In such cases, there may be a behavioral health disorder present. The DSM-5 the most recent edition of the diagnostic manual for the mental health community includes a new chapter on disruptive, impulse control, and conduct disorders. These disorders, often first diagnosed in children and adolescents, are united by the presence of difficult, disruptive, antisocial, or aggressive behavior.
These behaviors can occur in different forms at varying levels of severity and may be premeditated, defensive, or impulsive in nature. Symptoms of ODD may include: 3,4 If left untreated, ODD can lead to major discipline problems and potentially develop into a more severe disorder known as conduct disorder. ODD often coexists with other mental health disorders , which can make the symptoms difficult to differentiate.
A teen showing symptoms of ODD should have a comprehensive behavioral health evaluation to look for coexisting conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD , mood disorders e. If left untreated, ODD can lead to major discipline problems and potentially develop into a more severe disorder known as conduct disorder. Conduct Disorder CD is characterized by a persistent pattern of behaviors that infringe on the rights and property of others. They often display aggression toward people and animals, destroy property, and act deceitfully. Teens who engage in these behaviors have significant disciplinary problems at home and school and even in their communities because they consistently break rules, regulations, and, in some cases, laws.
Teens with CD are often written off by teachers and social agencies as bad kids instead of kids with mental health problems. This is, in part, because the CD diagnosis itself is so intertwined with major disciplinary issues. A conduct disorder diagnosis may be given if at least 3 of the following criteria have been present in the previous 12 months: 5.
Research suggests that teens with CD who do not receive comprehensive treatment will have ongoing problems throughout their lifetime. Without mental health treatment, teens with CD often have a difficult time adapting to adult life, and they frequently go on to have trouble holding a job, maintaining relationships, and avoiding the criminal justice system. Intermittent Explosive Disorder IED is another disruptive disorder that can contribute to discipline problems in teenagers. IED is characterized by recurring outbursts of aggression, often involving violence or destruction of property, that are disproportionate to the precipitating stressors or preceding events.
In teens with IED, explosive episodes can occur suddenly and without warning. The aggressive outbursts usually last 30 minutes or less and can occur several times a week, but may also be separated by weeks or months of nonaggression. Less-severe verbal outbursts can occur in between episodes of physical aggression. Teens with IED may be irritable, aggressive, and angry much of the time. The explosive episodes of physical and verbal aggression can happen at any time , which means teens are likely to face disciplinary problems at home and at school. Too often, parents implement consequences, and then reverse those consequences immediately, or within a few days.
One example is that of a parent who grounds their child for a week, only to let them out of the house in order to attend a school function a few days later. Though parents can often rationalize their decision to do so, this proves to their child that the parent does not follow through on their word. Over time — often a relatively short period of time — a child learns that they do not have to worry about any threats that their parents make. Consequences have no meaning to the child. If you want your child to believe that you will do what you say, you need to practice follow through.
Consequences without follow through are simply empty threats that destroy your credibility as a parent. Be consistent. Follow through on what you say. Within a short time, you will see that you get consistent results and reactions from your child. There are a few ways to do this. A delayed, credible response is far more effective than an immediate an unbelievable response. You and your spouse need to be on the same page regarding parenting decisions.
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If not, your child will soon learn which parent to ask in order to get the response that they want. This undermines the credibility of both parents. Parents who do not know how to use consequences effectively are often preyed upon by ruthless teenagers who only care about their own wants and needs. A parent who knows how to use consequences effectively, on the other hand, has established credibility and has earned the respect of his child.
Households with established consequences are far more peaceful than those without. Recognize that consequences are important. They need to find their own motivation from within and learn from their own small mistakes, which, amazingly, they do. There is a pull to helicopter in and rescue them. But at the same time, you know the right thing to do is let them figure things out for themselves.
You have to let them grow into adulthood. I got each of my kids a book on sex education this book for my daughter and this book for my son , which were recommended by friends. When my son was nearly 12, he had the stomach flu. While lying in bed, he said he had something important to ask me. It took him a long time to work up the courage. Only germs are to blame. Before you have teenagers, you imagine some kind of capital-t Talk. You talk and talk, because they are always changing, and sometimes they need to understand more about safety, sometimes they want to learn more about pleasure or trust or being queer.
A great place to do that is in the car with the parent at the wheel. I have a new appreciation for things I never liked before, like Pink Floyd. My son and I have always loved the same kinds of movies. When Arrival came out, we went to see it together twice in one week, his idea! We have deep talks about the films and ideas around them.
