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Why Is Your Child Acting Out? Helping a Troubled Teen

When a person is acting out, it means they are behaving badly or in a socially unacceptable manner, especially as a means of venting painful emotions like stress, unhappiness, fear, or frustration. Acting out is common among teens. Read on to understand why your child is acting out and how to help a troubled teen.

Why is Your Child Acting Out?

There are multiple reasons why your child is acting out. The reasons are often deeply buried, and inappropriate behavior is usually used to cover them up. Here are the most common reasons for acting out among teenagers.

1. Mental Health Condition

One reason your child might be acting out is because of an untreated mental condition. Common mental conditions that cause teens to act out include ADHD, anxiety disorders, obsessive-impulsive disorder, and autism. If you think your child’s socially unacceptable behavior is due to a mental illness, take them to a mental health professional to examine them.

2. Upsetting Situation

A child may act out because of dealing with an upsetting situation. The upsetting situation could be a familial issue like financial instability, sibling rivalry, or divorce. Approximately 50% of married couples in the United States divorce. Children are negatively affected and overwhelmed with such issues, forcing them to act out.

3. Learning Disability

Struggling with a learning disability is another cause of acting out in teenagers. Children with learning disabilities like dyslexia and dyscalculia cannot learn well in a typical classroom making them to respond by being aggressive or having emotional outbursts. Talk to your child’s teacher if you think your child has a learning disability affecting their behavior.

4. Peer Pressure

Many teenagers act out because of peer pressure. Your child could start smoking, drinking, or DUI to impress their peers. Teenagers will continue misbehaving as long as the behavior impresses their peers and gives them the attention they need. However, some of these misbehaviors like DUI could land your child into big problems. Some offenders may be eligible for Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program for a first-time DUI offense.

How to Help a Troubled Teen?

Dealing with a troubled teen as a mom can be daunting. Fortunately, you can take several practical steps to manage your child’s acting out behavior.

1. Help Your Child Work Through Difficult Times

Most teenagers don’t understand they are acting out. That said, they need parental guidance to help them work through difficult feelings. If your family is going through difficult times caused by disease or divorce, talk to your children about them. Nearly 39.5% of men and women will test positive for cancer at some point during their lifetimes. Explaining to your children that some of these things are bound to happen might help to ease their behaviors.

2. Stay Calm

It is advisable to stay calm and avoid overreacting when your child acts out. Teach by providing appropriate consequences, accountability, and responsibility, instead of punishment. Staying calm will help you stay in control of the situation and find amicable solutions to solve your teen’s bad behavior.

3. Don’t Tolerate Acting Out Behaviors

Don’t tolerate any kind of acting out behaviors from your child. If your teen is stealing, using drugs, insulting people, or destroying property, hold them accountable for their actions, even if it means reporting them to the authorities. Failure to address bad behavior will encourage your children to continue doing them.

4. Be Your Child’s Role Model

You can help your troubled teen by acting as their role model. Set rules at home and abide by them. Teach them good manners and commend them when they do the right things. It would also help to avoid getting into arguments with your troubled teen. Your child will imitate your behavior and behave better.

Understanding the cause of your child’s acting out behavior is imperative to eliminating them. Talk to another mom or seek professional help if you need help with your troubled teen.

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