn’t it?

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. :)

  21. Deeone Higgs

    May 21, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    I loved the tips you shared here, Harleena!

    This is a great topic that I believe will assist many families who may have to give special attention to a troubled teen within their family unit.

    We don’t have any children as of yet, in our household at the moment, but I can certainly see me handling the topic of discussion, as you have shared here. I believe I will be an awesome father, based solely on what I went without from my own parents.

    I didn’t give my mother and grandmother much problem as a teen, but I wasn’t perfect either. I could have done a lot better in school. I think a lot of my problem stemmed though from no one being attentive to how poorly I was doing.

    In all of my schooling years, I only recall one time when my grandmother and aunt went to talk with a teacher; and that was in the eleventh grade. On top of it being in my eleventh grade year, they only went, because my aunt would tell my grandmother that the teacher they went to go talk to was giving me too much attention. That in itself is a very long story.

    I certainly don’t place all of the blame on the adults in my life, for the lack of attention I placed on my school work, but as adults, I do believe someone should have stepped up and showed a bit more concern in my grades.

    Nevertheless, yesterday is gone, and I can’t get those years back now. I can only improve upon myself where I am at this moment in my life. In spite of how poorly I did in school, I’ve managed to do a lot with my life – becoming a sailor in the Navy, a flight attendant, and now an author. So yes, it is only a passing phase; and it’s also how the adults in the teens life react to that phase in their lives.

    If a teen is acting out or doing poorly in a certain areas; there is definitely a reason for it. As adults, we have to find out what that reason is and address the issue; and not expect teachers and other adults to do it for us.

    I will echo what others before me have shared here in the comments, this was a very informative and relative post here, my friend. I think you did a splendid job explaining it. And I thank you for sharing your insights on the topic with us.

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 24, 2012 at 5:50 pm

      Glad you liked the post Deeone!

      I also hope that the post would help parents with troubled teenagers and anyone else who has teenager or is a parent of a soon to be teen, which eventually all kids are going to become one day – isn’t it?

      I can vouch and close my eyes and say that you are going to be a wonderful parent whenever the time comes, and it would indeed be a pleasure to see you raise a child that grows into a teen. I guess when we are raised with love, we are able to understand love and carry it forward to our kids too.

      None of us are perfect and we all tend to change with time. What we were when we were young is bound to change as we grow. I guess in your case perhaps your grandmother didn’t feel the need to visit your school as she may have thought that everything is going on well in school, because you weren’t ever a problem child. And this carried on until the need arose when your aunt spoke to her about your teacher.

      Yes indeed, as concerned parents or elders taking care of the kids or teens – we need to meet teachers regularly, especially if the grades are going low and the kids aren’t doing well in class. And just as you mentioned that even though you didn’t do well in school, you surely have done marvelously in the latter phase of your life, which I think is based on all that you went through earlier. So yes, every incident in life teaches us something or the other and we need take the positives from every moment.

      I ditto what you said about parents intervening if their teens aren’t doing well or are going through troubled times, because there’s always a reason for the way they behave. And we as parents need to go to the root cause and solve their problem.

      Thanks so much for those warm and kind words. I am glad you liked the post and I also hope it helps parents who are having a hard time with their teens.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. It’s always a pleasure to have you over.

  22. Adrienne

    May 21, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    I’m so glad I can’t relate to this at all Harleena!

    I have two nieces and two nephews. They are now ages 17, 21, 24 & 26. We are all so very blessed that they didn’t go through that horrible stage where they were ever really troubled.

    Now my cousin has gone through some troubles with one of her children. Her problem was that she and his Dad were divorces so she showered him with everything. When it got to the point that he was becoming irresponsible and she couldn’t continue to bail him out, she quit paying for everything. He rebelled even more and got into drugs and alcohol. He’s now around 26 I believe and has been married and divorced. He’s back living at home and back into the drugs. It’s now putting a strain on her current marriage. I continue to pray for them that it will all work itself out.

    They live in another town and they really don’t share a lot of what’s going on with us. I believe mainly because they aren’t too terribly proud of the way he turned out.

    I’m just so blessed that I don’t personally know too many people, friends and family, that actually have troubled teens. They’ve all turned out to be pretty darn good kids. But as in the case with my cousin’s son, it does happen more often then we care to admit.

