It has never been more critical for parents to teach teenagers the value of money and the skill of budgeting. Since the habits, they learn at home are likely to continue into later life, teaching teenagers how to budget is one of the best ways to ensure they turn into financially responsible adults.
1. Encourage them to Track Incomings and Outgoings
Whether your teen is receiving money from an allowance or wages from a job, they must understand where their money goes. Sitting down with a teenager and creating a tailored budget is one of the best ways to help them stay on top of their finances.
This can be done by taking the total amount of their monthly income then noting down what they usually spend their money on. Once these two figures have been appropriately aligned, the next step is to decide a set amount to be saved each month. Having this written down, or noted in a budgeting app such as mint should help a teenager to visualize their spending habits in context. As Bank of America describes, this should help a teen learn that their spending should not exceed their income and if it does, their parents should sit down with them to decide the areas to cut back spending.
2. Teach them about Loans and Credit Cards
Teaching a teenager, the ins and outs of loans and credit cards will ensure they continue to make informed financial decisions as adults. While it is more likely a teen will be considering a student loan rather than, for example, a Cash Lady payday loan, it is essential they know the principles of interest and repayment plans.
3. Show them the Value of Money
For the majority of modern teenagers, social media is likely to take up a good chunk of their day. For the most part, this is only a problem if they have an addiction, but a new phenomenon is arising due to the presence of influencers. As a social medium act as a form of a social group, if the influencers that your child follows live a much more exuberant life, it can alter their perception of the value of money. It’s important to let them know the value of money by teaching them about general running costs and putting brand prices in perspective with the amount of money that one actually needs to spend on living.
4. Emphasize the Importance of Saving
As stated in point 1, a teenager’s budget should be split into two sections, save and spend. It is recommended to aim for about 60/70% spending, and the rest should be saved. Encouraging a teenager to put this into a bank account brings two distinctive benefits. Firstly, it ensures that once the month it is up, they can’t easily access the money if a whim to spend comes their way. Secondly, the money will grow with interest.
For parents whose teenagers struggle to save, try incentivizing them with a specific goal such as a car, since picturing the goal makes dedication much easier.
5. Be Their Role Model
Lastly, it is always worth remembering that the way parents act impacts what their children perceive to be appropriate behavior, so show them the correct way to budget as well as teaching them how to do it on paper.
No doubt, many parents are experiencing new challenges with their anxious teenagers during these uncertain times.
Quarantine life could be a time of relaxation for some, but for some parents of teens, it’s anything but relaxing.
Whether your teen is stressed out from not being able to mingle with their friends, or spending way too much time online (especially since they had to finish school virtually) — maybe your teen is feeling isolated or lonely, are they sinking into a depression? Are they self-medicating? Becoming defiant, angry, raging or even explosive? Are they stealing your credit card — ordering things offline without your permission?
You’ve exhausted your local therapy, in many cases, your teen has been able to manipulate their way around their therapist. Maybe you’ve tried out-patient — even a short stay in a local hospital.
Is residential therapy for you?
When a parent calls P.U.R.E. they are usually surfing the internet and confused by all the fancy websites, terminology they are now learning about (RTC, TBS, Wilderness, transport services and more) and wondering — is this really want my child needs?
The fact is, in many situations you have a good kid that is now making some bad choices and you never in a million years thought you would be facing this day.
None of us did. Yet here we are.
That’s the best part – you’re not alone.
There are many residential therapy schools and programs in our country, probably because there are many families in need of help today. Although there are many good programs and schools – there are also many that you need to be skeptical of – as well as many sales people you need to concerned about that may not have your child’s best interest at heart.
When will you know it’s time for residential therapy?
Have you exhausted all your local resources? From using local therapy to extending into outpatient teens can be easily shut-down. Although we know that many times it’s difficult to get a teen to open up to therapist – or even attend a session, parents need to know they at least tried. When in residential therapy, the entire program evolves around their emotional wellness, 24/7. Being removed from their negativity – helps tremendously.
