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Destructive Teen Behavior: A Guide to Help Parents Cope

At Sundance Canyon Academy, we have helped many teens learn to overcome violent tendencies. We regularly work with families whose teens display outwardly violent behavior as well as self-harming behavior. If you are worried that your teen’s violence is getting out of hand, contact us for more information about our boarding school for troubled boys. Our therapists are qualified to work with teen boys to help them change their destructive behavior for the better.

When teens become violent, life at home can be scary. It feels like you have to walk on eggshells lest you risk setting off an incident. Then you would have to deal with your teen’s destructive behavior. Maybe they shout or become verbally abusive. Perhaps they become physically violent and break things or punch holes in the wall. Maybe they shut down and engage in self-harming behavior. Homelife doesn’t feel safe when you have a destructive teen in the house.

As they grow up, it becomes more and more important for kids to learn how to manage their emotions. When kids are little, they don’t understand what to do with their feelings. When they feel angry or upset that life isn’t going their way, they act out to feel better. They might throw a tantrum, scream, hit, or throw themselves to the ground. However, we try to teach little kids that this behavior is not acceptable. They need to learn that everything won’t always happen the way they want.

Kids need to learn how to cope with disappointment as they grow up. If your teenager did not learn how to cope with disappointment and anger when they were little, they need to learn it now. Their behavior won’t magically get better on its own. Learning how to manage emotions and stop being destructive takes time. However, it’s time well spent.

Coping with your teen’s destructive behavior

Helping your teen learn to manage their emotions can be very difficult. Even if they are trying their best to change their behavior, they will likely slip back into old patterns from time to time. Going through this process with your child will be challenging, so it’s best to have some strategies in place.

As the parent of a destructive teen, it’s important to develop coping skills to manage your own emotions. When they continue to engage in behavior that hurts themselves or others, you may feel discouraged, angry, or hopeless. Here are some tips to help you manage your own emotions while helping your teen learn to manage theirs.

  1. Don’t make excuses for your teen’s behavior. It can be tempting to look for people or things to blame for your child’s behavior. It’s hard to accept that their behavior is their own. However, it will be helpful for both you and your child to accept that they get to choose their behavior.

  2. Find positive outlets. Look for positive activities in your life that help you blow off steam and feel more peaceful. Your home might not be a peaceful place while your teen is there. So, you may need something outside of the home. Some parents find peace in activities like exercising, painting, listening to music, reading, or getting together with friends. You need to have an outlet to vent some frustration.

  3. Don’t explode on your kid. When your teen continues to do destructive things over and over again, you probably feel angry. Try to vent that anger in appropriate ways so that you don’t explode on your kid. Though you do need to address their behavior, addressing it in anger won’t help the situation. It will only make the situation worse.

  4. Look for outside help. Having a teen with destructive habits can be overwhelming. Trying to help them change those habits on your own is often unmanageable. You don’t need to solve this problem on your own! Look for outside help. Find out if your child’s school has resources like guidance counselors who can help. Your child might also benefit from talking to a professional therapist.

If your teen’s destructive behavior is becoming problematic, they could benefit from attending a therapeutic boarding school. The change in environment can positively impact them and give your family a break from the constant stress. While in school, students receive one-on-one counseling and life skills training. Students learn how to cope with their emotions and address their issues in positive ways.

Contact us today for more information about our school.

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