Raising a troubled teen can take a toll on your physical and emotional health. But there are ways to find joy in the process of helping your child through the rough spots. If you’re stressed, overwhelmed, and perpetually sad, you won’t be of much help to your child or family. Know that you can smile, laugh, and feel calm once again if you look for ways to make yourself happy. It’s called self-care or self-preservation. Some ways that will make you happy may come in unusual, surprising, and unexpected ways.
- Recognize the Small Moments
Though there are many iterations on this quote, here’s one version by author Anna Quindlen from her book “A Short Guide to a Happy Life“: “Life is made up of moments, small pieces of glittering mica in a long stretch of gray cement.” There is bound to be a time or two every day where you might hear or see something that brings you a split second of joy. Write it down, take a photo, or do something to remember that you, too, can feel happiness.
- See the Situation With New Eyes
One of the most powerful ways to handle a problem is to look at it from a different perspective. If your teen is rebellious, remember what it was like when you were your child’s age. It helps to soften the anger towards your teen a bit. Your teen may sense that you have let up somewhat on your anger, which may cause a subtle shift in their behavior.
- List Your Teen’s Strengths
You love your child, though you may be exhausted by the behaviors. Write down even one positive thing about your child. Maybe he or she is good with animals or excels at a sport. It will give you hope and happiness in remembering the good in him or her.
- List Your Own Strengths
It takes courage and strength to raise a teen on a good day. Raising a difficult teen takes more stamina and a realistic approach to life. Make a list of your own strengths so you can see why you should be proud of yourself for being their parent and persevering.
- Look for Moments of Growth
It’s so much easier to dwell on the negative than the positive. If you can train your mind to recognize those moments of growth in yourself and in your teen, you will find a sense of peace that there’s hope. Even if it’s a small thing; you didn’t yell when your teen was defiant, or your teen gave you a fleeting hug or told you what time they’ll be home.
- Take Naps
Raising a troubled teen gives you permission to indulge in small things like taking naps. You deserve the time and the joy a nap can give you, especially if you have sleepless nights worrying about your teen. Plus, you need to restore your energy to stay healthy.
- Realize All Teens Have Issues
There are no perfect teens or perfect families. Just accepting that can bring you a bit of happiness and sanity. You are not the only one who finds their child’s behavior to be a challenge, even if it feels like you are the only one raising a troubled teen.
- Remember Your Other Kids
When raising a challenging teen, you often put all the focus on their problems. If you have other kids, bask in the joys they bring you, and give them the time they need. It’s okay to share your attention with your troubled teen and other family members and to find happiness in being with them.
- Find Your Own Support
There’s nothing quite like being in the company of people who get you. You don’t need to explain yourself or your child’s behavior. Finding a weekly support group is like finding gold. Though there will be tears, you’ll also find yourself sharing moments of joy and laughter with them.
- Taking Action When Your Teen Is Troubled
When you’re raising a troubled teen or a teen headed for trouble, it can fill you with dread and fear. The one thing you can control is your own actions. Taking action to help your teen can bring you much-needed happiness because you know you’re capable of handling the problem. You know you’re not alone.
To find more help for your child, visit turningwinds.com. You will discover a loving community of experienced educators and therapists who understand what it takes to help your teen and your family find hope and happiness once again.