Challenging Teens


Teen Tips

Challenging Teen Behaviour


These suggestions are just that, suggestions, and do not replace talking to your therapist about what might work best for your family situation. However, these are researched and supported suggestions and a great place to start when thinking about your family. We hope you find some value in them.



What are the triggers for my teens difficult to manage behaviour today?

Not enough sleep?

Too much screen time?

Enough physical activity?



What rules, boundaries and expectations are within your home culture?

Rules Audit – Are yours:

Clear, reasonable and meaningful

Not too many

Described for positive understanding? do vs don’t

Help your teen to set their goals to manage/cope with anger



Have consequences:

Not punitive – Teens are the justice police so make your consequences make sense

Follow through and show leadership

Limit devices appropriately

Immediate response

Children need parents to be predictable and consistent

Be consistent – both parents, carers on the same page

Trust your judgement



Behaviour is usually linked to a message. What is behind the outburst? What is really going on for your teen? Are they struggling with juggling friends, expectations, school, and home? Is there family distress, conflict, change?


Make time with your teen. Plan small amounts of time doing something that has meaning for them. Sit with them and play (appropriately rated) game or go for a run with them.



Know yourself:

Pre-plan and practice your response

What pushes your buttons?

Stay calm, watch your tone

Teens model you

State/reinforce boundaries

Don’t engage in the emotion-walk away/ask them to walk away                                                       


Put together by Margi Wills, Counsellor at All About Kids

With reference to Rocker, L (2013) Managing difficult and challenging behaviour, Quirky Kid

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possible support for your family.

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