Living with a relative. Some families have attempted to move the troubled teen to a relative. Again, sometimes this works – and others it can be a band-aid, however it can help you make that decision that you have exhausted your local resources before you decide to choose residential.
Is your teen a danger to themselves or other people (you)? Has your child become violent towards you or themselves? This is when you know it’s time to start researching for residential therapy. It’s not working at home.
Do you feel like you are hostage in your home by their behavior? Do you feel like you are walking on egg shells? Being careful about what you say or how you act for fear they may become explosive? Again, this is a red flag it may be time for residential therapy.
Keep in mind, there are different types of residential therapy. P.U.R.E. can help educate you on what may best fit your child’s individual needs without placing them out of their element.
During COVID19, most programs are taking precautions to keep your child safe. They will likely have your teen placed in a 2-week quarantine home prior entering a program.
Residential therapy is a major emotional and financial decision. Contact us today for more information.
What’s My Teenager Thinking: Practical Child Psychology for Modern Parents
How to avoid conflict with your teen
As the teenage brain rewires, hormones surge, and independence beckons, a perfect storm for family conflict emerges. Parenting justgot tougher. But help is at hand.
This uniquely practical parenting book for raising teenagers in today’s world explores the science at work during this period of development, translates teenage behavior, and shows you how you can best respond as a parent – in the moment and the long term.
Taking over 100 everyday scenarios, the book tackles real-world situations head-on – from what to do when your teenager slams their bedroom door in your face to how to handle worries about online safety, peer group pressure, school work, and sex.
Discover how to create a supportive environment and communicate with confidence – to help your teenager manage whatever life brings.
Here’s an example of what you might be going through with your teen:
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1. I’ll clean my room later
Your teen’s room looks as if it’s been hit by a bomb.
What your teen is thinking…
When he was younger, your teenager’s room was a place to sleep and keep his things. Now he’s an adolescent, he sees it as an expression of who he is, as well as a sanctuary to escape to. Having his things around him makes him safe. Tidying up may also involve a level of planning and self-discipline he hasn’t yet developed.
What you’re thinking…You may feel he’s not respecting your home or the things you’ve bought him, and he’s not developing the organizational skills he needs to look after himself.
How to respond... View your teen’s untidiness as part of his transition to adulthood. The outward mess represents some of the reorganization going on inside his brain. Furthermore, when faced with a big job, your teen may not know where to begin.
Limit instructions to one or two at time, like putting rubbish in a bin bag, followed by putting dirty laundry in the basket. Suggest he blitzes his room for five minutes because once he’s started, he’s likely to keep going.
Talk about how it’s in his own interests, as he’ll be able to find things more easily and clothes look better if they’re hung up, so he’ll want to do it for his own reasons. Keep faith that he’ll eventually work out that a neater room is a more pleasant place to be.
Conduct disorder is a serious behavioral and emotional disorder that can occur in children and teens.
A child with this disorder may display a pattern of disruptive and violent behavior and have problems following rules.
It is not uncommon for children and teens to have behavior-related problems at some time during their development. However, the behavior is considered to be a conduct disorder when it is long-lasting and when it violates the rights of others, goes against accepted norms of behavior and disrupts the child’s or family’s everyday life.
What Are the Symptoms of Conduct Disorder?
Symptoms of conduct disorder vary depending on the age of the child and whether the disorder is mild, moderate, or severe. In general, symptoms of conduct disorder fall into four general categories:
Aggressive behavior: These are behaviors that threaten or cause physical harm and may include fighting, bullying, being cruel to others or animals, using weapons, and forcing another into sexual activity.
Destructive behavior: This involves intentional destruction of property such as arson (deliberate fire-setting) and vandalism (harming another person’s property).
Deceitful behavior: This may include repeated lying, shoplifting, or breaking into homes or cars in order to steal.
Violation of rules: This involves going against accepted rules of society or engaging in behavior that is not appropriate for the person’s age. These behaviors may include running away, skipping school, playing pranks, or being sexually active at a very young age.
