How to help your Teen Reverse Bad Habits

Many parents experience the same issues whenever their child reaches adolescence. Bad habits tend to surface whenever a child becomes a teenager. But, why is this? There are many issues that can play a role in the behavioral differences you are witnessing. Being a teenager in today’s society is stressful, and it is at that age, when they are most vulnerable to the pressure around them. Their bodies are developing in ways they can’t even begin to understand, new trends are constantly changing, bullying is at its highest peak and feeling the need to fit in amongst their peers is a whole level of stress by itself.

Breaking bad habits can be accomplished, but it is important for a parent to be empathetic towards their teenager about why these bad habits surfaced in the first place. Keep the lines of communication open. Give them a chance to explain and defend themselves before lashing out or jumping to conclusions. This will help establish trust. If your child feels they can trust you, than if they are dealing with peer pressure or a negative situation, instead of handling it on their own; they will turn to you for advice.

There are many benefits that go with being a positive role model. If your child is displaying traits, which they have picked up from you, then one of the worst things a parent can do, is say. “Do as I say, not as I do.” This is not a good method and normally has negative effects. If you want your child to make rash and healthy decisions, then you must first set the example. You can’t expect them not to smoke, if they witness you lighting up all the time. If your child has picked up bad habits by watching you or another parent, then there are ways to reverse them as well. Change yourself. Once your teenager starts witnessing your own efforts to change, then they are most likely to make the same efforts. You cannot teach a lesson, unless you are willing to learn from your own mistakes.

Be involved in your teenager’s life. If your teenager has displayed negative behavior upon the arrival of new friendships, then it is important that you monitor those friendships. Peer pressure is a big issue and teenagers with low self-esteem may give into it, fearing they will not be accepted otherwise. Help boost your teenager’s self-esteem. Introducing them to other activities such as sports, can help broaden their audience and open them up to better influences.

If your teenager has made you aware of a complicated situation that has led to their behavioral change, then you can help give them a way out. Your teenager may feel afraid or intimidated when facing a difficult situation on their own. There are ways a parent can guide them through it. Teach them ways to say no politely, maybe blame it on an allergy. That gives them a way out, without igniting the situation. Come up with a code that only you and your child knows, and use it as an indicator that they need your help. It can be a simple one word text, but that will be making you aware of an issue.

It is important for a parent to be a parent as opposed to the friend method of parenting. Your teenager is going to have more than enough friends, what they really need is a parent to guide them through life. Set boundaries and stick to them. If you give your child a curfew, make it known that there will be consequences for them breaking it. You cannot avoid your teenager getting angry and upset with you, it is all a part of parenting, but setting boundaries and sticking to them, will guide them on the right track and give them a better appreciation and respect for you as a parent. Consulting with your teen on rules and boundaries can be a bonding experience for you and your child. Together through communication perhaps the two of you can reach a realistic set of rules and boundaries, that both of you can live up to.

There is a difference between positive and negative communication. Screaming at your teenager will only engulf the situation and behavioral habits more. Address them as you would another adult, through rational and constructive conversation.

Don’t forget to reward your child for improvements. Once you have witnessed the efforts your teenager is making, acknowledge those improvements. Embrace the change and reestablish the trust by allowing them some freedom. Offering positive reinforcements is a good motivational tool, and can help get them back on the track.