Have you recently picked up an article on troubled teenagers and secretly felt as though this would never be your problem? Many families feel just as you do that the world of troubled teenagers is relegated to families with whom you would never encounter. You may feel that troubled teenagers only come from broken homes; financially strapped or with histories of mental health problems. What you may not realize is that many of my clients, my population of troubled teenagers, come from warm and loving homes with parents who have tried their best to help their troubled teenagers become engaged members of their community. But try as they might, they have been unable to flip the switch from troubled teenager to engaged teenager. What is the magic that is necessary to make that change and what is it that parents are doing that is creating a plethora of troubled teenagers?
I wish it were as easy as to simply blame the parents for this dilemma. Having been one of those parents, I felt that somehow I must have done something wrong. However, when I start working with a family, the most important point that I want to convey is that blaming is the quickest way to stay stuck and not do anything. When families come to me with their stories of troubled teenagers and how they feel that they have made mistakes, I make every effort to move forward, rather than spend much time blaming what may have happened in the past. If you are willing to learn a new way; willing to look honestly at what you might be able to change, you will have the makings of truly helping your troubled teenager and enable them to return to the family, where they belong.