In addition, many children with conduct disorder are irritable, have low self-esteem, and tend to throw frequent temper tantrums. Some may abuse drugs and alcohol. Children with conduct disorder often are unable to appreciate how their behavior can hurt others and generally have little guilt or remorse about hurting others.
What Causes Conduct Disorder?
The exact cause of conduct disorder is not known, but it is believed that a combination of biological, genetic, environmental, psychological, and social factors play a role.
Biological: Some studies suggest that defects or injuries to certain areas of the brain can lead to behavior disorders. Conduct disorder has been linked to particular brain regions involved in regulating behavior, impulse control, and emotion. Conduct disorder symptoms may occur if nerve cell circuits along these brain regions do not work properly. Further, many children and teens with conduct disorder also have other mental illnesses, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disorders, depression, substance abuse, or an anxiety disorder, which may contribute to the symptoms of conduct disorder.
Genetics: Many children and teens with conduct disorder have close family members with mental illnesses, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders and personality disorders. This suggests that a vulnerability to conduct disorder may be at least partially inherited.
Environmental: Factors such as a dysfunctional family life, childhood abuse, traumatic experiences, a family history of substance abuse, and inconsistent discipline by parents may contribute to the development of conduct disorder.
Psychological: Some experts believe that conduct disorders can reflect problems with moral awareness (notably, lack of guilt and remorse) and deficits in cognitive processing.
Social: Low socioeconomic status and not being accepted by their peers appear to be risk factors for the development of conduct disorder.
How Common Is Conduct Disorder?
It is estimated that 2%-16% of children in the U.S. have conduct disorder. It is more common in boys than in girls and most often occurs in late childhood or the early teen years.
How Is Conduct Disorder Diagnosed?
As with adults, mental illnesses in children are diagnosed based on signs and symptoms that suggest a particular problem. If symptoms of conduct disorder are present, the doctor may begin an evaluation by performing complete medical and psychiatric histories. A physical exam and laboratory tests (for example, neuroimaging studies, blood tests) may be appropriate if there is concern that a physical illness might be causing the symptoms. The doctor will also look for signs of other disorders that often occur along with conduct disorder, such as ADHD and depression.
If the doctor cannot find a physical cause for the symptoms, he or she will likely refer the child to a child and adolescent psychiatrist or psychologist, mental health professionals who are specially trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses in children and teens. Psychiatrists and psychologists use specially designed interview and assessment tools to evaluate a child for a mental disorder.
The doctor bases his or her diagnosis on reports of the child’s symptoms and his or her observation of the child’s attitudes and behavior. The doctor will often rely on reports from the child’s parents, teachers, and other adults because children may withhold information or otherwise have trouble explaining their problems or understanding their symptoms.
How Is Conduct Disorder Treated?
Treatment for conduct disorder is based on many factors, including the child’s age, the severity of symptoms, as well as the child’s ability to participate in and tolerate specific therapies. Treatment usually consists of a combination of the following:
Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy (a type of counseling) is aimed at helping the child learn to express and control anger in more appropriate ways. A type of therapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy aims to reshape the child’s thinking (cognition) to improve problem solving skills, anger management, moral reasoning skills, and impulse control. Family therapy may be used to help improve family interactions and communication among family members. A specialized therapy technique called parent management training (PMT) teaches parents ways to positively alter their child’s behavior in the home.
Medication: Although there is no medication formally approved to treat conduct disorder, various drugs may be used to treat some of its distressing symptoms, as well as any other mental illnesses that may be present, such as ADHD or major depression.
What Is the Outlook for Children With Conduct Disorder?
If your child is displaying symptoms of conduct disorder, it is very important that you seek help from a qualified doctor. A child or teen with conduct disorder is at risk for developing other mental disorders as an adult if left untreated. These include antisocial and other personality disorders, mood or anxiety disorders, and substance use disorders.
Children with conduct disorder are also at risk for school-related problems, such as failing or dropping out, substance abuse, legal problems, injuries to self or others due to violent behavior, sexually transmitted diseases, and suicide. Treatment outcomes can vary greatly, but early intervention may help to reduce the risk for incarcerations, mood disorders, and the development of other comorbidities such as substance abuse.
