Strained Relations

Strained Relations: Help for Struggling Parents of Troubled Teens

Difficult Kids: Sometimes it really is the kid, not the parents.

Posted by Marcia on February 7, 2010

A woman I met talked about her heartache when her son was in Juvenile Hall. I didn’t ask what specifically had brought him to that point, but she said he’d been in and out of trouble since he was 9 years old.

Although the parents and child went for counseling, nothing was turning this child around. She knew she wasn’t a bad person or a terrible parent: they had another son who was polite, a good student, had lots of hobbies and interests. It helped them to know that it wasn’t all their fault.

When their son landed in Juvenile Hall, she went to visit every day at lunchtime. The first few months, she didn’t see any change in him, and maybe it was worse due to his anger and frustration over his situation.

Around 6 months in, she started to notice small changes. He finally understood that there are consequences in society, that his parents truly did want the best for him. He was locked up for over a year, and when he came out, he needed a lot of help. This time, he was ready to listen to parents and teachers, ready to talk with a counselor who could help him.

The family is still recovering from this trauma and have some tough work ahead, but are working as a family to address them.

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2 Responses to “Difficult Kids: Sometimes it really is the kid, not the parents.”

  1. Rebecca said

    Yes, sometimes it’s the kids. I was a very rebellious teen. I grew up in a very difficult environment and didn’t know how to handle it. I couldn’t speak to anyone about it for fear of repercussions. Plus, back in the 1980s when I was growing up there weren’t as many programs as there are for teens today. It’s important for kids to learn about cause and effect (actions = consequences). I realize the hell I put my mom through because she was doing the best she could with the situation we were dealt, but it still wasn’t easy

  2. Marcia said

    It would be interesting to read more about your own experiences and how your mom reacted, how you reconciled this as an adult.

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