My Spotify playlists have never been better. Why did you post that? Why are you on your phone so much? Get off your phone. If you do it right, the end goal is for them to leave. How can that be the reward for successfully nurturing a beloved person inside your home for the better part of 20 years? Be prepared to lose your quiet time in the evenings as they stay up later and later. Your house will seem very small when they bring their gang of tall friends over.
Your daughter will never have enough makeup brushes. Next they will want to drive! Are you the parent of a teenager? Do you have anything to add? Talking to children about sex , and five ways to teach kids consent. My stepkid will turn 18 next month. My biological twins will be 3 this fall.
My stepkid babysits them to earn a little money when she is not doing her studies. She is about to start her second year of college. Additionally since she is taking driving lessons she is tasked with driving them to their swimming lesson once a week too. They sleep on the same floor in rooms next door to esch other. Even though she is 15 years older than them it has been worth it.
Generally speaking that is.
She loves babysitting them. Car trips have been easier than I expected. My stepkid will distract them and save my sanity. I get to save on childcare. What could be better? Just yesterday I found all 3 of them working hard on a puzzle in the living room on the floor. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Finally I found a place where I can share my thoughts about the teen parenting. Keep sharing like this. My children are now 31, 30, and As teens, I can tell you, they were all completely different.
Drew 31 was predictable. He never gave me any trouble.
Teen Discipline: Strategies and Challenges
He had a great core of friends — both male and female — that he hung out with. We grew up in a small town, so I knew all the parents of his friends because we had all gone to high school together. He was a breeze — except when it came to schoolwork. He would do the homework but never turn it in. From 5th grade until the end of senior year, this was a constant battle. I even went to school and sat in on all his classes with him to make sure he turned in his work. This seemed to be very effective. Jessie 30 was a different story. Teenage girls! She fell in with the wrong crowd and took a turn for the worst.
My mom was no help. She coddled her and still does. We had moved back home and when I needed to go out of town or to a late night event, I would tell my mom not to let her go anywhere. Of course, she let her go, and it always backfired.
I would have to come home and clean up the mess. Now that Jessie is a mom of three, she understands why I gave her the rules I did. Matt 24 was my kid genius. He was unbelievably smart. By the time he was in 5th grade, he had 12 units of college credits under his belt. Thankfully, he did. Now, they are all doing very well as adults. They got all that rebellion out of their systems in their teen years thank you, Jesus!
Oh wow. My son is only 18 months, and yet I feel I need to somehow mentally bookmark all these pieces of wisdom for use many years down the road! So does every comment in savoring the moment. Which makes them leaving all the more bittersweet. I remember deliberately thinking of ways to get out of going in the car with her. Our relationship now is wonderful and treasured, but God, how I think back on those car rides and cringe! I need these little people to be happy, successful adults in whatever way success means to them. But helping to create their capable selves is heart breaking as I watch them get a little bit farther away from me with every step towards independence.
Mom of an amazing nineteen year old boy er, man. My advice, is to be available to listen when they want to talk. My son used to call me every day when he was walking home from school starting in middle school and it lasted through high school and even now to a certain extent between college classes and his job — yes I am grateful. I found that if I was available to chat with him for a few minutes, I would learn all about his day.
On Parenting Teens | A Cup of Jo
I needed to be available to listen when he wanted to talk. All relationships require nurturing. In the Russian-Jewish culture that I grew up in, a lot of parents, including mine, have a really hard time letting their children go, allowing them to grow up and become their own person while being supportive and gently guiding rather than controlling. My parents were pretty good at parenting my sister and me when we were young, but from the time when we hit our teenage years and into our adulthood, they really had no idea what to do and made a lot of mistakes.
Wow, that must be so hard. Would you read this? Maybe a bad idea, just one that came to me. It does feel so unthinkably cruel that our reward is their departure! The eldest is 14, and the way he deals with life seems to be to keep his inner world very guarded, which is also so upsetting where is he? I want to know him! BRB gotta go cry in a bathroom stall. Love all the comments. No one told me how sleep deprived I would be throughout the teenage years. Waiting up for 3 different kids to come home on the weekends, worrying about where they were and what they were doing, brutal!!
My husband always could fall asleep but I had to wait up until they were all home safely. But besides that, we loved it. They have grown into my favorite people besides my husband. When the 5 of us are together, all is right with the world. My three are all grown and on their own ranging from For me, it was about avoiding a one size fits all approach and letting them dictate their needs. With my youngest, I became very involved with her color guard activities, which gave me more insight into her world and friends, and more shared experiences.