Can Conduct Disorder Be Prevented?
Although it may not be possible to prevent conduct disorder, recognizing and acting on symptoms when they appear can minimize distress to the child and family, and prevent many of the problems associated with the condition. In addition, providing a nurturing, supportive, and consistent home environment with a balance of love and discipline may help reduce symptoms and prevent episodes of disturbing behavior.
A healthy sleep cycle is essential for everyone, especially for teenagers because of their hectic routines and social life. Most sleep specialists generally recommend 9 to 9.5 hours of sleep for teenagers. But a lot of studies show that teenagers are not getting their required sleep hours.
According to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll, 43% of parents complain that their children are sleep deprived. Many of these parents think it’s mainly due to electronics. Children nowadays are glued to their phones all day and night and are completely oblivious to the outside world. Such an attitude is causing major sleep deprivation.
Constant sleep deprivation is having a huge impact on the lives of teenagers in terms of health risk and academics. If you’re a parent with a sleep deprived teen, here are some tips you can follow to help your child sleep better:
1. Make their bed comfortable
The best way to help your sleep deprived teen sleep better is by giving them the right bedding to sleep on. People sleep better when they have a cozy mattress to sleep on and a comfortable pillow underneath their head.
When people sleep on a comfortable bed, their quality of sleep instantly increases. Everyone has a different choice of pillows they could use. Some prefer flat pancake pillows, others might prefer super puffy clouds for a peaceful slumber. If you haven’t been able to find the right pillow for your teen yet, you can take this quiz by Pillow Insider which gives you suggestions based on your preferred sleeping position and firmness level.
Changing the bedding is a much easier way to help your teen sleep better instead of constantly bickering over their phone that they might never get rid of.
2. Make sure their bedroom is a quiet place
As parents you would do every little thing that you can to make your teen get a healthy sleep. So another tip that we have for you is to ensure that your teen’s bedroom is a quiet place with no disruptions.
Before you put your child to sleep you need to make sure that their computers, laptops or iPads are off and there are absolutely no gadgets in their hands. Listening to music before sleeping also doesn’t help at all so remember to take away their headphones before they sleep.
Your child’s bedroom should be the single most quiet and comfortable spot in the house. Teens can sleep better if there is no noise distracting them again and again and no light leaking from the window.
3. Help your child become stress-free before going to bed
One of the leading causes behind sleep deprivation is the restlessness due to stress and anxiety. It’s not just about teenagers, nobody can sleep peacefully if they aren’t feeling light headed.
Today’s teenagers go through a lot of stress, anxiety and depression and most of it is contributed by their high schools. Before your child goes to bed, talk to them and see if they’re okay. You can make all the effort by giving them a comfortable bedding and making their bedroom quiet and peaceful but they can’t sleep if their mind is distracted.
You can ask your child to meditate, do yoga, or talk it out with you to release the stress. Going to bed with stress and anxiety will decrease their quality of sleep and as parents you need to make their worries go away so they can sleep peacefully.
4. Give them snacks that would help in sleeping better
According to many nutritionists and dieticians, having high carb snacks before bedtime does the trick. Eating high carb snacks makes you feel warm and sleepy. If your child is having trouble sleeping, you can try these snacks and put them on their bedside.
Also while giving them such snacks make sure that your child doesn’t consume any caffeinated drink before bedtime. Caffeine gives instant energy that will deprive your child of sleepiness and keep him awake all night. Caffeine could be easily available in your child’s favourite bedtime snack or drink.
Make sure that your child monitors his/her caffeine intake. If they want a drink before bedtime, suggest them to drink herbal tea or chamomile tea. These drinks are healthy as well as beneficial for a peaceful sleep.
5. Discourage daytime naps
Many teenagers have the habit of sleeping in the afternoon after they get back from school or college feeling exhausted. As much as it’s important for them to take a quick power nap, it could also disrupt their night’s sleep.
