Being the parent of a teen with emotional or behavioral problems adds new challenges to the already difficult task of raising a child through the adolescent years
Modern society makes it difficult for young people to make the transition from childhood to adulthood. Rites of passage that once helped teens understand the growing responsibilities that come with age no longer play a major part in our fast-paced, chaotic society. Often children and teens get their messages from inappropriate sources, whether this be an individual peer group, the Internet, media or the larger peer culture. Teenagers who are troubled are often confused and frightened. The anger, defiance, and rebelliousness reflect their confusion and fear. The first step in saving a child from a self-destructive path of academic failure, dangerous drug and alcohol experimentation, unhealthy sexual activity and even brushes with police is to realize you teen needs professional help.
How do you know when your adolescent’s behavior may be due to an emotional need?
All adolescents have fundamental emotional needs for protection, safety, consistency, security, and trusting relationships.
When these needs are not met, adolescents often miss out on critical components of their emotional development. And until the need is met within the context of a caring, nurturing relationship, the adolescent will make attempts to meet the need on their own.
Adolescents are driven to have their emotional needs met.
When adults can’t meet these needs, adolescents’s “solutions” are often displayed as troubling or extreme behaviors.
These behaviors do not often result in the adolescent getting their needs met, yet they will continue until the need is understood and met. A teen’s behavior may be due to an emotional need if all of the following are present:
- The behavior is inappropriate for a teen’s age. When adolescents are expressing behaviors that are significantly inappropriate for their age, it may be important to pay attention.
- The behavior has a “driven” quality to it. It may feel as though the adolescent has to do it or cannot stop themselves. In addition, there may be intensity to the behavior that is noticeable.
- The adolescent has a limited way of responding to their world. You may notice that the behavior is displayed everywhere, regardless of the situation or environment.
- The behavior continues to happen, even when channeled or stopped.
- Your usual ways of handling similar behaviors do not seem to help.
A teen who is expressing behaviors due to an emotional need is communicating that they need your help.
This adolescent is letting you know that, until their needs are met in a different way, they are going to continue to engage in the behavior because it is all they know how to do.
Call Horizon Family Solutions at 303-448-8803 and seek support and assistance when needed for your child, your family, and yourself.
Reaching out to trusted professionals can offer a source of support and provide much needed help.
It can help your family to feel less alone during a challenging time.