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Troubled Teens:

Some parents in life are lucky – their kids go through childhood and adolescence without causing any major disruption or problems. However, for others, bringing up teenage kids can be a nightmare. Kids can turn almost overnight, going from sweet little angels into deeply troubled teenagers. If you recognize any of the following signs, the chances are you are trying to cope with a troubled teen:

  • Bad attitude towards you, siblings, teachers and others
  • Lack of respect for others or the property of others
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Dishonesty (continual lying, theft, etc.)
  • Vandalism (destruction of their own and others’ property)
  • Falling grades at school
  • Depression, Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

It can be very difficult for a parent that is trying to cope with troubled teens. However, it is important to remember that the teen needs help and support in order to get through the difficult times as well. It is very difficult to gauge the effect that troubled times can have on a teen – it may be a phase from which the teen will eventually emerge feeling wiser, smarter, and having learned valuable lessons in life. Alternatively, it could be the road to destruction, leading to a life of abuse, crime, hatred, and trouble. That’s why it is important for parents to seek appropriate assistance for troubled teens, to ensure that the problems can be resolved as quickly and painlessly as possible.

There are now many resources available for troubled teens and their parents, many of which have proven very effective. In the past parents have resorted to shouting and screaming at their troubled teens, grounding them, even disowning them, but in all truth making use of the available resources today can prove an effective tool to help troubled teens through difficult times and get them back on track. Below are some of the resources available:

Boarding schools are independent educational institutions where the students learn and are accommodated throughout the school term. Sometimes known as ‘intentional communities’ the staff at boarding schools strive to create the right environment for teenagers. Faculty members are also accommodated at the school, and so the teenagers have high levels of supervision. The environment is one that aims to educate and challenge the kids as well as provide them with social skills and fun.

Military School is a place that was used in the past to send troubled and stubborn teens. However, these days the teen will have to work hard in order to even get access to military school. However, if you can get your troubled teen into this environment he or she will be able to learn discipline through structured programming. You can also find alternatives to military school that are a little less stringent about the requirements for entry but still provide the same levels of discipline.

Wilderness programs are a short term resource that can provide a stepping stone to a longer term program such as boarding or military school. These programs give your troubled teen a chance to reflect upon their own behavior and attitude, learn independence, bond with others, and live life in a different environment for a while. These programs have proven to be very effective in the short term, enabling a troubled teen to cope better with a long term program or solution.

Boot camp is another alternative to military school, and is a good place for troubled and defiant teens to learn respect, discipline, and how to deal with authority. Stringent training and military style exercises can help to change the attitude of a troubled teen, but these boot camps have been identified as more of a short term solution that can be effective as a stepping stone to a longer term program such as boarding or military school.

The above are a selection of ideas that could be considered by the parents of troubled teens. However, parents should remember that teens can become troubled for a variety of reasons. It may even be the home environment that is causing his or her troublesome attitude or behavior, or it could simply be that your teen has become caught up in the wrong crowd. It is important to try and identify the problem before seeking a solution.

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