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Freedom & Responsibility: My Teen’s Behavior is Causing Chaos at Home. Why Does He Act Lik

At Sundance Canyon Academy, we receive inquiries from many parents looking for help getting their teen’s behavior under control. Unruly teenage behavior can cause distress for every member of the household. This article is the first in a series designed to give information and tips to correct your teen’s behavior.

The teen years can be tumultuous. As kids hit puberty and hormones start raging, their attitudes and behavior can change. The little kid who used to be so sweet and follow all the rules can suddenly become surly and obstinate. It seems like your kid has changed overnight and been replaced by someone who only cares about himself.

They might blatantly break the household rules, or they might try to be sneaky about it. As is often the case, though, teens aren’t as good at being sneaky as they think they are. When they get caught, they can get upset and throw the whole house into chaos.

If your teen’s behavior is causing chaos at home, it’s important to understand why he’s acting the way he does. Once you understand the reasoning behind it, you can implement some strategies to change his behavior. No matter the reason, you should never be afraid in your own home. If you are worried that your son’s behavior is more than you can handle at home, contact us for more information about our school for troubled boys.

Why do teens behave irresponsibly?

Teenage behavior can be irresponsible for several reasons. It’s important to note that these reasons don’t always stand alone. Most of the time, your teen’s behavior will be influenced by multiple reasons that can compound one another.


Hormones play a major role in adolescent development. As kids reach puberty, hormones start interacting with their body and causing new reactions. Their emotions start to feel more intense. Their body starts growing and developing in new, sometimes unpleasant, ways. They begin to fluctuate between acting more like an adult and still acting like a little kid.

Brain development

Adolescent body development is tricky. Though your kid might start to look like an adult outwardly, their brain doesn’t fully form until their early-to-mid twenties. The last part of the brain to completely form is the prefrontal cortex. Unfortunately, this is the part of the brain that controls decision-making, judgment, and inhibitions. So teenagers are biologically prone to making irresponsible decisions.

Peer pressure

During the teen and tween years, kids start to pull away from their families and hang out more with their friends. Teens care a lot about what their friends think of them, and they worry about being left out. Sometimes, this can cause teenagers to make decisions that they wouldn’t make on their own. They might feel like they have to act a certain way to fit in with the other kids.

Mental health issues

Teens who struggle with mental health issues like ADD, ADHD, or ODD can have trouble following through with their responsibilities. Likewise, teens who suffer from depression, anxiety, addiction, or countless other issues can be overwhelmed by their internal problems and ignore the problems they’re causing around them.

What can you do if your teen is causing chaos at home?

Teens don’t always realize how much their behavior can impact everyone around them. When they lash out or behave irresponsibly, it will affect everyone else in the household. As their parent, you’re certainly going to be worried about them and be upset by their behavior. If you have other kids in the home, they will also experience unrest caused by their sibling’s behavior.

  1. Address the behavior. Even if you know that addressing their behavior will result in an argument, you still need to address it. Letting it slide will only increase the likelihood of bigger problems in the future.

  2. Implement consequences for their behavior. Create and implement consequences for their behavior. Your teen needs to know that they will not get away with behaving irresponsibly.

  3. Talk to your other children about the situation. Since your other children are likely experiencing unrest as well, talk to them about what’s going on. They need to know that you love them and will protect them even when your teenager is causing chaos.

  4. Get outside help. If your teen’s behavior is completely out of control, consider getting outside help. Your teen could benefit from seeing a therapist help them learn how to control their behavior.

Our future articles in this series will outline more specific ways to help your teenager learn to behave responsibly and restore peace in the home. If you need help in the meantime, you can contact us at 866-640-1899.

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