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Coping With Difficult Teens

 Who Is The Difficult (And “Tough”) Kid? 

An adolescent is labeled “difficult” when his/her behavior includes ( but not limited to) hostility (or rage), threats of (or actual) violence, theft, drug dealing, destruction of property, vandalism, chronic “lying”, fire setting, truancy, threats of suicide, or running away from home. Needless to say, engaging in these kinds of behaviors impairs the teen’s ability to “function” at school, at home and in society in general. Most teachers parents (and teachers) consider these kind of teenagers as being “out of control” (at risk) and unmanageable. Often, their behaviors are so extreme that even professional counselors have a great deal of difficulty coming up with “effective strategies” to stop them. As a result, most parents “give up” and let these types of difficult adolescents have the “consequences” of their behavior which usually end in expulsion from school, petty crimes, incarceration…or worst.

How Did They Get That Way?

The most fundamental emotional wrecking tool by parents that causes so much anger and rage in adolescence youth is the mis-managed anger and over-criticism by their OWN parents!

The Angry Parent(s)

The aim of the “angry” and over-critical parent is to resort to all kinds of ways and means to punish and “humiliate” their kids to live up to their unrealistic expectations and standards. The apparent aim of this kind of misguided and angry style of parenting is to build their children up by tearing them down! The end result of course is just that, a torn down, broken hearted and bitter (angry) kid who soon starts to feel that he or she just can’t do anything right! Whenever he or she falls short of perfection, they are made to feel they are a total screw up. And, they now begin to feel that, since he or she has failed to live up to their angry parent’s impossibly high standards and unrealistic expectations, he doesn’t therefore deserve their love and respect. Needless to say, kids resent (and are angry about) being “put down” and insulted all the time ESPECIALLY by their OWN parents! They rebel against it, and parents then wonder “what’s gotten into him?”Since he has been made to feel he’s a “loser” by HIS OWN PARENT(S), he will now dramatize (act out) this conviction for the rest of his life. He enters into negative, destructive activities with other “losers” (gangs) and now will “succeed” at doing things that don’t need to be done, like shooting or smoking dope, stealing cars, being sexually promiscuous, failing in school and so on.

And in the end, his “good-intentioned” and well meaning parent(s) will simply say to them, “We just can’t understand it! And after all we have done for this rotten kid…” It is time to let our young people know that adults (parents, teachers,) have problems too, that they are trying very hard to “over-compensate” for their own deficiencies because they want to look good in the eyes of others. Holding unrealistic goals and standards for our children makes positive cooperation between the adults and kids impossible and turns the “generation gap” into a war zone with millions of casualties on both sides.

What Parents Can Do

There are some very effective ways of dealing with the angry, over-critical parenting “style” which will be the focus of this workshop for parents of
a difficult and “at risk” teenager.

Sponsored by: The Heart Organization

Facilitated by: Dr. Leonard Ingram, PhD