Curfews are an excellent way to discipline teens. They don’t involve any violence and physical or emotional pain like other disciplinary actions. However, parents should ascertain that their children understand why they should follow it and what would happen if they don’t. They should be able to grasp the logic and benefits behind such rule,or it will leave a question in their mind. Some teens don’t understand curfews, so instead of getting the benefits of it, they develop anger, annoyance, and frustration which then can lead to psychological issues such as anxiety and depression.
Raising an adolescent can be an extremely challenging time for both parent and teen. With added stressors like drugs and alcohol involved, it can be all the more harrowing. Every parent’s worst nightmare is for their teen to be abusing substances and alcohol. Not only do you fear for your teen’s health, their safety and who they might be associating with to get these substances, there is also the added terror because teenagers normally conceal this behavior from their parents. Once you even suspect your teen is using, the panic tends to set in and your head swims with questions. Hopefully this article can help you sort through some of these worries and give some guidance on where to from here.
Who’s to blame?
The most important thing to recognize is that these things happen. Particularly during the teen years. This is a time where your child starts to test the boundaries and work out their own limits. This means engaging in some risk taking behaviors and no one in particular is to blame for this. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have done anything wrong in raising them and you certainly shouldn’t blame yourself (or anyone else for that matter). Substance is not as straight forward as some might believe. There are a variety of things that contribute to substance use and if anything, it has been found that family factors are generally more positive in fighting substance abuse as opposed to negative. There may be a genetic component, but even so, blaming yourselves for this will get you nowhere. What you can do though is work with your teen in fighting their substance abuse.
How do you know they are using?
It is not always a definite indicator that they have a substance abuse disorder, but generally if your adolescent goes through a drastic change in behavior without a known cause, it could e a sign that something is going on. These changes in behavior could involve withdrawing from their friends, acting hostile or particularly moody, a dramatic drop in their school performance, disinterest in grooming and hygiene, lack of interest in things they previously enjoyed, changes in eating and sleeping habits and a breakdown of relationships.
Now I suspect, what do I do?
Drug and alcohol is a serious concern and can have many health concerns if not treated correctly. For this reason, the best first step is to seek professional help. Book an appointment with your doctor and they can screen for signs of drug use. It may be helpful to speak with them beforehand to ensure they are comfortable with this. If they aren’t, ask for a referral to a drug and alcohol specialist. This can take a lot of courage on both your part and also your child’s part. It is important that you discuss this with your child and let them know that you will be there to support them through this. Be aware that treatment will likely mean having to put other tasks aside such as schoolwork and any other hobbies and interests for your child. However, right now it is most important that your teen receives this treatment as soon as possible and anything else can come after they are back on their feet.
What if they don’t want to go for treatment?
Addiction is a horrible disease and can cause people to change fundamentally. Most addicts have an intense fear of what will happen to them if they can no longer use their vice. This can make getting them to treatment quite difficult. However, focus on giving them incentives for small goals (rather than trying to strong hand them) to encourage them to comply. If they are fearful, explain to them what is involved in treatment and assure them that professionals will keep them safe and comfortable through this time. Most of all, let them know you will be with them every step of the way to support their recovery journey.
What can I do at home to help?
To begin with, talk to your teenager. Try an ensure that you are able to do this in a calm and non-judgmental approach. This does not mean agreeing that the substance use is okay, it means trying to keep emotions out of it (other than care and love). Choose a quiet and calm time in a private space. Start with showing interest and concern, asking questions rather than accusing and encourage them to problem solve themselves around this. Acknowledge their opinions about the subject but be aware that they may be censoring what they tell you in fear of losing access to the substance. Finally, set clear boundaries. These can include:
- Obviously no substances in the house and making it clear to them that using is unacceptable.
- Confiscating their driver’s license to ensure they are safe. This may cause big arguments but it is much better than the alternative of them driving under the influence of a substance.
- Giving an earlier curfew time or only allowing them out for school and family related tasks. This will reduce their access to the substance and likely the peers who were providing it.
