What can you do as a parent to manage your abusive teenager? Sure, parents, just like anyone else, are not immune from abuse; our teenagers are capable of inflicting verbal, physical, and emotional abuse.
However, a teenager who is abusive – threatening, name-calling, hitting or intimidating – need to be informed of the ramifications of their behavior. Sometimes, a situation may look small that we tend to overlook, but the danger is that it may soon escalate to something else with you realizing.
With that said, it is essential to recognize that you are still the parent of the child and you have the ability to take full control of the situation. That is why we have put together this guide to help you solve the problem.
How do you do know when your child’s behavior has gone beyond accepted limits?
Let’s look at this scenario. Isn’t abuse when a co-worker or partner lifts a hand to hit you, throw things with intention of hitting you? The fact that you are a parent doesn’t justify or excuse the criminal behavior of your teenager.
If you were to treat similar actions emanating from your 15-years daughter or son with the same attitude, I’m sure you will be in better position to recognize and rectify your child’s behavior.
Here are the things to put into consideration as you address the issue.
- Your physical safety is vital. Most of us have grown up with the idea that sacrificing ourselves in order to protect our children is what we should do at all times. However, your safety is as important as protecting your child and, in any case, if you are injured and hospitalized it is your children who will end up suffering the most.
- Accept that arguments are bound to happen in any family setting. We should appreciate that teenagers are still learning how to coping with emotional changes. Try to be calm at all times by avoiding to say things which lead you to regret later, and try to listen to your teens.
- You need to balance between too much and too little. You shouldn’t crack down every time you feel your child has stepped out of the line. However, you shouldn’t avoid all conflicts with your child for fear that you will push them away or ignoring the big stuff such as your child using drugs. The best is find a balance between freedom and obedience.
- Teenage abuse is common. Even though teenagers hitting parents is not commonly reported, it is widespread. Haven’t we seen parents who are open enough to admit that they have lost control over their children’s behaviors? To say the least, you are not alone in this. Nonetheless, you should rely on your inner wisdom to do the best for your family.
- It might take time to fix teenage abuse. You should understand from the beginning that you may have to try different avenues to get to the root of the problem and eventually eradicate it. For instance, you might have to consider the kind of therapist who you think will fit your situation.
Responding to teenage abuse
The biggest challenge is that most of us are unsure of how to deal with such situations. Responding with nearly similar tactics such as insulting, name-calling, or yelling back at your teenagers wouldn’t make them stop the behavior, but it is even more harmful to their lives.
So, what are the best strategies to respond to teenage abusive behavior before it gets out of control?
1. First, you should establish why your teenage child is abusive
Naturally, when your child becomes abusive, you are more likely to ask yourself why? You may even start blaming yourself for your child’s behavior. However, there could be other underlying factors that contribute to the behavior.
Sometimes, abusive teen model their behavior basing on the environment they are such as:
- Maybe, they learned the behavior from other adults or even one of you in the family
- Substance abuse
- Underlying emotional conditions such as Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder
- Poor coping skills.
2. Find time to talk to your child
Find ample time when you aren’t having a row with your teenage child to talk to him or her. You might need to spend your time together in a public park if you are worried that he or she might get angry.
3. Establish boundaries and make them understand the consequences
The main subject of the talk is to understand the cause of the problem as well as letting your teenager understand his or her actions are not right and you can’t let it happen again. Your child should understand abusive behavior is illegal and the consequences of such behaviors.
Besides this, consider using behavior contracts to help your teen conform to what you expect of him or her. Whenever possible, withdraw privileges.
On top of this, you should agree on the code of conduct on what you will do if a similar thing happens next time. In most cases, violence occurs because we follow an angry child to another part of the house whenever we have an argument.
4. Get outside help
You may need to talk to your friends, family, and other support networks. Even though not all of them might appreciate the seriousness of your situation, the one who does so will offer great value. For instance, expert advice will offer possible solutions to resolve teenage related problems.
5. Contact the police
If the abuse continues after taking necessary measures, then you should seek legal action. While you may want to protect your son or daughter from negative experience and repercussions, this step might be necessary to give your teenage child a reality check about the consequences of his or her behavior.
6. Present a united front
In addition to taking the above steps, you should always present a united front as a family. This is not the time for accusation but you should trust each other and work together on proposed solutions. Most importantly, spend time together as a family, for instance, having regular family meetings.
Having an aggressive teenage is one of the challenges that most of us have to grapple. It requires immediate and effective tackling because its effect on the whole family can be far-reaching.
With the above guide, I’m sure you are now in better positions to handle such a situation with courage and calmness. You shouldn’t resort to blaming yourself that you have failed yourself or the children. Remember that your child encounters many other experience and people apart from you.
Please let us know about your take or question you may have in the comment section below.