Teenagers face a multitude of hormonal changes, emotional difficulties, and growth from 12-18. Sometimes they don’t know what to do with these struggles and turn to troubling behavior. Managing their emotions with drugs, alcohol, and promiscuous behavior is common in the teen years. If left unaddressed, it can carry over into adulthood and have lasting effects on their lives.
Treating a Troubled Teen
When it comes to treating a troubled teen, society sometimes uses the term “tough love.” The idea of pushing rules onto a child and increasing the amount of punishment that he receives has been the default method for parents to handle troubled teens for years. Some parents even go to the extreme of sending their child to military school, but that approach is no longer considered the right way to go and could even be dangerous.
One alternative method of handling troubled teens is cognitive behavioral therapy . Instead of using shouting or punishment, teens are taught ways to solve problems and expand their knowledge bases. The result of a study done by Vanderbilt University was that half of the children given therapy responded positively and were able to show a significant decrease in the outward signs of depression. While this method is effective, parents might not have considered the idea of therapy over the military approach before, or they might not have known this method existed.
The Alternative to Tough Love
Tough love does not address the underlying problems of depression or help a teen to feel better about himself. In order to experience emotional and mental growth, teens need extracurricular outlets, such as those provided at a therapeutic boarding school, that could enhance hidden interests and talents. However, tough love does not encourage this type of interaction. In short, tough love fails because it only talks at a teen and not to him.
Teens generally rebel because they feel as though there is something missing in their lives. Throwing those teens into a situation where they are given strict rules, a military-style daily routine and no ability to interact with empathetic role models proves counterproductive. Parents who are interested in helping their troubled teens avoid sinking deeper into depression and the related problems should consider therapeutic options and schools that include the following:
Individual and group counseling
Peer support and a
Proven program that will help your son get back on track.
While the military approach might sound tempting to a parent, the end result can create ongoing problems. Instead, provide your son with the support he needs by placing him in a therapeutic setting.