Help! – My Teenager is Out of Control

Written By: Heather
Heather Kempton Coquitlam Couples Counsellor

If you are struggling with your teenager’s behaviour read through the following four key points that outline how to gain an understanding of what they need and what you can do to help.

Taking a look back

Negative events that take place prior to the age of 7 help to shape a child’s personality, forming their view of self and their place in the World. A child’s primary caregiver has the most profound effect on development in the early years. Gaining an understanding of your child’s environment during this time will provide valuable information in identifying how your teenager has learned to express and manage their emotions. If a child was never taught how to identify emotions and provided with healthy options to express and manage them, then their ability to act on their emotions as a teenager will have the potential for more lasting and harmful consequences.

Identify the cause

If you recognize a change in your teenager’s behaviour it is important to pay attention to the possible cause related to this change. Extreme changes in personality do not develop as a result of nothing thus, it is essential as a parent to identify what is going on. It may be a recent event, or something more deep-rooted.


With technology becoming so advanced, easy access to drugs, as well as the growing increase in demands and stress placed on parents to provide for their teenagers today, teenagers have become more susceptible to make unhealthy decisions than ever before. Your teenager will become exposed to so many types of influences that it is essential that as a parent that you remain a positive, and reliable individual that creates an environment where your child can speak to you without being judged. By providing an environment where your child feels approved, valued, loved and understood at home, they are less likely to turn elsewhere to search for the sense of acceptance they so deeply need.

Be a parent not a friend

A relationship full of love, compassion, and acceptance is ideal, but it is important to remember that you are providing guidance for your child’s survival and that your goal is not to form a friendship, but to be a parent. Your responsibility is to ensure the well-being and safety of your child’s emotional and physical safety. Intervening in a danger situation such as substance abuse; emotional, physical, sexual abuse; or truancy, might make your child dislike you, but it will also save his or her life. Don’t turn a blind eye or go along in order to feel accepted and loved by your child, do what is in the best interest of your child.

The power of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviour will have a profound affect on directing your teenager to where you want them to go. In order to show your teenager how to be happy, well balanced, adjusted and fulfilled adults it is essential to do a personal inventory and recognize how are you engaging in life on a daily basis. Are you feeling stressed all of the time? Possess a negative attitude? Engaging in self-destructive behavioural patterns? If you answer yes to any of the above it is time to create a life where you feel capable, fulfilled and embrace healthy relationships with self and others. If you are barely getting by on a day to day basis, your children will also feel the effects. If you are at a loss on how to connect with your teenager and are watching things spiral out of control, it is time to do something different then what is currently not working.

If you feel this speaks to you and you would like to explore these thoughts further please feel free to contact me, as I am here to help you to achieve your optimal life.


Heather Kempton, MA, RCC, Life Coach