    ~Adrienne

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 24, 2012 at 5:53 pm

      Glad to hear that Adrienne!

      You are indeed lucky to have no trouble with your nieces and nephews, which is wonderful indeed and something to be grateful for.

      Your cousin perhaps is doing her best to raise her son single-handedly, which isn’t easy. And in such cases single parents feel that when they pamper their child or shower them with gifts and things, they are in a way taking the place of the absent parent. I had an aunt who was just like this and without realizing what she was doing, she just gave all that her kids demanded, and now both of them are tough to deal with if their demands aren’t met. In your cousin’s case, her son took to drugs and alcohol, something that my aunt’s kids didn’t do, because my aunt could never stop herself from fulfilling their demands.

      I guess such kids are tough to deal with – unless they realize or are made to realize that what they are doing is not going to lead them anywhere. And nor are such parents willing to take a hard stand, which even if they do sometimes may lead to teens turning the way your cousin’s son did. I think parents need to talk it out with their teens and not give in to all of their demands, no matter what the circumstances.

      I also know a limited few people who have troubled teens and have seen them struggle with them. I am blessed to have normal teens with their behavior very similar to just any other teenager we see around. I think a major part perhaps is the way we deal with our kids, especially my husband who as a way with words with them. And when you are able to talk and share things out with them, they are also responsive enough and listen to you.

      Thanks for stopping by. It’s always a pleasure to have you over.

  23. Donna Merrill

    May 22, 2012 at 4:28 am

    Harleena, you have done such an excellent job on this post!

    Being a survivor of 4 children, I know how difficult teenage years can be. I enjoy that age because if you can survive it, you are doing your job correctly. I must admit, those grey hairs started but it is worth it. One of mine kept steering the wrong way.

    My troubled teen took a lot of effort. I put myself into therapy to learn how to be strong. When you mention above about “creating a warm home” – I absolutely agree. Having ‘DINNER TIME” as a must creates a time where we can sit around and share.

    Letting your teen know from the beginning that no matter what, I’ll always love you. Having that open communication where they can come to you if they did something wrong and know that as a parent you will help them rather than reject them is also a plus.

    This is a knock out post!
    Donna

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 24, 2012 at 5:53 pm

      Welcome to the blog Donna!

      Glad you liked the post, and yes, if you have managed to come this far – it means you are a survivor alright!

      It mustn’t have been east for you to raise your troubled teen, though I’m glad that therapy helped you gain your strength. I strongly do believe that a warm home where teens can lighten themselves by discussing things with their parents is absolutely essential, and mealtimes are a nice way to interact with each other. And yes, love can move mountains as it’s said, so does it positively affect teens.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  24. Ashvini

    May 22, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    That is very useful post for people who have teenager kids. In my childhood , I think,I suffered from ADD , but it was not widely known at that time. So no one considered it as a problem. Often people with ADD find it difficult to complete work in time. Thus they are called lazy. I had tough time in class . I was excellent in subjects I liked but I really could never top the class (even though I could) because I was too distracted. Recently I have started reading about the subject so I am getting more knowledgeable.

    I recently found that one of my nephew is very hyperactive. May be I will tell his parents about it. This area is vast and there are so many things to learn.

    Thanks for providing so many tips. I will forward the article to them :)

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 24, 2012 at 5:54 pm

      Welcome to the blog Ashvini!

      Nice to know more about your growing years, and yes, ADD wasn’t known that time I think so people didn’t worry much about it, nor did they consider it a problem. I didn’t know all that much about ADD, though laziness and getting distracted easily is something so many of us suffer from too, so I wonder if it was really ADD or just something that affects many of us!

      Some kids are hyperactive and they just don’t stop at anything, nor can they really sit still. I also know a few kids who are just like that, and its fun to watch their parents literally run after them – trying to get them in control.

      Thanks for forwarding the post and for stopping by to share your experiences with everyone. :)

  25. Daryl

    May 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    A very good post.

    The best thing we can do as parents to is to love our teenager unconditionally and remember that we were also once those rebellious teenagers.

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 24, 2012 at 5:56 pm

      Welcome to the blog Daryl!

