Disruptive behavior involving aggression, violence, illegal activity, or substance use, can be challenging for parents. You might even find that the more you try to redirect their behavior, the more your child rebels against you. You want to support your teen if they’re struggling with their mental health, but you don’t want to encourage harmful behavior. If you’re wondering what you can do to manage behavioral concerns, follow along as our experts break down misunderstood behaviors and how to approach them here.
Types of Disruptive Behavior
Moodiness, impatience, or self-isolating behaviors are all normal parts of adolescence. If your teen doesn’t want to spend time with you or gets frustrated easily, you’re seeing signs that your teen is still developing, and learning how to deal with impulse control and managing emotions.
Other behaviors that may be more worrying and point to mental health concerns are different. You might see your teen engaging in some of the following:
- Being physically abusive
- Getting into legal trouble
- Verbally abusing others
- Destroying property
- Abusing drugs or alcohol
Many parents want to believe that their child is simply going through a phase and that they’ll grow out of it. However, if your teen is exhibiting these behaviors, it’s likely that they need a little extra help to get back on track.
It’s also important to note that these behaviors don’t mean that your teen is destined for lifelong troubles. It can be more beneficial to look at these signs as a cry for help.
What Causes Disruptive Behavior?
Disruptive behavior can be caused by a number of factors, including oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) or struggles with ADHD, trauma, instability in their home life, and abuse. No matter why these misunderstood behaviors begin, it’s important to know that early intervention is key. Instead of waiting for your teen to grow out of harmful behaviors, speak with your primary doctor or a psychologist right away.
How to Help Teens Manage Behavioral Issues
Treatment for teens who are exhibiting disruptive behavior involves careful diagnosis along with therapy and counseling. Not all teens benefit from medication as part of their treatment, but certain medications can help manage the symptoms of mental health issues like anxiety or depression. Therapy and counseling can help your teen understand why they act the way they do and how to work through challenging emotions in a healthier way. If your teen is struggling with particularly strong urges or emotions, it may be time to seek more intensive, comprehensive therapy — like residential treatment.
Residential Treatment at Ascend
At Ascend Healthcare, we work with many teens whose underlying mental health concerns cause them to act out. While we can’t take teens who have violence outside of the home or with peers in order to keep our milieu safe, we can take kids who have had some violent outbursts at home, especially with parents when they try to take away their phones or hold firm boundaries.
Our experienced therapists have worked with teens and their families to get to the root of misunderstood behaviors, and we offer support for the whole family structure to help everyone evolve, learn, and thrive along with their child. During family therapy sessions, you’ll be able to repair damaged relationships and discover tools for better communication.
Disruptive behaviors don’t have to define your teen. Ascend can provide a supportive environment where your teen can reach a place of stability, learn lifelong coping mechanisms, and process the real cause behind their mental health concerns.