Parenting any teenage boy can be a difficult journey. If you think yours is facing extra challenges, your situation can be even harder to navigate. Today’s teenagers have to live in a pretty complicated world. School, friends, and family concerns can already provide a significant amount of stress and angst for our teenage boys. When you add in social media and their unprecedented connectivity – to both good and bad influences – you have an unrelenting source of conflict and potential trouble. It’s cause for great concern among many parents.
Fortunately, most teens get through those difficult years well-adjusted and more mature on the other end. It can be of great help to educate yourself on normal versus troubled teen behavior. In doing so, you might find some of your fears put to rest. However, if you’re still particularly concerned about your teenage son, you might be wondering what to do or where to turn for help in setting things right.
Thankfully, there are a lot of ways to help your son. Your options include parenting and education techniques, professional therapy, and even resident treatment programs for more extreme cases. In this article, we will go over some of the challenges you might be facing and how you might be able to deal with them.
Anger and Violence If your son has outbursts of anger or aggression, you might worry about their safety or the safety of others. In contrast to teenage girls, who usually express anger with words, teen boys more often kick, throw things, or punch walls when they’re upset. Sometimes, their anger might be directed at you or someone else. If you feel your son is headed this direction, it might be time to intervene, even with some professional help.Often, expressed anger is a result of underlying fear, shame, sadness, or vulnerability. Dealing with those emotions in a more constructive way can be a great help in reducing their level of anger. Make sure you establish some ground rules, along with consequences when they are broken. Acknowledge and validate their feelings, but let them know that consequences follow as a result of behavior. You might need the help of a therapist to uncover the feelings or issues behind the angry behavior. Professionals can also help you and your son know how to manage anger and recognize the warning signs.
Depression This is a very common disorder in people of almost any age. Teenagers, however, seem to be especially prone. Depression can be a passing result of circumstances, or it could be the more worrisome form of persistent, clinical depression. Their condition could ebb and flow along with family circumstances or time of year. If your son seems isolated, his grades are falling, and he seems sad, disengaged, irritable, or without enthusiasm for things he once loved, it’s worth speaking to a doctor.Thankfully, depression is very treatable. It may be as simple as speaking to you or a trusted counselor. It may involve weekly therapy, medication, or even serious in-patient work. The most important thing is to get help before the depression takes a firm hold. Waiting for it to go away may result in lasting damage. If you’re at all concerned about depression in your son, be sure you get them the support they need to work through it.
ADHD / Anxiety If you know or suspect your son is struggling with these issues, be aware that the teenage years, with their extra expectations and pressures, can make the problem worse. If your son’s academic performance seems to suffer, he seems more agitated, or peer relationships seem off, he might need some extra help in the form of tutors, organization, or counseling. If he’s on medication, it’s possible he needs a change or adjustment. That, of course, is a decision for you and his doctor.
Substance Abuse Drug and alcohol abuse are sadly becoming more common in teenagers. Any of the above conditions can be brought on or worsened by substance abuse, but there are a host of other signs and symptoms.Obviously, if you suspect drugs or alcohol are playing a part in the challenges your son is facing, it’s vital to get them some help right away. One thing to be aware of is that your own medicine cabinet can often be the gateway to drug abuse. Teen suffering from emotional stress, anxiety, or other issues are more likely to seek out unhealthy ways to cope. It’s important to monitor those potential dangers accordingly.
While most teen boys experience some turmoil in their lives due to growing pains, social pressures, school, and more, it’s important to pay close attention to how they deal with stress or other emotions. As a parent, you have a unique insight into your son’s emotional makeup and how certain changes should affect him. If you suspect your son is more troubled than typical, it’s important to speak to a professional for evaluation. Even if you were unnecessarily concerned, you’ll feel better knowing you’ve done right by your son.