      Glad you liked the post, and yes, loving your kids and teens is the best thing parents can do, besides caring and understanding them. It does help if you try to put yourself in your teenager’s shoes and think from their viewpoint.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  26. Jon Mertz

    May 24, 2012 at 1:42 am

    Great post, Harleena!

    Valuable insights and points to embrace. Another essential point is to be patient as a parent. It is not about accepting their inappropriate attitudes or behaviors, but it is about learning to take a deep breath and avoid arguing, over-reacting, etc. Having a solid relationship with your spouse also is vital, as you need to be consistent in approach and support each other.

    Thanks for raising some great points in raising teens! Jon

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 24, 2012 at 6:16 pm

      Glad you liked the post Jon!

      Yes indeed, without patience parents cannot really make kids see reason, nor would they be able to understand what their teens have to say. I think parents need to have that courage and will power to sit and hear out all their teens have to say, whether it’s something you would like to hear or not. And if you spouse is with you, it makes things all the more easier. In my case, my husband is the one who mostly takes the lead when we have a family discussion with our teens, but I ensure I am with him and support his decisions. This way even the kids know that both parents mean business and are together in things.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  27. Jodi

    May 24, 2012 at 5:01 am

    Harleenas great post, great info and as usual the discussion you instigated is amazing!

    It is a book in and of itself! I love the care you put into responding to people!. Each response is like a new post! Hats off to you!

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 24, 2012 at 6:19 pm

      Glad you liked the post Jodi!

      Yes, the discussion on this post has indeed been wonderful for which I need to thank all my readers and commenters. I love responding to their comments, as for me it’s almost like I’m talking to them, which makes the connection even better – isn’t it?

      Ahhh…haven’t thought about creating a book from the post or creating a new post from the comments – like your idea though!

      Thanks so much for the warm and kind words. Always a pleasure to have you over. :)

  28. Ahsan

    May 28, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    It is common that there are good and bad relationship in each family between parents and children. If children do anything bad, parents must tell them why it is bad. Otherwise, children tend to think what what they are doing is good.
    Very details information on understanding teenagers behavior. I appreciate your post :)

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      May 29, 2012 at 6:20 pm

      Glad you could resonate with the post Ahsan!

      There are good and bad in all relationships, and the relationship between parent and child can be of misunderstandings sometimes that can arise due to communication gaps. Children always need guidance from their parents, even when they become teens, though as they grow older they should be allowed to take a few decisions alone too.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  29. Mary

    June 4, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    This is such a delicate and sensitive topic.

    I don’t have teenagers of my own yet, there’s a 7 year wait for me. But I do have a stepdaughter and it has been a difficult time for our family recently. I wish this post had been around about 2 years ago. If I had been able to read the signs you pointed out maybe things would have turned out differently. You see my stepdaughter had slid into depression and we didn’t see it. We thought she was being rebellious. The worst part was that her father wouldn’t listen, I mean, really listen to her. To make a long story short, she ended up getting pregnant and having to drop out of university. It shattered all our dreams, hers and ours.

    Now she’s picking up the pieces and we’re trying to help her as best we can. It is truly difficult to parent a troubled teen, especially an introvert like my stepdaughter (and as shared in the discussion thread). I was also an introvert as a teenager and I know my mother had a hard time with me on top of the difficulties she was having with my father. I resolved to be a better parent when I had my own children but I feel like a failure because of how my stepdaughter’s life has turned out.

    One lesson I have learned out of this experience is to forgive. As a (step)parent this was so hard to do. What happened was like a betrayal. We were both very very angry with her. But you know that it’s been said that the bitterness and anger within can only be released by forgiveness. When I realized this, I was able to let go of all that negativity. Now I want to give her the support and love she needs so she can move on with her life and make better decisions for herself and our grandson.

    Thank you for sharing this. I learned much from this post and discussion.

    Warmest regards,
    Mary from the Philippines

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      June 5, 2012 at 12:33 pm

      Glad you could relate to the post Mary!

      Yes indeed, parenting troubled teenagers is an uphill task in most of the cases, and surely a delicate topic of discussion – though I am glad you still have time to think about it. :)

      I guess I thought about this topic when my kids reached their teens, which made me realize further about parents who must be having troubled teens in their family, whom raising would be much more challenging than raising normal teens in most families.

