One of the hardest things to get through to your troubled teen is that you truly understand what he’s going through during this turbulent time of his life. During this time, teenagers often feel parents are the enemy. A lot of it has to do with normal adolescent development because they want to be independent from their parents. For troubled teens, it’s goes a bit farther because they often engage in risky behavior simply to prove they can do it and their parents can’t do anything about it. Being able to take down the belief that parents don’t want to stop independent, but want to make sure they make the right choices is difficult, but possible. The secret may lie in the troubled teen’s siblings.
People of like changes tend to bond better. They believe they understand each other better because they engage in the same world; for example, the teen world. This can work to your advantage if you have two teens whereas one is troubled and one is not.
Since the connection is better with teens, you can have a sibling communicate your case. While this can put a strain on the relationship between the siblings, it doesn’t have to if it’s done in the right way.
Praise Good Behaviors
When the sibling of the troubled teen does something good, it should be praised immediately. Many times, the troubled teen will follow with something as well, so that should also be praised. One thing about troubled teens is that many parents often become so consumed with the bad behaviors that they start to ignore the good ones, and bringing forward the good ones can lead to more good behaviors. Using the sibling to initiate it is a great way to encourage it.
Open Lines of Communication
Take time to communicate with the sibling AND the troubled teen together. When the sibling responds, it will show the troubled teen how to respond and what will happen if he would respond in the same way. Adolescents learn from modeling, so seeing his sibling acting in a certain way can be a great lesson.
Encourage Bonding Between Siblings
While the risk of a sibling also becoming troubled is high, it’s still a good idea to encourage bonding between them. Modeling, support, and advice can go both ways, and with your encouragement, hopefully it will be from the non-troubled sibling to the troubled one. Usually, this needs to be something that is orchestrated with the parent and sibling beforehand, so that the sibling doesn’t get roped into a situation in which he slips into troubled territory.
Seeking Additional Help for Troubled Teens
Siblings can help, but it doesn’t always work. Many times, residential treatment facilities for troubled teens are a better choice. That way, you can concentrate on providing a safe, healthy home for the sibling that is not troubled, while getting help for the one that is. It may be just what is needed to save the family.