Helping someone through a substance use problem can be a very difficult task. It takes a toll on your relationship and on your own mental health. It is most important to involve a professional in these matters and ensure you are taking care of yourself also.
With the continuous evolution of society and increases in technology come new opportunities for research and different ways to communicate. While this is wonderful in terms of advancements in science and development, it also comes with its cons. One that seems to be growing in terms of prevalence, particularly in adolescents is technology addiction. With the significant growth in technology in the past 20 years, it is now more accessible and widespread. It has also become a much more immersive experience than it has ever been before and unfortunately this seems to be capturing our teens. As Doreen Dodgen-Magee, Psy.D says, “As a psychologist and researcher, I have been examining this interplay between technology and mental health for nearly two decades. While technology can do incredible things for us in nearly every area of life, it is neither all good nor benign.”
Many parents may say their teenager is obsessed with technology but there is a big difference between enjoying a bit of time on the computer and having a technology addiction. Below we clarify this for you and give some tips on how to ensure your teen has a healthy balance of technology with other interests.
What is a technology addition?
According to Dr. David Greenfield, “The Internet is the world’s largest slot machine, and the smartphone is the world’s smallest slot machine.” You would be hard pressed to find an adolescent today in a first world country who does not own or have access to a smart phone. Add on top of this many have gaming consoles, laptops, iPads or tablets and the list goes on. With this, adolescents can spend a lot of time using technology and I must admit that even adults are guilty of this sometimes. It becomes a technology addiction though when someone is using the technology as a coping mechanism in a way to avoid life’s problems. For example, scrolling through Facebook when they are getting in trouble or playing video games instead of going to school because they are bullied by their peers.
Why does this seem more prevalent in teens?
There are two reasons why teens are particularly susceptible to this. First, their coping mechanisms are still developing and are generally pretty poor. This means that when they are stressed or upset, they turn to the easiest thing for comfort and reassurance. They highly accessible nature of technology combined with the fact that it can be a very immersive experience makes it the perfect go to for a stressed adolescent.
The other reason adolescents are particularly vulnerable to this type of addiction is due to the main developmental goal during this stage– developing an identity. With technology, the internet, online gaming, social media, message boards and chat rooms, you can create whatever identity suits you. This anonymity gives the adolescent a chance to escape reality to some extent and express themselves in different ways without jeopardizing their ego.
Problems with a technology addiction in teens
Untreated, a true technology addiction can cause significant problems for your teen. These include the following:
- Withdrawing from friends and family and avoiding “real world” social interactions because the anonymity of the internet is safer.
- Negative impact on school work
- Decreased exercise leading to higher chance of obesity
- For those involved in violent gaming, increased aggression
- Loss of hobbies as they choose only to focus on the technology
- Negative impact on sleep
- If not supervised access, increased vulnerability (possible grooming, online bullying, exposure to inappropriate content),
How can you help?
- Have an open and honest talk with your teenager. Let them know that you are concerned about their use of technology and the impact it is having on them.
- Set boundaries around their technology use. Keep in mind this is an addiction, so quitting ‘cold turkey’ is unlikely to be successful. Gradually reduce their technology use so that they have a healthy balance between this and other activities and hobbies.
- Carefully monitor their internet use and the privacy settings on their social media profiles to ensure they are not being exposed to inappropriate content or bad influences.
- Look for other creative and interesting ways for them to expend this energy, rather than turning to video games or online browsing. Try and choose activities based around their interests. They need to be appealing to pull them away from the technology.
- Teach them coping skills (rather than turning to their phone). By taking their technology away, you are taking one of their main coping strategies from them. Make sure that you replace this with something. Things such as learning to talk to someone about their concerns, relaxation or mindfulness strategies or even just listing some pleasurable activities they can do to release stress (such as taking a bath or reading a book) can be helpful.
- If you feel that you and you teenager cannot see eye-to-eye about their use of technology or they are significantly struggling to reduce their use, it may be beneficial to seek counseling.
