The teen years are a weird time in life. If you think back to your teen years, you probably get a mix of nostalgic and cringe-worthy memories. Most adults wouldn’t choose to relive their high school years given the opportunity, and there’s a good reason. The teen years are a giant mashup of emotions, stressors, and changes.
When puberty hits, life changes. Seemingly overnight, kids start turning into adults. They get bigger, their bodies change, hormones change, and moods change. If you’re the teenager’s parent, you might find yourself wondering: “Is my teen’s behavior normal or weird?”
The most significant difference between regular teenage “weird” behavior and genuinely troubled behavior is whether or not it’s critically affecting their life. There’s a certain amount of normal teenage rebellion and acting out that should be expected. If your teen son’s behavior disrupts his life, there might be more going on.
Signs of troubled teen behavior
Teenagers are going to get into trouble sometimes. They will probably break a few rules at home or at school. As kids get older, they start to push boundaries. They are growing towards adulthood and want more freedom than they have earned yet. It’s pretty standard for kids to push boundaries but ultimately accept their limits.
Your teen’s weirdness might be a sign of troubling behavior if it crosses some of these lines:
- They are overly impulsive and completely lack self-control. Their actions get them into trouble or hurt other people, and they act without thinking. Most teens make hasty decisions from time to time, but they can also control themselves when needed. Troubled teens act without thinking, and their behavior can hurt themselves or others.
- They struggle to maintain appropriate friendships. They might gravitate toward older people than them who are already out of school, or they might make friends with children much younger than them.
- They can’t follow through with their responsibilities, even when they try. Lots of kids dislike schoolwork and would instead do something else. However, most kids can buckle down and get it done when they need to. Kids who can’t focus enough to finish their tasks could be struggling with mental health problems.
- They refuse to follow rules. Again, you can expect your teen to test your authority from time to time. When testing authority turns into an outright refusal to follow the rules, you have a problem.
- They try to manipulate others. Children and teens are masters of manipulation. They learn how to act a certain way to get what they want. Usually, this isn’t much of a problem. Teens need to know to be genuine and accept others as they are, but they don’t typically use manipulation harmfully. Troubled teens can use emotional or physical manipulation to get what they want without regard to the consequences.
How serious is weird teenage behavior?
Take note of your teen’s behavior and how it makes you feel. Is your teen’s weird behavior just frustrating, or is it concerning?
If it is just frustrating, take measures to address their behavior and teach them how to behave more maturely. They are still growing into adults, and they might be struggling with the transition.
If your teen’s behavior is becoming concerning, address it immediately. Troubled teen behavior is often a sign of mental health problems that need to be treated before reaching adulthood. With proper treatment, teens can learn to address their underlying issues and mature into healthy adults.
Addressing troubled teen behavior
You can do several things to address troubled teen behavior and outright rebellion.
Set boundaries and hold to them.
Make sure that your teen knows what sort of behavior is and is not acceptable as a member of your household. Create specific rules and consequences for breaking those rules. Then, hold to your boundaries.
When your teen acts out, it can be tough to stay calm. Many troubled teens know exactly how to push their parents’ buttons and test their authority. When your teen’s behavior gets to you, try to stay calm and lovingly address them.
Talk to them.
Talk to your teen about why their behavior concerns you. Your teen probably knows that they are doing something weird, but they don’t know how to fix it on their own. Have nonjudgmental conversations with them about their behavior and why it needs to change.
Get family therapy.
Troubled teens and their families can benefit from attending family therapy. If your teen knows that their behavior is weird and gets them into trouble, they might like help changing it. By speaking with a professional therapist, you and your family can support your teen in making the necessary changes.
If your teen’s weird behavior has you worried for their overall safety and wellbeing, consider a residential treatment center for teen boys. Teens with serious mental health trouble might need more help than they can get at home.
Call us at 866-639-2856 for more information about our school for troubled teen boys.