It is highly advised that if your child is having trouble sleeping at night, make sure they don’t take any afternoon naps because if they go to bed tired at night then chances are that they will fall asleep instantly. Give them some energy drink in the afternoon to keep them awake so they can sleep peacefully at night.
6. Make sure that your child doesn’t procrastinate on school tasks
Apart from getting glued to phones at night, another reason causing your teen’s sleep deprivation could be school tasks. When your child gets back from school, make sure that he/she completes their homework and projects that are due.
It’s only natural that they might want to catch up on some tv or play on their phones but it’s imperative that they complete their work on time so they don’t have to stay up all night. This will also prevent them from having an afternoon nap and they can easily fall asleep at night without any deadlines looming over their head.
7. Consult a sleep specialist
Even if after trying everything your child is sleep deprived and is facing health problems due to it, it might be beneficial to consult a sleep specialist or a health provider. Your child might be going through something that he/she has trouble opening up about so a consultant could be the best option here.
You can follow these tips to help your child sleep peacefully. These are some of the most effective remedies that will work like a charm. And as concerned parents, you should do anything to help your sleep deprived teen sleep better.
Do you think your teen is struggling with depression, sadness? Have you exhausted your local resources? Contact Us to learn more about if residential therapy might be able to help you.
How Do I Recognize If My Teenager Is Using Drugs Or Alcohol?
This is a difficult question that many parents have to face on a daily basis.
By Shawnda P. Burns, LMHC, CAP
Parents who spend a great deal of time with their teenagers are often tuned into what is normal behavior and what is not. However, even parents who are actively involved in the daily activities of their teenagers may overlook – or subconsciously deny – the earliest signs of a substance abuse problem.
Some of the clues that your teenager may exhibit when using drugs or alcohol are fairly subtle, but others are rather obvious:
*Many hours spent alone, especially in their room; persistent isolation from the rest of the family. This is particular suspicious in a youngster who had not been a loner until now.
*Resistance to taking with or confiding in parents, secretiveness, especially in a teenager who had previously been open. Be sure that your teenager is not being secretive because every time he tries to confide in you, you jump on him or break his confidence.
*There is marked change for the worse in performance and attendance at school and/or job or other responsibilities as well as in dress, hygiene, grooming, frequent memory lapses, lack of concentration, and unusual sleepiness.
*A change of friends; from acceptable to unacceptable.
*Pronounced mood swings with irritability, hostile outbursts, and rebelliousness. Your teenager may seem untrustworthy, insincere or even paranoid.
*Lying, usually in order to cover up drinking or drug using behavior as well as sources of money and possessions; stealing, shoplifting, or encounters with the police.
*Abandonment of wholesome activities such as sports, social service and other groups, religious services, teen programs, hobbies, and even involvement in family life.
*Unusual physical symptoms such as dilated or pinpoint pupils, bloodshot eyes, frequent nosebleeds, changes in appetite, digestive problems, excessive yawning, and the shakes.
These are just a few of the warning signs that can be recognized. Be careful not to jump to the conclusion that your teenager may be using when you see such behavior.
Evaluate the situation. Talk to your teenager. Try to spend time with her so that she feels that she can trust you. By creating a home that is nurturing, she will understand that despite of unhealthy choices that she will always get the love and moral support that she deserves.
Building a strong relationship with your teenager now will mean that in time of crises your love, support, wisdom, and experience won’t be shut out of your teenager’s decision making.
If you have a suspicion that your teenager is involved in the use of drugs or alcohol, don’t hesitate to bring the subject up. The sooner the problem is identified and treated, the better the chances that your teenager’s future will be safeguarded. Raising the subject will be easier if you already have good communication in the family.
Discuss the ways in which you can seek help together. An evaluation by a substance abuse professional may be the key to understanding what is really going on with your teenager.
If you have exhausted your local resources, such as therapists, out-patient and possible short-term in-patient, and still find that your teenager is struggling with behavior issues, it might be time to consider residential therapy. Contact us for more information.
The Self-Love Workbook for Teens: A Transformative Guide to Boost Self-Esteem, Build a Healthy Mindset, and Embrace Your True Self
By Shainna Ali PhD.