“Psychologists and sociologists have obviously been studying and debating about screens and their effects for years,” says Andrew Przybylski, who is himself a psychologist at the Oxford Internet Institute.
Parenting can be challenging when it comes to “training” your child to become a better individual. You want to practice discipline since your child’s behavior will reflect on you as a parent. But did you know that there are two faces of disciplining your child? You can be too strict, or you are too permissive.
Being too strict or too permissive is not good. Both instances have its consequences. (You can read a blog published on this site about controlling parents.) Now on this article, pushover parents and what happens to their child are featured. With this, it is best that you know the signs if you are a pushover or not and know the consequences of this kind of parenting.
- No Routine Or Limits
It is very common for parents who are busy all the time. Because of their demanding schedules, they tend to neglect their kids. Chores are left undone, and your child misses his extra-curricular activities. No one is checking up on them. This lack of monitoring can result in raising irresponsible and lazy kids.
- Avoiding Conflict
Working parents are always too tired to check on their kids. More so, to avoid further discussions on a particular topic, they tend to agree or give in to the child’s wishes. As a result, the child wins, and in the long run, he will have that thinking that he can get what he wants. On the parents’ side, they choose to be lenient to avoid conflict with their children which is a future disaster.
- Making School As An Excuse
One of the signs that you are indeed a pushover parent is when your child uses school or schoolwork to avoid doing a chore at home. It only shows that you have no power over your child and that he does whatever he pleases to do. You cannot make him do something because he has this thinking that you don’t have a say on any matter when he uses school as a reason to get away.
- Trying To Be Friends With Your Teens
It is a fact that teenagers are challenging to handle. But pushover parents who think that they can win their teenagers by being “bff’s” with them is downright wrong. In this situation, parents tend to pull down the boundaries in an attempt to reach out. They become friends with their teenager and even give in to whatever he wants. It may lead to having open communication with your child which in a way is a good thing, but your teenager will not take you seriously. As a result, your kid will not obey you if he finds that a rule is an inconvenience to him.
- Rewarding Kids With Technology
Gadgets can offer a lot of conveniences, but it can do no good to your child if used without limits. Permissive parents are too busy or preoccupied, and they tend to give in to whatever their kid wants so that he won’t act out. One of the favorite choices of kids these days is the smartphone and parents reward these gadgets to their kids to keep them busy so that they can proceed with whatever they have to do.
Doing this will indeed keep the kids occupied for quite some time. But then studies show that overuse of gadgets is harmful to kids and adults alike. It can affect one’s behavior, attention span and even their perception of a lot of things. No smartphone can substitute for the benefits of parents’ time with their kids – always remember that.
Are you a pushover parent? If you are, then why are you still wondering why your kid is violating curfew? If they can’t take you seriously, then curfew violation is a possible consequence of being a pushover parent. You have to set limits; you can’t be best friends with your child especially your defiant teenager. You have to give them responsibilities at home, find solutions to conflict by addressing it head-on and not avoiding it, and limit gadget use. These may sound simple, but at least you’re doing something to correct your child’s behavior.
Also, your behavior needs curbing. Speak with an online therapist on ways to help you with being a pushover parent. During online therapy, these counselors have specific techniques to assist you in working out the issues.
Knowing The Red Flags Of Being Too Stern And Controlling
There is nothing wrong with disciplining your child. However, it also has its limits. You can either be too controlling or be too relaxed. But in most cases, the problem is the former – some parents practice too much control or dominance on their children.
Being overly strict has its long-term negative impacts on the child. It could lead to behavioral issues and habit problems, according to a psychiatrist and experts in University College London led by Dr. Mai Stafford. With this, it is also helpful to know the red flags of being too stern before it’s too late.
You Choose Your Kid’s Clothes For Him All The Time, And He’s 10 Years Old
If you are not allowing your child to act according to his age, and do the things he is supposed to do such as dress himself, then you have a problem with control. You should allow your child to move freely and one of those things is for him to have a choice – what to wear and what not to wear, for example. He needs to learn about independence, and this is one way of helping him.
