Once your boy becomes a teenager, it may seem like he is a completely different person. You may find yourself saying: “Where did I go wrong?” “What happened to my sweet little boy?” Or even, “Help my teen is out of control!” The good news is that troubled teens are usually that way for a reason, and most of the time the reason has nothing to do with the parents. Parenting defiant teenagers is no easy task. However, it may be a little easier if you can understand why they are acting the way that they are. Here are the most common reasons you may have an out of control teen.
His Brain is Still Developing
While you may blame your teenager’s rebellion on his friends or yourself, there may actually be a scientific reason for out of control teens. The part of the brain that controls judgment and thorough thinking (prefrontal cortex) is still developing. So while you can see the full consequences of a particular action, your teen is only focused on the short term. Even though this doesn’t make your troubled teen’s actions excusable, it at least helps you understand him a little bit more.
He Has a New Ability to Argue
In addition to the judgment center in the brain still developing, Web MD reports that your teen’s ability to argue is just now coming to the forefront. He can now produce his own ideas and he wants to put his argument skills to practice. You will notice your teen arguing with almost everything you say. If you instruct him to clean up his room, he will likely tell you a reason why he shouldn’t have to. Do you want him to do his homework before playing videogames? Yeah, he’ll have a response to that, too.
He Has a Need for Independence
Along with all the crazy things going on in their bodies, teenagers have an innate need to prove their independence. Unfortunately, they often do this by breaking the rules. Most out of control teens will sneak out at night, party with friends, and maybe even shoplift. These are all activities for your teen to prove to himself that he is in charge of his own body.
He Wants to Test Authority
Parenting defiant teenagers is especially difficult because they feel the need to constantly test authority. Since your teen is developing his independence, he wants to see just how far you will let him go. He will break rules just to see if you will enforce any punishments. Just like when your boy was a toddler, the teen years is a time where you need to set firm boundaries. If you threaten a certain punishment if the rules are not followed, you need to follow through.
He Wants to Fit In
Another reason for out of control teens is peer pressure. If the cool kids want your boy to do something, chances are he is going to do it. In today’s world, peer pressure is happening earlier and earlier, oftentimes, even at the age of 12 or 13. At this age, your teen has not had enough time to practice his resistance skills, so he is much more likely to oblige. The best thing you can do is stress how important it is for your son to choose his friends wisely. The people he hangs out with will have a big impact on whether or not he becomes one of the many troubled teens out there.
He Has Low Self-Esteem
Finally, if your teen suffers from low self-esteem, he may be turning to alcohol or drugs to make himself feel better. You know this is a short-term fix, but remember, his brain lacks the ability to think long term at this point. He is only doing what makes him feel good now.
While there are many reasons for out of control teens, you know your boy the best. You know what is abnormal for him, and which reason may be the culprit in his situation. Once you can figure out what is causing his rebellion, you will be able to come up with a solution that will work for all of you.