Control is the biggest challenge for teens and parents. Teens are growing up faster these days, and they believe they are equal to adults. With that equality, they believe they have control. As parents, we believe we have control, so we try to hold onto or steel the power back. It’s like a tug-o-war with your teen. Sometimes, the best way to handle it is to just let go.
According to Kim Abraham, LMSW and Marney Studaker-Cordner, LMSW, “Once we let go of trying to control our child’s behavior and choices, we actually gain much more power. Fighting every day with someone whose main purpose is to avoid being controlled will leave you feeling disheartened, exhausted, angry, frustrated, embarrassed and ashamed. Putting energy into what you can control leaves you feeling empowered, confident and stronger. Believe it or not, there’s actually more you can control than can’t – you’ve problem just been trying to control the wrong things!
What we can control is the environment our teens live in, including the rules and regulations of it. Having a structured home with times for eating, sleeping, and activities can help teens understand that life isn’t about doing whatever they feel like, but instead, what needs to be done.
When we’re able to support and guide teens with gentle pressure, teens are able to make their own decisions based on what is going on in their environment. Therapists often recommend doing this because of the arguments that seem to erupt on a daily basis. Being lenient, but protective is an effective way to help teens feel in control within limitations. “Structure is a healthy form of pressure. As parents feel more like successful family leaders, the negative emotional pressure abates,” says Jerome A. Price and Judith Margerum from The Family Therapy Networker.
Despite decreased control and a structured home environment, many teens continue to find adolescence difficult. They continue to make bad decisions. We feel defeated. We don’t know what to do because we’ve tried everything already. Too much control doesn’t work, and minimal control doesn’t either. The next logical step is turning to professionals.
It’s not easy to relinquish complete control of your teen by sending him to a therapeutic boarding school. Allowing professionals to support, guide, and teach your teen how to make the right decisions in life may be the only options you have, though. This is especially true if your teen has started engaging in activities that are dangerous to other family members.
Sundance Canyon Academy is here for you. We have the structured environment. We have the professionals who understand troubled teen behaviors, and how to help them understand themselves and the world around them. Our therapeutic boarding school programs can help you gain control of your teen, so he can become a successful adult someday. Contact us today for information on our programs.