My Teen Thinks They’re in Control, What Do I Do?

Who is in control, me or my teen?

By Harold Graham, Chaplain

Who's in control?
The struggle for control is as old as mankind. There are struggles for control in marriage, the workplace, in government and as one can guess, within the parent-child relationship. And more often than what is good, those who are not equipped for control have assumed that place of control.

In spite of what they believe, teens do not have the life experience to run a family or a household. But too many times because of drug issues in the parent(s), irresponsibility, long periods of time when parents are not home, the teen then fills in the authority gap. There are true accounts of teens raising their younger siblings and doing a great job but it is rare and requires a very responsible teen.

Teens should have responsibilities and in these have some control as to how they will fulfill that responsibility. As they mature this process repeats itself and the teen then learns self-control and then acquires the ability to then lead their own home. So the desire to control is not necessarily a bad thing, they are just attempting to learn adult skills.

But there are those teens who are defiant, even criminal in their thinking that attempt to take control so that they can do what they want. There are certain disorders in children and teens that have traits that are control oriented. These require a professional therapist to assist the family to resolve the issues. If you suspect that this is the case with your teen. Contact a qualified counselor or therapist for a professional assessment on your teen, and perhaps one for each of the parents involved. If there are frequent shouting matches with the parent, then this would indicate that some professional intervention is needed.

Remember, for most teens, they are just trying on adult roles for the first time and attempting to learn those skills. This is a huge difference from those situations that require help. As a parent, encourage these “visits” to adulthood and assist them as they venture there. Start with a small thing as what to wear or perhaps what will be served for the evening meal. These can be exciting times and do not have to be destructive.

Do you and your teen struggle with deciding who’s in charge? Contact us today to learn how In-Home Family Counseling can help bring peace to your home.

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