As they pass through the development phase we call “teen,” it seems that the part of their brains that understand and communicate respect disappear. One day your child is happily doing what you ask of them, then suddenly they’re challenging every request, every statement, everything! If you have a particularly troublesome teen you may also experience this challenging authority in places outside the home, such as school or the community in general. How exactly are you supposed to deal with this?
It can start small. Back-talking, eye-rolling, ignoring. For many teens it’s just a phase, so many parents just try to ignore it as best they can (one very big but very common mistake in parenting). But it can escalate. Soon they might be inciting arguments, challenging your authority, even flat-out refusing to cooperate with you. At this point most parents start to get very concerned, as their teen becomes unmanageable. The unfortunate news is that it might not stop there, and it might not be a phase. Troubled teens will begin actively defying their parents, challenging authority figures such as teachers and even police officers, and at that point things can get very scary.
Respecting authority is a critical part of development and emerging adulthood, and if your teen is struggling to respect authority it can lead to decisions that impact the rest of their life. Most of parent’s worst nightmares stem from a lack of respect for authority and rules: poor performance in school, aggression, rule or law breaking, drug use, and risky sexual behaviors. None of these problems can be resolved until there is some respect for authority. But chances are at this point you’ve done everything you can, and sometimes it just isn’t enough. That isn’t your fault, and there is help.
Often what troubled teens need is to be removed from their current environment and placed in a new one with limited options and firm consequences. A “reset” can help your teen break out of an unhealthy cycle of challenging authority and help them to learn the basics of respect. For many troubled teens the best option is a residential treatment program.
At a residential treatment program, your teen will be removed from the bad influences, patterns, habits, and opportunities that led to this level of struggle. Through structured programs and mandatory compliance your troubled teen will go back to basics to begin building respect for authority figures within their program, and work their way up to normal, functional respect. If your teen is displaying a lack of respect for authority, and you’ve exhausted all of your effort and options – a residential treatment program is the place to turn.