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Parenting a Difficult Teenager: But My Kid is a Good Kid!

Picture of Mary Warren
Mary Warren

Therapeutic Consultant
and Parenting Coach

Every parent worries about their child, but for some parents, it is more than just worrying. A difficult and disrespectful teenager can make your life a living hell.  Parents who are living in fear because their kid’s behavior is out of control, and they don’t know what to do about it.

“My kid is a good kid. He is not into heavy drugs (meth or heroin) has not been arrested for a violent crime and is not setting fires, but he is making my life HELL!”

Every day, a parent tells me this, and I understand because I felt the same way about my teenage daughter.

When my daughter was a teen, I knew she wasn’t a “bad” kid, but most days, I felt she was making my life a living hell. 

  • She was so disrespectful
  • She was failing school
  • She started to use drugs
  • She was sneaking out with boys

And if those behaviors weren’t scary enough, then I discovered she was stealing from stores and me. This was such a scary time! 


The Effect of Difficult and Disrespectful Teenager Behavior on the Parent

My daughter’s disrespectful behavior and poor choices nearly cost me my career. Every time my phone rang, I felt panicky and worried I would get fired. All of these phone calls meant I had to leave work to put out another one of her fires. 

I felt so helpless. I wasn’t sleeping and secretly crying all the time. I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and utterly alone. So yes, I felt like my life was a living hell!

I tried everything to make things better for my daughter and to improve our lives. For example, not only did we go to therapy together and separately, but when she refused to go to a therapist, I made arrangements to have the therapist come to our home. Then, I took her to her pediatrician, and they put her on meds for depression and anxiety unfortunately, that made things worse! 

Teen Self Esteem - Relevant Quote for Every Teenager Struggling with Self-esteem Issues.


Low Self-Esteem and Teenagers

Like most parents, there’s nothing I would not do to help my daughter, and after everything I tried failed, I thought the answer was to find a new environment. Surely if she weren’t hanging out with those “friends,” she would do better.  

Consequently, I found a new school for her. Imagine my despair when she found the same group of kids at the new school and then refused to do any school work.

This choice of hers made everything worse, and she dropped out of every activity that brought her joy: sports, bands, etc. It seemed the only thing my daughter wanted was to come and go as she pleased and to make my life hell. 

Despite all the drama, I knew without a doubt that she was a good kid.

My daughter is intelligent, funny, athletic, and very caring, and she loves animals and babies. I saw the good in her, but the problem with my daughter was that she didn’t see it in herself. Sadly, she felt lost and hated herself. 

Looking back at her choices and decisions, it was apparent how little she loved herself and had no self-esteem. 

I finally recognized that she needed more help than I could give her. Still, I was that same parent who thought only the bad kids got sent away to therapeutic programs, and SHE WAS NOT A BAD KID!  


How to Deal with a Chronically Defiant and Disrespectful Teenager?

Watching our kids make bad decisions is hard, and it is even harder to see them following down a dark path. As parents, we want nothing more than for our children to be happy and successful in life. So when they start to head down a dangerous path, it can be difficult to know what to do.

Here is the truth: there are excellent therapeutic programs for teens like yours and mine. These teen treatment programs are designed to help the good kids making poor choices make better ones. They treat the difficult and disrespectful teenagers who are vapingfailing school, and not following any rules.

These therapeutic teen programs provide support and guidance and teach teenagers to make better choices. They help them understand what they are feeling and why. They teach them compassionately how to improve their behavior. 

At the same time, they help teenagers recognize and understand the deeper underlying issues that cause self-esteem-related problems. In my line of work, I see effective and caring therapeutic programs’ dedicated staff and therapists help struggling adolescents daily.

When battling an angry and defiant teenager, it’s easy to forget our child’s mental health diagnosis or that they may have an undiagnosed mental health issue. These kids need treatment, not just better discipline or behavioral modification. 


Can Teen Wilderness Programs and Therapeutic Boarding School Traumatize or Harm My Child? 

Parents considering a wilderness or residential treatment program like a therapeutic boarding school must know that some have a reputation for being abusive and dangerous.  Many troubled teen programs have been accused of abusive and harmful practices, and many graduates have trauma from their experiences there. 

After working with these programs for over twenty years, I’ve seen firsthand the damage some of these programs can cause. For this reason, working with an educational consultant who can help you make informed decisions and not just rely on what you read online is crucial. 

Therapeutic programs have evolved over the years. Today’s best teen therapeutic programs offer treatment for technology addiction, depression, anxiety, substance use, trauma, emotional, conduct, and behavioral disorders, sleep disorders, suicidal tendencies, mental deficits, and low self-esteem. 

Therapeutic boarding school is an excellent option if your child has ADHD, is failing school, or is struggling with a learning disorder. These schools combine academic support with mental health and behavioral treatment. If your teenage child is unaccountable for their behavior and makes your life a living hell, there’s no better time than now to evaluate the right therapeutic option

In Conclusion, Timing is Everything

The time to start the process for a chronically difficult or disrespectful teenager is before they are suspended from school or get in trouble with the law. The best teen programs prefer to work with a child before they are “in trouble,” and the teen behavior is already on the drastic side of things. 

After your teen is at the extreme stage and things have progressed too far down south, these RTCs would not be able to accept them. Severe cases need a much higher level of care. The best way to help your teen is to take action before the situation gets out of control. So, if your teenager is a good kid making poor choices, reach out to me to discuss the right treatment options for your family. 

You may be interested in: 

Parent Coaching for parents struggling with a teen – Would you like to build a healthier relationship with your struggling teen?  Do you need to gain clarity on difficult child-rearing decisions that impact your teenager’s future?  Need someone to run a parenting situation by without being judged? 

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Struggling to connect with your teen?
Feeling Helpless about their behavior?

Restore peace in your home and help your teen find their path to emotional and physical wellness. Get expert guidance on strategies to manage conflict and support your teen’s emotional growth. Don’t wait. Get the support you need today.

Struggling to connect with your teen?
Feeling Helpless about their behavior?

Restore peace in your home and help your teen find their path to emotional and physical wellness. Get expert guidance on strategies to manage conflict and support your teen’s emotional growth. Don’t wait. Get the support you need today.

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