      In the case of your stepdaughter, I think you couldn’t have known how to read the warning signs as you read on the post, which may have made you think that she is being rebellious, when the main cause was depression. This is quite normal in teens, as I see my elder one get into her mood swings rather often, but yes, we as parents understand what she is undergoing and talk therapy does wonders for her, which is what my husband is wonderful at.

      Your stepdaughter must have been under severe depression and having undergone so much, it must have been tough for all of you as a family. The teenage years have to be ‘handled with care’ in all aspects, and being parents we need to be aware of the symptoms teens portray sometimes.

      Being an introvert is all the more a reason that they need to be talked to, so that they come out of their shell and share all that they are feeling or undergoing, which again very few parents are able to do. But I am glad you are all with her and she’s learning to deal with things now, and you don’t have to call yourself a failure, because you really didn’t know how to deal with a teen that time and the amount you learnt thereafter is what will help you all right through.

      I can well understand the anger and resentment you both must have experienced because she betrayed you, but there must be a reason for the way she acted and all that she did, which you may not have known earlier. So, forgiving her and holding her hand is the best thing you can do as parents, which will help her a great deal in her life ahead.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. :)

  30. Adam Snyder

    June 13, 2012 at 5:02 am

    Great article.

    I don’t know about parenting a troubled teen since my son is only 3 years old but if how he is right now is any indication, then I have nothing to worry about. I was not a troubled teen myself, however, I did do everything that I could to push the limits.

    Adam

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      June 13, 2012 at 9:46 am

      Glad you liked the article Adam!

      Ah…you surely have a long way to go before your son turns into a teen, and I’m sure you would make a wonderful father where there would be no question of a troubled teen around. :)

      I guess all of us are a troublesome in our teens – ask our parents about that! But that is normal too to a certain extent.

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  31. Shitij

    March 3, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    When I was a teenager, my mom used to literally keep a check on my behavior by taking advice from experts or by googling…now I am past that stage and would recommend my aunts to read this awesome article as they are going through this stage having problems with their teenage sons

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      March 3, 2013 at 6:08 pm

      Welcome to the blog Shitij!

      Yes indeed, when children and teens are young, parents need to keep a constant check on them, and surely parenting troubled teenagers or even normal teens is no easy task. It is a passing phase and things settle down once the teens are past that stage. Hope the post helps your aunts in raising her teenage sons. :)

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

  32. Corina Ramos

    November 27, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Hi Harleena!

    I saw your post on Twitter and just had to come by and read it.

    Out of the 5 kids I only had one troubled teen but thank goodness he’s turned his life around. It’s going to be hard for him because of all the mistakes he’s made but he’s my son and I’m going to support him.

    I always say it’s too bad our kids didn’t come with a book of instructions but they didn’t. I learned some stuff on the way to raising my first two teens so by the time my other kids entered their teen years I had an idea of what to do ;).

    I’m not saying my parents didn’t raise me right but they stuck to how their parents raised them which was very strict. We didn’t talk about stuff like sex…we were just told not to do it. I make it a point to talk to my kids about anything no matter how uncomfortable the topic is.

    My advice for parents is to keep talking to their kids. Communication is important and they do open up and share after a while.

    Great post Harleena! Hope you’re having a great week my friend!

    • Avatar of Harleena Singh

      Harleena Singh

      November 27, 2013 at 6:14 pm

      Hi Corina,

      Ah…that’s SO sweet of you to have stopped by to read this one, and I know it does relate a lot to what you write about on your new blog :)

      That’s absolutely alright at the end of the day, if you compare him to what he was earlier I think. Yes, your support is what he’d need right through, and I think learning from his mistakes will only make him wiser and stronger as a person.

      You’re certainly not the only one to feel that way, Corina. Life surely has its own ways of coming up with things, and even if we read about it or hear other parents’ experiences, there are no guarantees that our kids will turn out to be like we imagined. I guess we too were like that, though certainly much better in many ways than our kids :)

      I completely agree with you there. I think in our times, our parents were a lot conservative in many ways, and topics of sex were a taboo for sure. At least we are open about such things with our kids – we have to be in times like these! Yes indeed, having open communication with your kids IS essential, and you need to be their friend when need be, and a parent too when required – a perfect blend of both :)

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with us. Have a nice week as well :)

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