Your Family
Parenting Kids Teen Behaviour Image Credit: Your Family
Parenting Kids Teen Behaviour Image Credit: Your Family

Handling An Out-Of-Control Teen

We expect a certain amount of difficult behaviour from teens, but what can be done when the line between rebellion and losing control is crossed?

Teens are at a complex, scary and often lonely point in their life’s journey. They’re caught between the bounds of childhood, still needing the comfort and safety of being a kid, and the freedoms of adulthood. While most teens tend to push the boundaries in their desire for experimentation and the exploration of adult life, some break those boundaries entirely, leaving parents worried about their safety and future opportunities. So how do you navigate life with a teenager when normal parenting techniques and punishments fail?


In his book Parenting Your Out-of-Control Teenager (Pan Macmillan), family trauma expert Scott P Sells, PhD, outlines examples of behaviours which would be considered beyond normal teenage bounds.

These characteristics often lead to a diagnosis of oppositional defiant disorder, or conduct disorder, if they persist over time:

Short temper and impulsive actions.

Consistent problems at school and performing badly academically.

Trying to project a ‘tough’ image, even though they’re feeling insecure deep down.

A lack of taking responsibility for their wrongdoing.

Struggling to get along with coworkers and maintaining a job.

Abusing alcohol or drugs beyond the normal realms of teen experimentation and taking part in other illegal activities like joyriding, vandalising property and shoplifting.

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