With my middle child, it was all about watching and talking about foreign films. Its a sentiment that most parents would probably echo, but as a teen it really helped to hear it spoken out loud. I also needed this. I have been having a tough time with my 3 year old and wish I was more patient.
It can be draining…but I know I will miss this phase but yeah, it is tough when you are in this phase buuuut focusing on the positive ahh such a mind game! However, after reading all these comments, it reminds me that one day, he will be along on his adventure, far from home and my heart will ache for him. I look forward to romanticizing the toddler years and it gives me hope for the upcoming parenting phases. Thank you. As the mum of a 14 year old and 11 year old, I tell people all the time that every stage is the best.
When they were tiny babies I wondered how any other stage would be as good, then when they were toddlers, primary school kids, tweens I wondered the same. But always thinking the nightmare teens would change that thinking. My 14 year old is awesome and this is the best time just like all the other times. He is interesting, funny, challenging, and I love to be with him. He is also a pain in the butt and I even enjoy that side. Thank you! I have enjoyed every stage of parenting some more than others , but something that has surprised me is how much I have truly enjoyed seeing my children grow into unique individuals.
I am pregnant with my first child and as I read this I became teary-eyed! It feels like I was a teenager not long ago myself. This has reminded me that, before I know it, my little baby bump will grow into their own true individual self. I am reminded to enjoy and appreciate every moment that is to come, even the hard ones. Man, I still feel such a twinge of guilt every time I think about the way I was toward my mom as a teen.
Teenage angst is temporary. I wish every Mom of teens could read this comment Dayna! You offer a lot of hope that the bumpy season will pass. I remember watching My so-called life when it came out, and she seemed so old to my year old self! I rewatched it a few years ago on Netflix highly recommend it! I might be the only man reading this.. I love this so, so much. One of the million things I did not expect about having three boys was that the sight of teenagers would reduce me to tears.
At 5,3, and 1, I am everything to them right now. And those gangly 13 year old boys are a walking, talking reminder that there is a time limit to that. Especially at this moment, when teens are stepping up and reminding us that the world is theirs… and man do they deserve it. My mother always told me she aimed to be my soft place to fall, so that when the world got cruel or sad or confusing, I had someplace to retreat. I try to do that for my boys now, so they know that even if they are a foot taller than me, they can always lean on my shoulder. Oh this made me cry- having three boys myself, 7, 5 and coming up on 2 , I relate so much.
Ahh Kyla — I have three girls the exact same ages as yours! It seems so scary to me! Teach boys how to keep house, esp the cleaning, ie: toilet area for obvious male-related reasons, laundry and how to shop and cook at least three go-to meals. And teach them to be responsible for birth control — and why -around age 12, way before they will hopefully need it.
Great post! And very timely, as my twins have been changing before my eyes in all ways imaginable they turned 13 last October. The Cup of Jo community never disappoints when it comes to beautiful stories and loads of support. I have a six year old son, and four year old twin girls — we have a ways to go before the teenage years…but still. I want nothing more than for them to be successful, independent adults but, oh the thought of it…my heart is in my throat. I loved reading all these comments — thank you! They are so fiercely independent and opinionated most of the time but in a way I so admire.
I completely relate to the comment about missing even the hard times. I have a newly 13 year old and what a ride it has been! She goes to a French immersion charter school and each year, the school takes the 6th graders to France for 2 weeks where they live with a host family and fully immerse themselves in the culture and education.
Behavioral problems and effective solutions for your 13 to 18-Year-Olds
My husband and I decided to take our own European vacation during this time and pick her up in Paris on her last day that she was with her class. The whole experience is something you can never fully imagine until it happens. They seem so young and so incapable. Everyone who had done it before said that the kids come back as different people, and you know, they were right. Picking her up in Paris will be one of the greatest memories of my life, but seeing her after such a worldly adventure, one I had very little connection to, was incredible.
It was emotional, it was humbling and it was truly awesome. She had this whole experience that I knew nothing about and it was equal parts sad and exhilarating. As we enter the teenage years, I am trying to remind myself that she is indeed her own person and that I have to learn to let go of the experiences I want to be a part of and let her experience her own things too. I think that can be challenging for parents, but especially for parents of only children. Like all families, we have our good days and bad. I was somewhat of a young and inexperienced mom, so in many ways, we are growing together.