Discover how to change your attitude, build confidence in who you are, and genuinely love yourself through the guided activities and real-world advice in this easy-to-use, friendly workbook for teens and young adults.
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As a teen, life can be stressful, whether from worrying about looks, performance in school, relationships with friends and family, or societal pressures. It is easy for you to lose focus and feel like you’re not good enough.
The Self-Love Workbook for Teens gives you the tools to conquer self-doubt and develop a healthy mindset. It includes fun, creative, and research-backed exercises, lessons, and tips, including:
Self-love is a journey, but it is the first step on the path to a happier, more fulfilling life.
In her Psychology Today-hosted blog, A Modern Mentality, she promotes mental health awareness in an effort to improve mental wellness across the globe. Dr. Ali is also an active blog contributor for the American Counseling Association and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. As a mental health advocate Dr. Ali has been featured in outlets such as ABC, NBC, Yahoo, Bustle, NPR, The Washington Post, and The Insider.
Teen Rebellion: Oppositional Defiance Disorder or Spoiled Brat?
“It would be like saying your husband is ‘rebelling’ when he disagrees with you,” says Laurence Steinberg,Ph.D., a Temple University psychologist and author of more than a dozen books on adolescence, most recently the Age of Opportunity. “Parents become accustomed to little kids not questioning them, so when their kids get to an age where it’s natural for them to question, they see it as defiance.”
None of this is to say that dealing with a teenager who is constantly being contrarian is easy. Having someone in your house who rolls his eyes at your every utterance, slams her bedroom door when you tell her to clean her room, or stomps off when you set bedtimes or curfews can be extremely stressful.
But the distinction between actual rebellion and what most adolescents do—which is to push back in a normal, healthy way—is crucial.
3 Ways Parents can Make the Teen Years a Little Smoother:
1. Compromise where it makes sense.
It is important to understand that the major battles between teens and their parents are usually about control.
A typical example is when your kid has a messy bedroom. Mom and dad can’t get past the dust and dirt, piles of clothing, and grimy dishes. All they want is for things to be cleaned up—and now. Meanwhile, the kid says, “It’s my room. If you don’t like it, I’ll close the door.”
The key to solving this kind of argument is not to give your teen an ultimatum. “Clean your room or you can’t go out this weekend.” Instead, Steinberg suggests that parents find a way to reach a reasonable compromise. Acknowledge your teen’s point of view while asserting your parental right to have a clean home.
“Brainstorm with your kid to figure out a way you can both be happy,” Steinberg says.
In my own house, we’ve reached just such a compromise. My 17-year-old is required to pick up the mess in his room once a week so it can be cleaned. The rest of the week, I let him have his space. (I just try not to look.)
One way to find a middle ground is to test things on a pilot basis. Says Darling: “If there is an area where they want more freedom and you are uncomfortable, you can say, ‘Let’s try it—if it works out, great. If not, we’ll step back.’”
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
On big issues—abiding by curfew, attending school, never drinking and driving—parents have an obligation to be firm. And research shows that most teens are more than comfortable with that.
“In our studies we find that kids actually complain that parents don’t set rules—not that they do,” Darling says. “They may not like the rules, they may not agree with you, but they believe in your right to set them and they want those boundaries. It lets them know that you care, and it gives them something to rub up against.”
At the same time, parents shouldn’t be rigid on things that don’t matter as much, if at all.
“These are areas where you could make a case that the kid should have a say,” Darling explains. “Like what music they listen to, who their friends are, who they date, what they wear, and what they do in their free time.”
Steinberg agrees. “On most of the big issues, teens and parents usually see eye to eye,” he says. “It’s the little things that they get hung up on.”
3. Communicate early and often.
One way to lower the temperature in your house is to keep the lines of communication open. This is important no matter what age your child is. And if you are not in the habit of talking with your kids, it’s never too late to start.
That said, the earlier the better.
“Don’t wait until they are 13 or in trouble,” says Amy Bobrow Gross, Ph.D., a New York psychologist whose private practice focuses on children and teens. “You want them to feel comfortable talking to you well before they become teenagers.”
