Very often, teenage behavioral problems are the the tip of the iceberg and they are merely a manifestation of some frustration, concern or even a medical problem. Sometimes, there are episodes of bullying behind all this. Getting to find the cause is rather a difficult task
Let us take the teen who refuses point blank to go to school. He or she may fake an illness or some minor complaint. They prefer to spend the time lazing about at home or in front of the computer. In these cases, we can insist that this also means that they cannot go out with their friends at the weekend as they are simply not well enough. They will also have to complete some pretty boring homework as well.
But non attendance at school seems a very minor problem when we realize that a large number of adolescent girls have been involved in different types of violent fights at school or in the workplace. The numbers are alarming in that over 25% of the girls who were involved were not playing around as there was a deliberate attempt to inflict injury. These figures have been released by the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).
The worry is that as parents and teachers, we have failed to teach them that violence is not the way to resolve problems of disagreement or conflict. It is also true that children who come from violent homes are much more likely to end up with teenage behavioral problems and end up as violent adults.
But what should we do when we are confronted with extreme behavior or that we know that our teenager is in bad company and treading a very fine line between legality and illegality. The question is a very difficult one in that there is inevitably a conflict where the adolescent seeks freedom and independence and the parent is putting on the brakes for very obvious reasons of health, safety and not getting on the wrong side of the law. We may need the help of a therapist in these cases.
As regards sibling violence, it is important to make sure that these are just not isolated incidents but if they are repeated over time then it is time to intervene before it gets out of control.There may nbe health and safety issues and damage of property to determiune what sort of intervention is required for teenagers with behavioral problems like these.
As parents, we have to make sure that our levels of anger are under control. In that way, we have a much better chance of separating violent children from each other and teaching them how to calm down. When things are calmer we should be able to discuss with them what the problems are and what are the ways of resolving them. Violence is just not acceptable.