I will say the one thing I am holding onto now is just hope. To know that we did the best we could and our kids are gonna be alright no matter where they go and what they do? What an amazing experience for your daughter! And kudos to you for letting her have it. You sound like a great mother. My friend at work has 3 teenagers.
Ha my teen years are decades behind me but I remember enough to second all three :.
I was a comparatively easy teen and still I shudder at what I put my parents through. It feels like I was pregnant with his sister for only 9 minutes, not 9 months. I wish they could be babies forever, or I could occasionally freeze them at a particularly cute point, like today when she laughed for the first time and when he learns new words. Thank you for this. Oh my gosh!!! I needed this post today. I have 4 teenagers in my house right now — 18, 16, 14 and The same exact thing happened to me about 2 days ago. I am going to miss him so much when he leaves for school in August — oh my am I going to miss the baggy jeans, the stinky feet, the lanky walk and late nights falling asleep while I can still hear him strumming guitar in the basement.
I also sometimes have to remind myself to shut my mouth and let them be. Some posts for the adults that are not parents, but still looking for content that reflects their lives, and the importance of their roles as aunts, sisters, daughters, best friends…. Here I am…crying at my desk at 8am! What a beautiful, hopeful, heartbreaking, funny post. Will she ever come back?? Hope so…miss her. Warms my heart to read all these wonderful comments. Thank you from Madrid, Spain! Here I am cuddling my very last baby boy.
A moment ago I felt sorry for myself bc of sleep deprivation and feeling a bit lonely. Now I am crying and feeling grateful instead. I will really try to savour these precious moments. Thank you for putting things into perspective. I do not have children, but I work in the upper division of an all boys school some would call it privileged.
Here is what I have observed over the past 2 or 3 years: the pervasive use of smart technology combined with social media, they have grown more aloof even disrespectful. My daughters are still only 6 and 8, but both rather precocious. I often see in them the adolescents they will become soon and it is touching, but also stressing at times. As they grow though, I am having more and more trouble to end a conversation with the same argument. I can still impose my decisions on them, but I am starting to wonder whether I should. At the same time they are still kids and still need to be framed.
I feel this balance constantly shifting though. And I imagine it will keep doing so until adulthood. As a parent of a toddler, I appreciated this post on things ahead. That seems like something private? Okay, re: the in-the-car-talk thing. I completely understand why so many people do this, and it IS a good place to have these conversations in a lot of ways. In the end, my mum had to tell him to stop doing this, because it made me so stressed and upset about getting in the car with him. It adds so much pressure and anxiety to such an everyday part of life…. I second this! I still dread it, even at age 29!
In French, they say, little kid, little problems; big kid, big problems. I read to my kid before bed until quite recently and still occasionally do. The language difference—English is less comfortable—gave me an excuse. It became a moment when my kid would confide in me. I never planned it, but I am glad we have this time every day when words can come out. Lately, it has been when the lights go off. I sit on the edge of the bed and give a little scalp massage while my kid recounts whatever the trouble is. We have four children and seven grandkids now.
They were two grades apart growing up. One evening, my older daughter and I had a fight, she screamed at me as she stomped up the stairs. My son two years older apologized to me and gave me a hug. Way to make me cry in a coffee shop! My oldest is five but I feel like I need to revisit this post when in 7 years. Especially since girls get such a bad rap! Oh, I loved these comments so much! So much wisdom. As the mother of two teenage boys and another coming into pre-adolescence soon , I have been astounded to discover that the dreaded teenage years have been a delight.
I think accepting that it is natural and even good for your children to grow away from you makes the navigation of the changes easier. Respecting their personhood and their growing independence is key. I try to offer them freedoms before they are asking for them. This means they are not pushing me away. Rather, I hope, I am helping them fly. As others mentioned, it is a delight to learn from them, something that will only increase with age. To share books and films and music in a mutual way is wonderful. As their personalities and sense of self grow to fill their suddenly tall, almost-adult bodies, I find myself in wonder at who they are becoming.
I could not and still cannot predict where they will end up. At times, this can make me fearful. But clutching at them or trying to protect them would not work. So, I simply watch, attentive to the areas where they are ready to be free, slipping in a hand or a hug or a bit of advice where invited, and drink in the wonder of it all. No joking aside…being the parent of not one, but two eighteen year olds is by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. They are by turns kind and thoughtful, but within the same moment biting, rude,judgemental and thoughtless.
But as graduation approaches and they make plans to venture from my protective wing I am terrified for both themselves and me.