This isn’t always easy—especially if you have a tendency to argue. That’s why it’s best to walk away in the heat of the moment, Gross says. Then come back when everyone is calmer so you can have a more productive dialogue.
How To Talk To A Rebellious Teenager
If you want to talk to your teen about a particularly touchy topic, Gross advises, try sitting down with him and watching a TV show or a video that hits on the subject. That way, the conversation will feel less personal; the lens will remain on the larger issue, not on your child per se.
Another tip: sometimes the best time to chat is in the car, on a hike, or before bed when the lights are out—all occasions when you’re not looking your kid right in the eye. “Avoiding eye contact can take some of the pressure off,” Gross notes.
Finally, don’t lose sight of the fact that communicating with your teen is a two-way street. Keep your ears—and your mind—open. “A healthy argument is a good time for you to really listen and consider what your kid is saying,” Darling counsels. “It may be a good time to reconsider some of your rules.”
Of course, there are still situations in which teenagers act out in ways that are not normal or healthy. As a parent, you must be alert to the red flags.
Experts agree, for instance, that if your child is arguing with you about absolutely everything—“You can’t force me to go to school,” “You have no right to tell me not to drink”—it’s a cause for concern.
“In families where teenagers are being oppositional just for the sake of being oppositional, there is usually something wrong,” Steinberg says. “There are usually deeper problems in the family’s relationships.”
The same is true if your adolescent is lying to you, abusing drugs, or withdrawing completely. “If they are having unsafe sex, if they are drinking too much, if they are in trouble, you need to step in and get them to stop,” Darling says. “That is your job as a parent.”
But remember, this kind of behavior is more often the exception. In most families, a certain amount of pushback from your teenager is to be expected—even embraced. “They are just becoming more independent and autonomous,” Darling says. “They are doing what they are supposed to do.”
The myths of teen boot camps and scared straight programs.
Years ago parents would threaten to send their children, especially defiant and belligerent teens to military school or boot camp. Then some sheriff’s departments developed Scared Straight programs through through their jails.
Inmates would speak to the youth about their experiences, both inside and on the outside, hopefully giving them enough of a jolt to realize they don’t want to be in their shoes.
If you are interested in scared straight programs, sometimes they can be effective with certain teenagers. Check with your local sheriff’s department to see if they offer them.
Going back to military schools, parents are making false threats since they will be quick to learn that these type of boarding schools are typically a privilege and honor to attend.
Your child will need a good GPA to be accepted as well as be willing to attend. Not to mention, if they are struggling with any type of experimentation of substance use, military campuses are not immune to students bringing in drugs or alcohol. They will be reprimanded, and like a traditional school – will be expelled within their school policy. However, you will forfeit your tuition with that too. Keep in mind, military school tuition usually starts at about $25,000 a school year and up.
Boot camps are what parents think about initially. They are very difficult to locate at this point. With a lot of negative press as well as results, most have been closed and no longer in operation.
If you break it down, boot camps were usually a weekend where teens were literally placed in a military-style environment with rigorous physical exercise in an effort to break your child down. It is an in-your-face type of discipline that isn’t resolving any of their emotional issues that is causing their negative behavior at home or school.
Many of these teens are already broken – emotionally. They are usually depressed and struggle with low self-esteem, placing them in an environment that only degrades them will likely build more anger and resentment – especially towards the people that put them there – the parents.
We challenge parents to switch places. If you are going through a rough time in your life, whether it be a divorce or a friend that is not treating you well, how would you feel if no one was speaking with you and you had people screaming at you constantly and degrading you as you are struggling just to get by?
Teens & art therapy.
Residential therapy, which includes emotional growth programs helps your teen work through their issues. Having conversations with counselors, peers and also participating in activities that can help build their confidence to make better choices is what can help start the recovery process.
Residential treatment centers is about building your child back up again, not breaking them down.
Before you think your child needs a good punishment, think about what it will really achieve? Being a teenager today is not easy. Being a parent is even more of a struggle – we all have to do our best to make it work and give our kids the best future.
