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How to Handle an Out-of-Control Teenage Daughter

by
author image Alia Butler
Alia Butler holds a Master of Social Work from Washington University, St. Louis, concentrating in mental health, and a Master of Arts in social-organizational psychology from Columbia University. Currently, Butler is a freelance writer, penning articles focusing on mental health, healthy living and issues surrounding work-life balance. She is the principle/owner of ALIA Living, LLC, providing residential interior design services, professional organizing and life coaching.
How to Handle an Out-of-Control Teenage Daughter
Teen girl with friend dancing in a club. Photo Credit Michael Blann/Photodisc/Getty Images

Some parents of teenagers have to deal with the out-of-control behaviors in which teens engage. A teenage daughter may stop listening to her parents' directions; she may leave and not inform her parents of her whereabouts; she may talk back to all authority figures; and she may engage in high-risk and/or impulsive behaviors. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, teens are biologically hardwired to behave, problem solve and make decisions differently from adults; teens may be impulsive, dangerous and irrational because their frontal cortex, which controls reasoning, is not fully developed.

Step 1

Make time for yourself. There are limits to what you can do if you feel stressed or overwhelmed; therefore, it becomes necessary when working with a child who is engaged in troubling behaviors to take time for yourself to recharge and renew. Attend to your own needs. Set aside time for yourself to focus on you and do things you enjoy. Keep your life on track. Maintain your appointments, such as doctor’s appointments.

Step 2

Get your own support system. Dealing with an out-of-control teenage daughter can be trying on marriages; it can make you feel alone and unsuccessful as a parent. Developing your own system of support will provide you with a network of people you can trust and turn to for support and ideas. Talk with a close friend or family member when you become overwhelmed by your daughter. Get involved with a mental health professional, such as a counselor. The counselor will be able to offer you guidance and assistance if your daughter's behaviors become unsafe and you need to take immediate action.

Step 3

Make sure your daughter is under the care of a mental health professional. According to TeensHealth.org, a teen who is engaged in out-of-control behaviors--such as falling grades, skipping school, getting in trouble with the law, using drugs or alcohol, showing drastic changes in personality or talking about suicide--may have underlying mental health problems that need to be addressed through treatment. Ask your daughter to begin working with a therapist. Help her maintain her commitment to therapy by taking her to sessions and ensuring she takes any medicine that is prescribed.

Step 4

Take her to the emergency room if her behaviors become uncontrollable and she refuses to engage in treatment. Uncontrollable behaviors may include aggressive behaviors, self-harm, drug abuse, running away or other high-risk behaviors. Tell the emergency room about her out-of-control behaviors. Ask for her to receive a full psychiatric evaluation.

Step 5

Set boundaries. An out-of-control teenage daughter will try to manipulate and sway you to get her way, which will only lead to more uncontrollable behaviors. Develop agreed upon limitations with your daughter’s other parent. Pledge to hold yourself to these boundaries no matter what your daughter does or says. Stick to the limitations you have agreed upon. Support the other parent when your daughter is trying to manipulate him/her.

Step 6

Avoid increasing the attention you give your daughter when she acts out. A teen who is out of control will engage in attention-getting behaviors if she feels she is not getting all the attention she wants. These behaviors may include things such as fighting, doing drugs, breaking the law or threatening to harm herself.

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