Pushing boundaries is a natural part of being a teenager — much to the frustration of parents. Sometimes it’s difficult to determine what is “normal” teen behavior — or misbehavior — and what should raise a red flag.
Here are 10 of the most common behavior issues in young adults:
1. Lying. Many teens lie out of fear of the consequences for their behavior, or even fear that you will be upset or withdraw love if they tell you the truth. Others may lie to take the easy way out — it’s a way to not have to take responsibility.
2. Arguing. As teens begin to assert their independence, many become argumentative. At their core, most teens want their parents’ approval, and arguing is an ongoing effort to get you to see things their way.
3. Defiance. It’s a normal part of development for teens to want to make their own decisions and not have to listen to parental authority. Unfortunately, this desire often emerges as defiance.
4. An awkward phase. Some behavior issues are more introspective. For example, many teens go through an awkward phase — a period of time when they feel they are no good at anything and have no friends. Believe it or not, it’s completely normal for your teen to feel like they don’t fit in.
5. Abandoning commitments. In their struggle to find something they are good at, many teens give up along the way. They may try out for the basketball team, but lose interest after a few practices, or join the yearbook club before deciding what they really want to do. Help them uphold their commitments and learn to finish what they start by acting as a coach and providing encouragement.
6. Withdrawal. During puberty, young people start to form closer relationships outside of the family. As their world becomes more friend-centric, many will withdraw from parents and family members who used to hold so much influence.
7. Attitude. “Teenager” and “bad attitude” often go hand-in-hand. They often display selfishness and may lash out in temper tantrums that bring to mind the toddler years. They think their parents just “don’t get it,” and communication often suffers as a result of this attitude.
8. Impulsivity. If it sometimes seems like your teen doesn’t think before she acts, she doesn’t. Teens often display impulsive behavior that may leave adults shaking their heads. Whether it’s toilet papering a neighbor’s yard or getting into a car with someone she doesn’t know, impulsive behavior can be risky. Because teens’ brains are not fully developed, they show poorer judgment and impulse control in these situations — often leading them to make bad choices.
9. Academic problems. In the teen years, poor grades do not necessarily mean your child is an underachiever. If you’ve ruled out learning problems such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or emotional problems that can distract from academics, consider what is motivating your teen. It could be that classroom style learning is hard for him or that he is distracted or fatigued by sports and other extracurricular activities. If he is motivated by being on a team, help him understand that team participation requires good grades — usually at least a C average. Some people are internally motivated on their own to really want an A+ in everything in life — others do not share those priorities. Set realistic expectations based on your child’s personality — don’t try to impose perfectionism.
10. Curfew violations. This is one of the most tested boundaries among teenagers. It all boils down to responsibility — kids need to learn that even if they are having a great time, they have to be home when they said they would. This sets the stage for a life-long habit of punctuality and overall responsibility. However, make sure curfew is reasonable — some parents set limits that set them up for power struggles. Check with other parents in your area and see what is working for them.
To learn more about common teen behavior issues and how you can deal with them, contact us today.