Normal teen rebellion can cross the line and become manipulative and controlling. One day you can discover that the power relationship in the family has changed and your teen is running the show. Parents can end up being intimidated by bullying, violent teens or walking on egg shells for fragile teens prone to self-harm, drug abuse, or other harmful behavior.
Is Your Teen In Control?
Often teens get their way by displaying mean and threatening behavior. This happens often when a teen is physically bigger and stronger than the parent. Teens also engage in behavior that leads parents to believe they are fragile and easily damaged. Parents then find themselves constantly worrying about damaging them further. These are the two primary ways troubled teens manipulate the family. Either way, the teen gets their demands met ahead of the other members of the family.
This situation throws they whole family into turmoil. There is no more direction in the family and everyone begins to feel the pain of a ship without a rudder. For parents who find themselves in this situation, it is critical to take back control of the family.
Getting Back Control
Your job as the parent is to figure out how to take back control of the family. Someone needs to run the family in a sane and sensible manner, and it certainly is not going to be your teenager. So, what do you do to take back control of the family?
First, do not blame yourself. The world comes crashing in and there are many things that affect the lives of teens beyond your control. The best thing is not to place blame on yourself and feel guilty. Things happen and you do your best. Let it go and move forward with a plan to set things straight.
Understand that it took a while for the situation to develop and it may take a while for you to regain control. You need to think about how to get your teen the help they need and begin the process of healing the family. For most parents this is uncharted waters. That means you should get professional help from a family therapist to help you with the process. Your teen needs help with their problems. And also, the family needs to have the power dynamics adjusted so that the parents are back in control.
This is a complex and dynamic situation with no set formula for success. A struggle for power within the family can be emotionally draining, especially in these types of situations. You may want to find someone outside the family to confide in so you can get emotional support and are able to unwind while you are dealing with this stressful situation.
A Difficult And Rewarding Challenge
Dealing with a troubled teen who has taken over your family is a arduous task full of drama and risk. By taking on the challenge, you –the parent– can help your teen grow emotionally into a healthy adult. This is how you get your life back.
In his talk on Willingness, Aaron talks about a mother who took control back from an intimidating son.