5 Ways Family Counseling Can Improve Your Relationship with Your Out of Control Teen
Being the parent of a teen can be challenging. Your teen is struggling to develop an identity separate from yours and to move toward adulthood. Butting heads on occasion is a normal part of the territory.
But sometimes the situation is a little more intense than that. Your teen seems out of control, flying into rages or refusing to follow rules. You may be confused, overwhelmed or feel completely helpless. Family counseling is a great place to look for the answers about how to improve your relationship with your out of control teen.
Family Counseling can…
Improve Your Communication Skills
Nearly every parent and child can benefit from family counseling. Parents with out of control teens generally have a communication breakdown at some point. The typical scenario goes like this: the parent makes a request or offers an opinion, which then triggers a strong emotional reaction in the teen. Next thing you know, you have World War III on your hands. You won’t be able to prevent every argument, but you can learn to more clearly express yourself. Modeling good communication skills can often help your teen rise to the same challenge.
Teach You to Express Appropriate Boundaries
Boundary issues are tough for many people. An out of control teen often especially needs appropriate boundaries. But it can be extremely difficult to set limits with teens who may be raging out of control. It’s not unusual if you sometimes feel afraid of your teen. Although you will likely get some pushback about the boundaries you set, having them in place will help your teen to feel secure.
Learn to Understand Your Teen’s Needs
It’s a fact that many out of control teens have some underlying deeper emotional hurts. Teens who are engaging in self-destructive behaviors like drug use or promiscuity are often struggling to process unresolved pain. They may not be able to understand the reasons for their behavior without the help of a highly skilled counselor. Seeking family counseling can help you to understand your teen’s behavior a bit better and be able to identify and meet their emotional needs.
Try Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
The teenage years come with some major struggles. Some people—teens included—are more likely to have more intense reactions to emotional situations. These people may have much more dramatic and seemingly unusual responses to stress, friendships, and relationships. When a person is unable to soothe themselves in distressing situations, they are more likely to overreact with extreme behavior.
Dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT, is one treatment method designed specifically to help people learn coping skills for their intense emotional reactions. DBT gives people the tools to soothe themselves and to reduce the emotional extremes.
Learn to Enjoy Each Other’s Company
Life in Houston is fun and exciting. You have only a few short years before your teen is on his or her own. While that may seem like a relief in some moments, it’s also true that you have limited time to spend with them. Family counseling can help you learn to enjoy each other’s company and to take advantage of the time you have together. In a lively city like Houston, there’s no shortage of things you can do together. From the Space Center to the Museum District, you can become enriched while being entertained as well. If dining out is one of your favorite family activities, the fact that Houston is one of the top cities in the country for foodies is also in your favor. After going through family counseling, you’ll be better able to enjoy conversation over dinner.
Alexandra Marshall in our practice is particularly experienced with helping teens learn skills like emotional regulation, distress tolerance and identifying distortions in the thought process. Parenting an out of control teen can be stressful and overwhelming. But you don’t have to resign yourself to it as a fact of life that can’t be changed. Embrace counseling as your partner in the parenting process and soon things can feel manageable again.
For more information on DBT Therapy, read Bringing Acceptance and Change Together: What is DBT Therapy?
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