Punishments Or Penalties Seem Like Forever
There is a reason why you set a period when your child misbehaves, depending upon his error. But when parents don’t have that particular disciplining tool in mind, it can be disastrous. Think about the impact of the punishment on your child when he is grounded for more than a month (because you forgot) for misbehavior that could have been “served” for a week.
You Give Orders With No Feedback
You impose the rules without explanation and force the child to follow it. This thing smells “rebellion” on the kid’s part, very soon.
It’s Your Way Or The Highway
You don’t allow your child to have options with the rules you’ve imposed. That’s not good at all. Let him speak.
The Consequences Are Too Big
Imposing a punishment not par to what the child has done is a red flag indeed. Over punishing the kid is a sign of being too strict and that can cause future problems.
There’s An Absence Of Fun At Home
No laughter, no praising and no fun around the house is a sign that you are too much of a disciplinarian. You’ll lose your child’s love in no time if you continue to be like that.
You Never Let Your Child Go Anywhere With Other Kids His Age
Not allowing your child to interact with other kids can hinder his social development. He may develop social anxiety over time if you continue to do that to your kid.
Unrealistic Expectations Are Set For The Child To Follow
You set expectations that are way beyond your child’s age and capacity. He will feel bad about himself with your unrealistic expectations, and that can affect his mental state.
He Is Afraid To Show His Report Card
When your kid hides his report card from you, it means that he is scared of how you will react and the punishment that comes along with it. The fear is too much.
Your Child Threatens To Run Away
A child who threatens to run away is already resisting parental authority.
You Never Engage In A Healthy Conversation With Your Child
When you don’t share your past experiences with your child, he will never learn from you. Don’t fear that your child will use it against you.
Forcing Your Child To Play The Same Sport That You Also Did
You are controlling the child and not allowing him to make his own decisions about sports. Forcing him to play the same sport is not a good sign.
Reprimanding and continuously reminding or nagging your child is genuinely overwhelming.
Your Child Withdraws From You
When your child chooses to stay away from you, this is a sign of withdrawal.
If you have your child’s every day activity planned out to the last detail, then you are controlling him. Kids also need time for themselves.
Ice Cold Parent
Kids will feel unloved if parents are too cold due to strictness.
These are some of the most concrete reasons as to why your children may become rebellious. When they are controlled too much at home, they want to break free. Rebelling can give them that feeling and with rebellion comes staying out late and violating curfew.
You want the best for your child. All parents aim for that, but if you are too stern, you will get the opposite. There must be balance, or else you will lose your child in the process of disciplining him too much.
In my earlier blog post, I suggested activities and ways to have fun with your child and spouse. As a parent myself, I always want to feel that my teen and I are in the same boat. My husband and I have always been involved with our kids and being a close-knit family makes me complete. Experiencing beautiful things with them and knowing that they’re happy brings me great joy. I hope it is the same for you.
Resilient, unpredictable, and adventurous – these are just some of the many adjectives that can be associated with teenagers. When you are a teenager, you are at a stage of life where you just can’t stay put – always eager to explore the world. It is one of the reasons why teens are rebelling against curfew and for that, things must change at home.
Every teenager goes through rebellion stage and overcomes it eventually. The intensity of rebellion will depend on the environment the teenager is exposed to, the factors that have triggered it and the involvement of the parents through the process. In this light, parents must never show their marital problems to their child. If ever you have issues, it must be discussed behind closed doors.
Though it is a fact that rebellion is quite typical in teens, still, it shouldn’t be tolerated nor taken for granted by parents. Rebellion usually takes place when your teenager transitions into the young adult phase. Such phenomenon can cause, most of the time, conflict and chaos within the household. However, instead of going head-to-head with your teenager, it is best that you find ways to connect with him and help him out through the transition.
As parents, we all dream of raising the perfect teenagers — talented, confident, but responsible. But in reality, most teens will make mistakes once in a while. The teenage years can be especially stressful for any parent because of the hormones and other growing pains your child will experience at this time.