Do you have questions or want to learn more about quality residential therapy? Contact us today.
Your teen has been acting differently lately; you are worried but can’t figure out what’s going on. There are several warning signs of drug use in teens to look for if you truly are worried that your child might be using drugs or alcohol.
Remember that one sign does not absolutely confirm use, but it’s important to remain on the lookout for teenage drug and alcohol use.
Warning Signs of Drug Use In Teens
1. Changes in appearance and behavior
There may be subtle or stark changes in your teen’s appearance and behavior as a result of using drugs and alcohol. It may be easier to notice when they are under the influence. There would be several changes in appearance and behavior, such as:
bloodshot eyes (may use eye drops to try and mask this)
larger or smaller pupils
smell of drugs or alcohol on breath or clothing (may use air freshener or incense to cover odors).
However, it is sometimes harder to notice the other signs your teen is on drugs or alcohol, which persist even when they are not under the influence. These include:
changes in appetite
changes in sleep patterns
sudden weight loss or gain
smell of drugs or alcohol on clothing or other belongings
finding drug or alcohol related items is another red flag (rolling papers, pipes, small plastic baggies or vials, short straws, bottle caps, or remnants of drugs)
2. Changes in relationships and responsibilities
Any drastic change in relationships or responsibilities may be a sign of teenage drug or alcohol use. Some examples of “drastic changes” would be:
spending time with an entirely new peer group
getting into trouble
disregarding rules (either at school, in the neighborhood, or any legal issues)
failing or skipping classes
secretive or suspicious behavior; for example, suddenly demanding more privacy or locks on bedroom door,
lying about their whereabouts
unexplained need for money
sneaking out of home or school.
a “code” for drugs and alcohol terminology, so that it can not be detected by parents during phone or text conversations.
disregard curfew, while many teens rebel against curfews, teenagers who are using drugs or alcohol may disregard curfew and create hard to believe or weak cover stories
choosing to stay home from family outings, holidays, or weekend trips to spend unsupervised time with friends
missing items from the house like money, expensive items, or prescriptions
3. Changes in mood and motivation
The psychological changes that result from drug or alcohol use may be less apparent than the above changes, but are still very important to watch for. Drug and alcohol use could result in otherwise unexplained changes in personality or outlook. For example, your teenager may have been relatively even tempered, but suddenly begins having angry outbursts, mood swings, or engaging in violent behavior. At the other end of the continuum, drug and alcohol use could result in sudden loss of interest in activities and hobbies and drastic decline in energy and motivation. For example, your teenager was an active athlete and thriving student, who suddenly becomes lethargic and looses motivation in both school and sports.
How You Can Help
1. Have a conversation.
Don’t wait until it has become a problem to have a conversation with your son or daughter about substance use. Ask about the level of drugs and alcohol that is being used at parties, free periods, before/after school. And if the answer is “yes, some kids I know do that stuff” or something along those lines, don’t freak out! Have a discussion (not a lecture) about drugs, alcohol, and the potential dangers. Try to make this discussion collaborative. Ask how they have handled it in the past and how they can continue to make responsible choices.
2. Monitor your teen’s activity.
This means every day (not just on the weekends). It is important to know where they are and who they are with. Some parents also choose to search the home for drugs and alcohol, other parents choose to lock up prescription pills and liquor that is in the home.
3. Establish appropriate rules and consequences for drugs and alcohol use.
Consult with your spouse or partner about what appropriate rules and consequences would be. Make sure that you both feel comfortable enforcing them. When you set a limit, it is crucially important that you send a consistent message from both parents. Follow through so that your teenager knows you mean business.
4. Get professional help if needed.
If your teenager continues to use drugs and alcohol, call a psychologist or social worker. It is important to reach out to a mental health clinician who specializes in substance use treatment.
5. Encourage your teenager!
Sports, reading, volunteer work, after school job, or other constructive hobbies will occupy their time outside of school. When teens are busy with fun and rewarding activities, they are less likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol.