Troubled Teens

Troubled teen boy In the past few weeks, I overheard talk about a teenager (let’s call him Jonathan), who used to be friendly and “normal”, besides being very talented, but who recently started to miss classes, show up late, fail various subjects and behave indifferently. One speculation was that he might have started using drugs.

I thought this was serious enough to report to his school through a friend of ours, who is his teacher. “Speculation or not, the school should look into it”, I said.

“No, it doesn’t”, said everyone else, “It’s none of our business and if we bring up drugs as an option, he might get labeled as a user and suffer.

“Isn’t it clear he’s suffering already?” I pointed out.

“Yes, but maybe it’s something different and we shouldn’t butt in”, came the answer and that was that.

This got me thinking about the issue of “troubled teens”. When I was looking online for keywords related to Ronit’s book, “Be Special, Be Yourself for Teenagers“, the phrase “troubled teens” featured prominently as something many people (parents?) were searching for and that many websites were offering solutions to.

What is a troubled teen?

“Is Jonathan a ‘troubled teen’? How would I know? If he is, what could be troubling him?” I wondered.

So I got online and searched for what defines troubled teens. Here is a (partial) list:

  • Out of control
  • Isolated
  • New social circle
  • Concealment
  • Problems at school
  • Eccentricity
  • Drugs and/or alcohol
  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Violence
  • Negative body image
  • Nervous breakdown
  • Moodiness

(More on the excellent free site, Troubled Teens Help)

Troubled teen boyOur young friend Jonathan qualifies under several categories: isolation, concealment, school problems, eccentricity, moodiness, perhaps depression and possibly drugs.

Now, the list above is only one of symptoms, so what might be troubling young adults and cause them to display one or more of the symptoms listed?

Last week, I got a call from a couple of parents, whose teenage son was running away from home and school on a regular basis. They felt very helpless and did not know what they could do for their son. While I was talking to them, I did not hear a single word about what their son wanted, what might have been bothering him or what he has told them in conversation. I also heard nothing from these parents about any plans to take charge of the situation. It was all helpless desperation.

How troubled teens are made

My theory on this is simple. Troubled teens’ parents have incorrect priorities in life and personal space issues.


Parenting priorities

Well, think of most (not all, but most) of the parents around you who have a teenager in the house. Do they work late? Do they spend little time with their teen children? Do they fight with them a lot? Do they insist on academic performance, manners and helping around the house? Do they try to limit their teen kids’ time in front of the TV, the video games and the computer?

Troubled teenage girl Think about it. If your teenager is moody, stops sharing exciting news with you, shuts their room door when you walk by, hangs out with kids you do not know, looks tired and even unhealthy and you worry about grades, do you have your priorities straight? If you spend a few more hours at work to keep the boss happy and possibly make more money, while your teenage child spends his or her time with other people doing God knows what, do you have your priorities in the right order?

Is there anything more important to you than your kids?

If anything serious should happen to your troubled teen, will it be any consolation to you that your boss was happy with your work?

Are we in agreement about the priorities issue yet?

Do not get me wrong here. In too many families today, the situation dictates longer work hours and longer commutes than were ever required just to make a living. Still, if your child owns and operates a latest model video game and hardly spends any time with his parents, something here stinks.

Quality time with a relaxed, accessible parent or two is not a luxury. It is a necessity.

Parenting and personal space for teens

Most of western society is based on ideas like human rights, personal freedom and personal choice. Unfortunately, too many people apply these ideas in situations where they are not applicable. Parenting, for instance.

By now, I am sick of seeing the following scene in movies and on TV: parent says something to teen, teen refuses, parent shouts at teen, teen shouts back, goes to room and slams the door in parent’s face.

Troubled teen girlIf this happened in my house and I thought the situation was serious enough, I would have no problem whatsoever entering my teen’s room and doing whatever it took to sort things out. Sure, my kids might think I am nosy, bossy or obnoxious, but they always know I care and they are certain beyond a doubt that I will never leave them alone in a pinch.

The whole personal space issue with kids is based on the misconception that they can take care of themselves. What utter nonsense! Even legally adult kids nowadays know very little about taking GOOD care of themselves. Most of them still have not figures out important things in life, like their choice of career, their choice of life partner, their choice of lifestyle and so on. They are confused and afraid, and if their parents do not provide some order and structure in their life, they may very well fall to pieces.

By giving teens personal space to sort things out for themselves, we are actually standing by and witnessing their decline, while letting them down all the time.

If we love our kids, we must show it with our rules and our uncompromising values. We must bear the short-term struggles for the long-term safety and strong relationships with our dear children. If we do not do it, who will?!

What can you do as a parent?

Ronit, Gal and Eden Baras So if it looks like your teen is no longer the cute and lovable creature he or she used to be and he or she is turning into an uncommunicative, moody, sloppy, indifferent, ill-mannered mess, get up and do something about it, even if it hurts at first. Open up your heart to your troubled teens, tell them how much you love them, tell them you will NEVER give up on them, tell them you will always be there to help them and force them to obey the rules in your house.

This blog is full of posts about communicating with your kids. There is even a video that will bring tears to your eyes and give you perspective. Arm yourself with good knowledge and win your troubled teen back, whatever it takes!

Oh, and if you know anyone who might need to read this post, why not send it to them? It may be easier for them to “hear” it from me.

Passionate parenting,

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  • Troubled Teens

    I like your point about parents’ priorities. I’ve worked in wilderness camps and residential boarding schools. There is a lot of time to think and talk with the kids. In most cases I was amazed at the relationship the kids had with their parents. Many of them (the parents) were both extremely successful but didn’t spend more than a few days a year with their kids (mostly holidays). Time really is the most important gift we can give our kids.

  • Boarding Schools For Troubled Teens

    I think parents have got the idea that they should be well informed & educated enough to take appropriate measure in the early stages when child is deviating from the right path. Parents of troubled teens wants to get their troubled teen onto a right path by sending them to a troubled teen boarding school, therapeutic boarding school, boot camps etc. Although, parents need to be very careful of which program best suite for their teen.

  • Gal Baras

    I’m sorry to disagree. Sending your child away is the opposite of the solution. I believe problems must be faced and fixed, not avoided or handed over to “the professionals”.

    Parents have the ultimate responsibility for their teens and must own up to it or they will recreate the problem after their teens come back from boarding school or troubled teen camp. I’ve met men who were sent away to boarding school and they all wish their parents were different and kept them at home.

    Building your parenting skills is a MUCH better solution for everyone (including the younger siblings of the troubled teens).

  • Ronit Baras

    Hi Boarding schools for troubled teens,

    I think parents should be well informed and it is good if they are educated but not enough and it is their responsibility to find the information they need to keep their kids in what seems the right path to them – this is why I have a challenge with the concept of boarding school. The right path needs to be the right for them! not for people living somewhere away from home. Kids needs to be able to make their life right by taking the best they can from their sources of influence : Parents, family members, teachers and what you are offering is giving up the parents, giving up the family members and putting their eggs ( hopefully the most precious eggs) in one basket. woooo, I would say that is risky.

    I know many schools that can do a great job. I know many boot camps that can do a great job. I know many programs that are very successful but they all have to have the same ingredient : teaching something that can be implemented in the real world – a boarding school is not a real world to my opinion.

    I have clients coming into my balcony every day and I keep telling them, if you come for the one hour joy of Ronit making me feel great – do not come. Everything we do here needs to be part of your life out there, with your wife, your husband, your kids, your boss, your parents. feeling good here is not good enough for me and it should not be good enough for you either. My balcony is pretty with palm trees and butterflies and parrots around – it is not real life. It is not even my real life.
    Boarding school is not real because we can’t live there for the rest of our lives.
    Boarding schools are gendered schools and this is not real life, in real life there are boys and girls and we need to learn to associate with them.

    Sorry, I would not recommend it.

    Family Matters

  • Ronit Baras

    Hi Troubled teens,

    It is sad, you are right, kids could benefit lots from spending more time with their parents.
    Even more than having flashy gadgets, fancy clothes and private schools, spending time with mom and dad could give any troubled teen what they really need.
    lots of work demands and financial challenges makes lots of parents work longer hours and spend less time with their kids. You are so right “parents’ presence is their present”
    I am sure camps can do great for kids but they need to be temporary and able to make life better for the kids but not life itself

    Happy parenting
    Family Matters

  • distant school boy

    I remember being a rebel when I was a teen.

  • Ronit Baras

    Did it work?
    What did you learn from it?
    What can you tell all rebel kids now that will help them?


    The Motivational Speaker

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  • Boarding Schools Troubled Teens

    I think you’re refering to behavioral game theory here. Advanced – classic – game theory still makes all those assumptions.

  • Gal Baras

    @Boarding Schools Troubled Teens, Please understand this is a PARENTING blog and we are always (always) advocating parental responsibility over what happens with kids, troubled teens or otherwise.

    Our philosophy, which is based mostly on our personal experience (not on Game Theory), is that when parents follow certain basic rules – positive focus/language, good use of communication styles and love languages, firm but realistic boundaries and respect for their kids/teens as individuals – things can be turned around at home.

    Sure, there are situations that make this difficult, but most parents who send their kids away should only do it to give themselves time to regroup and then re-integrate their troubled teen into the home. Expecting the boarding school or camp to fix a problem they have created will only cause the troubled teen to stay away, which is not a good thing.

    I hope this makes it clearer,
    Parent Coaching Works!

  • troubled teens

    The above article is informative and helpful for troubled parents with lots of considerable information. Teen parenting these days is not an easiest tasks to parents. It is helpful for teen parents to gain more teens information which would help them to understand teen problems and plan result oriented solution by themselves. Get more teens information by sharing your valuable views with other teens parents.

  • Brad Yomen

    Your observations about misplaced priorities are real stingers. I hope plenty of people dealing with troubled teens take a look at their own priorities and those of their children.

  • Gal Baras

    Thanks, Brad. Sadly, today’s post (Eulogy by a Coach) is about a father who talked about putting his teens first, yet ended up doing two things that are likely to trouble them for the rest of their lives.

  • teen help

    The suggested tips are helpful for most of the parents experiencing with troubled teens, it is helpful for every parent to maintain healthy environment in the house which itself helps to deal with any sort of teen problems in a healthy way.

  • megan m

    hi, my name is megan. i have a brother who is 15 and very angry, he is extremely troubled as our parents split nearly 4 years ago. he moved and lived with my mum and her new partner. their relationship was on the rocks and still is, and my mum has said some things i dnt think should have been said. but my brother after going through always getting in trouble if my mums partner left. my mum would always take it out on us kids but mainly my brother. and now he is extremely angry to everyone. he is threating to hit, he swears and he has no respect for anyone.
    im scared for my brother cause i dnt like to see him like this and i dnt like to see what he is doin to this family. he cares about nothing, and im worried.
    please help.

  • Help for troubled teens

    Really the tips given above are helpful for parents who are experiencing problems with their kids.

  • Gal Baras

    @megan m, I’m not sure how old you are, and the situation you are describing is quite difficult to change from a child’s position. I’d say you can still do some things, though:

    • Note that your mother is human. She is in a tough spot too and may not be able to control her own feelings, let alone provide comfort to you and your brother. However, it is likely she wants to do the right thing, so talk to her straight – don’t blame, just tell her how you feel and ask for what you want.
    • Try to get your brother to see your mother as a hurt person too. Tell him how you feel and ask him for what you want, which is for him to feel good again.
    • Kids often blame themselves for their parents’ separation. They also feel rejected by their parents, who are not staying together for the sake of their kids. These feelings hurt and lot, but they are utter nonsense, so why hang on to them? You and your brother can (try to) talk to both your parents openly about why they broke up and how you kids fit into all of it. I’m sure your brother will quickly realize his hard feelings were imaginary.
    • Talk to the school counselor
    • Visit this page for resources teenagers can use to improve relationships with their parents or call 1800 050 321 (this is in Australia)
    • If you mum is willing to do this, she can contact us and we’ll be happy to help (we’re on the south side of Brisbane).

    I hope this helps!

  • LOZ

    Hi all- It’s sad! I see your comments (Baras ladies) as case of one size fits all!
    An example, when you have parent of troubled teen age girl
    1.Tried everything they know
    2.Walked every possible and impossible angle,
    3.Worked and still working on their parenting skills, and they would die for their child and they would do their best to stay strong focused and healthy to take care of this precious young lady.

    when you and only you know that your child best sent to place where she’s Safe have no access to substances and best of all she’s asking you to get her out this ‘bad influence communities’
    placing our children at constructive safe place for only short time in their life it won’t hurt them nor hurt the relationship between them and their parents in my opinion, in fact it might allow them to grow, focus on what their really want to achieve for themselves in their future, and whilst they have no access to illegal substances, they might be able to exercise their way to clear and positive way of thinking as they now and only now have their brain finally rejuvenating’ I hope that made sense’

    I’m not discounting parent’s responsibilities, but I can only speak for myself
    I know that I would jump all kind of hoops to get my daughter of the street.
    She is loving, caring, sweet young lady, she still says I love you mummy.
    She knows that I would die for her; she also knows that I will do anything to insure her safety,
    If that means Boot camps or Farm environment, than yes as long as it provides Safety, Way to happiness, way to self respect, Respect for others, positive activities, therapy in some sort? One could only hope!

    My daughter at school holiday camp Wright now and she’s having the time of her life. I had to pay $1000 legal fees to have consent as DHS where against it, their argument was she will abscond; she will not like it, sending her away will not fix the problem. And more of this nonsense comments (with all do respect)

    I had to put one foot front of the other and keep moving forward and that means ignoring child protection services I believe that when they say no they only protecting themselves and their position instead of doing better job in protecting the children.

    I know that I did not take my daughter to camp to run away or hide away instead of facing the problem, I’m in fact owning up and facing the problems by doing something about it, for now one week camp activities is way of breaking the cycle, allowing my daughter room to feel ‘normal life’ again according to her interpretation of the situation. She is happy there and having fun, and that means money well spent.

    I will do it again.

    To all parents out there Please Please follow your heart and DO NOT LET ANYONE TELL YOU WHAT’S BEST FOR YOUR CHILD as long as you are deserving parent ‘ with all do respect to all parents’.

    Finally, professionals help and advice are great but remember most are case of one size fits all.
    If you have professionals helping you just keep the communication clear and honest about how would you like them to help? And you can all be one hand or on the same page in order to help your child/children. I know I have struggled a lot with professionals help, now I do fight or flight-you don’t like them or they don’t like you OR you both get on each other’s nerves than do something about it because at the end of the day your child will be the one to miss out in here.

    I appreciate your time

    Love and respect your children like you do your friends.

  • Help for troubled teens

    It seems to be the tips are really very helpful for parents who are looking for help for troubled teens.

  • Elizabeth

    Hi what a relief to read LOZ and to know that my daughter is not alone in what she is experiencing with her 14yr old daughter. Congratulations on having found a camp where she is happy and becoming positive. My granddaughter since meeting new girls at school last term has become a truant, shoplifter, alcoholic, drug user, thief, liar, she is unkempt & absconds persistently from home and school. The education dept told her they couldn’t enforce her attendance at school so she never attends even tho some of her ‘bad’ friends do. This week she and her new buddy had absconded from school before the police who brought them back for truanting had left the premises and they haven’t been seen since. The police say as an absconder she is bottom of the search list and they are unconcerned that she is 14 and exposed to drugs etc from these older friends. She is being seen by a phsych for emotional issues but what we think will work is talking with those ‘victims’ who have come through this to get an idea of how she is feeling and this is underway. Another opportunity presented itself yesterday in the search for her with a young friend who has an apprenticeship. He was horrified she was not at home and absconding and has promised to bring her back tonightwhen he sees her. That is progress and we are banking on having positive peers in her life to turn her around. Don’t be too quick to judge parenting skills – my daughter also has a younger AS child and all his life has been accused of bad parenting because professionals are not familiar with the intrinsic issues of AS – his teacher in suspending him yet again last week still said there was nothing wrong with him. In addion my daughter now has the onset of a progressive debilitating disease so life as a working single mum is anything but easy for her and the monthly child support in lieu of visitation just doesn’t cut it. Practical help and support is what is needed but there is precious little around.

  • Gal Baras

    Wow, this is turning into a really good discussion and hopefully will help some people.

    For the record, I’d like to point out that I’m not a lady. My name is Gal, which means “wave” in Hebrew, unlike what it means in English.

    @LOZ, you make a good point. When the environment is the problem and, for some reason, the parents are unable to relocate (which is another matter), and when the parents and child work together, a troubled teen camp or boarding school may just be the right thing, especially if it’s a good one.

    Would you be so kind as to post here the details of your daughter’s camp for other people, like @Elizabeth? Let’s do the best we can to support one another with that things that work for us.

    @Elizabeth, thank you for your story as well. You must be horrified at your granddaughter’s absence.

    Both of the girls you’ve described seem to suffer from the same thing: a bad environment, which applies a lot of negative pressure. Is family relocation possible? What about a change of school?

    Please note that my post was about parents stopping to ask “What can I do? Is there anything within my power to change that will benefit my teen’s situation?” I believe it still applies to most parents, whose teens aren’t really troubled, but are just starting to show signs of agitation.

    In serious situations, a trouble teen camp provides a “timeout” for reflection, which is very valuable, as long as the long-term aim is to reintegrate the troubled teen into a normal life.

    If other parents out there can recommend good troubled teen camps and share success stories, that will be most appreciated. It seems people need these stories, if only to feel supported.

    Finally, Ronit and I help parents everyday and many of them see no way forward with their kids. If you are in the Brisbane area or willing to work with us over the Internet, consider our parent coaching. Otherwise, you are welcome to arrange a parenting workshop anywhere in the world.

  • Teens Camps

    Troubled teens camps are truly dedicated to support the lives of stressed youths. Highly caring, fostering and motivating environment of the troubled teens camps encourage youths to develop new skills and give their negative hobbies and interests. Camps offer cost effective services. These camps make teenagers socially responsible and amicable.

  • Love

    Hi all,

    There were some pretty strong words I read with regards to the behaviour of teens coming back to the parents. Whilst I do agree that many parents leave a lot to be desired, those of us that care have beaten ourselves up enough, and now need practical solutions to dealing with our troubled teens. In my case, I have spent 20 years with an abusive husband. The mind games were debilitating. He now does the same to our 2 children. To the point that our 12 year old son refuses to see him. He has manipulated everyone that we have ever known, his family, my family, and friends. He has even managed to “find” new friends of mine, and manipulated them too. We have lived a “hermit” existance for fear of abusive treatment from others for the last four years. A year ago, I finally woke up, and stood up for myself and my children. We’ve come out into the open, held our heads high, and tried to start living a seemingly normal life. But the effects he’s had on myself and more importantly our children are still there. If I had a black eye, and bruises, people could see what he has done to us. But we don’t. Our bruises are on the inside. I’m screaming out for help, but unless my child is an absolute delinquent, or disabled, there seems to be little help. I’m still rebuilding myself, and at times his disruptive behaviour wears me down to the point I just cry. I can’t function. This is not an ideal situation, but with little to no outside support, I’m totally lost. I fear my darling children will carry these problems into their adult lives. My question relates to camps for troubled teens. Especially ones that offer emotional support. I need a break sometimes. And so does my son. A fun adventurous time out could really help our situation. I looked up the teenscamp website, but cannot access Australian camps. I’m not very computer savvy, so it could be how I’m looking it up. Does anyone know any QUALITY camps in and around Brisbane they could post? Even weekend farmstays etc? I’m so totally overwhelmed.

    The love I have for my children pains me so.

  • Gal Baras

    @Love (what a nice “name”), I’ve tried to search for you online and I must say there’s not much out there. However, I can suggest a few things for you.

    1. On the 14th of this month, you can come to our parenting workshop in Upper Mt Gravatt and learn many things that will help you help your kids and yourself.
    2. We offer life coaching for teens and even for kids (in Wishart), so if one of your children needs some special attention, please visit our kids coaching page.
    3. Various sporting activities, art classes, PCYC and other youth clubs exist that offer great “timeout” opportunities for your kids, while you can take a load off.
    4. School counselors and school chaplains can work with you to best support your kids’ emotional wellbeing. The chaplains Ronit and know are truly kind and helpful people.
    5. Your kids’ school may have the Kids Matter program, which is specifically targeted at children at risk of mental health problems. Just ask at the school’s office.

    I hope this helps, but if not, you can always ring us on 3343 2237.

    – “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” –

    Warm regards,

  • Dawn C. Smith

    There are lots of programs for troubled teen out there. To know more about these programs, please visit Wilderness Program for Troubled Teens

    Dawn C. Smith

  • John

    We sent our son to The Webb School because of their focus on education combined with high moral values. It’s a great school for troubled teens.

  • Gal Baras


    I’m sure some parents will appreciate you sharing the school reference, but perhaps you could also share what it is your son got at that school you could not give him at home, even after reading the post above.

    Thank you,

  • wilderness program

    i agree on what is being said on this article, i mostly agree about adults not being able to take good care of themselves and still figuring out what they want. im a parent and still im confused on what i really want to do, do i work a 9-5 job or just put up a business but that will need capital so i have to stick with a 9-5 job for the moment, those are the kind of stuff i kind of deal with every day. we all have gone by the stage of being a rebel, if you say you didn’t then, well, good for you. for those who have like me then we should be the first to understand what our teens are going through because we have experienced it first hand.

  • youth games

    its a nice blog really its a helping hand for the parents, thanks for the creation.

  • Andrew

    I’m sure there’s lots of kids who end up troubled because their parents aren’t spending time with them, but my brother’s proof that it’s not always the case. I’m 18, my brother’s 16, and we’ve been raised pretty much the same, mum and dad are still together, dad takes us dirt bike riding on the weekends, mum’s always home, we’ve had our fights with our parents but I think that’s pretty standard for teenagers haha. But my brother treats our parents with no respect, tells them to f* off if they ask him to do chores, and he keeps stealing money out of our wallets. He hasn’t had any more or less time spent with mum or dad than me or my sisters. Some people are just wired different.

  • Gal Baras

    Andrew, there are certainly other things affecting one’s nature besides the amount of attention from parents. One of them is the position in the family. A firstborn is typically (not always) responsible and acts like a parent in many ways, while the second acts more like a child and runs away from responsibility.

    Also, what you see is not what your brother sees. To him, his life may be completely different from yours for various reasons, like teachers, certain events that have shaped him, his social circle and even differences in what’s available to him in terms of technology. A single bully in his life can cause him to go nuts if he can’t express himself, for example.

    Dirt bike riding is a lot of fun, but sometimes it’s not enough, and going easy on your brother with chores is not what I would do. Just this week, I found myself telling Eden she was too soft on her younger siblings and that she should reconsider this with her own kids. I said to her that my parenting is sometimes demanding, because I want my kids to be able to handle life independently, and that I combine it with being fair. My kids can see I ask them to do the same things I ask the others to do, so they get over themselves and participate.

    Perhaps your parents should review their approach and be as strict with your brother and as demanding as they are with you. It may be hard at first, but he will see it as a sign of love and caring. Please tell your parents that boundaries make kids feel safe and that they not only have the right to instruct your brother, they also have the obligation to do it as his parents.

    Good luck,

  • clara

    i am 14 and i live in indonesia. i go to international school in indonesia, and my parents afford everything i need. i once drove my dad’s car and it crashed pretty bad. am i a bad child? because this year both of my parents had fights and i have no one to share my fears, i have 1 older sister and 1 younger. i feel bad about myself, but i am afraid that i might stuck in this situation and start to grow in a very bad community. both of parents dont understand english, and i wish i had a way to work as early as possible and live my life out from my dad that has affairs with other women.

  • Gal Baras

    Hi Clara,

    Nobody is bad and you should always see yourself as a good person, no matter what you do. Crashing your dad’s car risked your life and caused damage, but you were probably crying out for attention with it. Ronit and I believe that kids grow up in the environment their parents create for them, so please understand that you are just acting out your feelings.

    Having said that, your parents live in a traditional society being changed rapidly by the exposure to other cultures. That’s not easy. When they argue or fight, and even when your dad sees other women, these are also ways to act out human emotions they do not know how to handle.

    Parents are older and more experienced, but they are not almighty. They have fears and difficulties and now that you’re old enough, you can see them and it bothers you.

    If your school has a counselor or student adviser, I suggest you talk to them. If you have an aunt you trust, talk to her. Seek out an older girl from your school, perhaps, but find someone to help you take care of yourself.

    Using Google Translator, you can translate posts from this blog and show them to your parents. Maybe this will also help ;)

    All the best,

  • Sharl

    Hi, I have 3 boys aged 11, 13, 16.. The 16 year old has been doing POT now for a while.Just found the 13 year old smoking, He told me that it is cool to smoke as all his mates do this. Now what I need to tell you is that my boys lost there father a few months ago. In saying that the pot smoking has been going on for a while12 months i think. I have said to him that I will not allow this in our home, but he just does it while I am at work. I work full time, from 8am to 3pm which the younger 2 are at school. The 16 year old dropped out last year to do a TAFE course while he lived with his dad. Of course that fell though with his passing.
    16 year old only sits around and plays games, and now the 13 year old is starting to follow this as well. I have tried all I know how to , and would love the family to get help, but my boys just will not do any of this. I am asking for any advise anyone could give me, as I hate to watch my boys going down this path.

  • Gal Baras

    Hi Sharl,

    I feel for you. It’s not easy being separated (I’m guessing from your story) and then dealing with kids who have lost their father.

    There are many bodies out there that could help you, starting with help lines (lifeline, etc), your GP, school counselor and others. They could help you, as well as each one of your kids, deal with the changes in your life, particularly grief.

    Keep reading this blog, especially teen-related posts, and strengthen yourself so you can be there for your sons. Specifically for doing bad things and giving in to peer pressure, see Who know?.

    All the best,

  • @Youth Ranch

    We learn from mistakes, everybody does, so our teens too.

    Teens has to learn decision making, and decisions make gains and losses. They have to see and realize that losses are the consequences of wrong decisions, whether that be in words, in actions, or by gestures.

    It is a challenge to make the children see the coach in their parents.

  • Gal Baras

    I agree on all counts. Sometimes, it takes a special event or experience to give teens perspective. Our daughter stayed abroad without us for 6 weeks and learned a lot from that, and we certainly have from military service when we were young.

    Having said that, the ultimate aim is to go back home and make life happen smoothly with the parents as guides and the teen as a developing future adult. This way, the special experience is put to good use for the long term

  • Megan

    Excellent post, I’ll be passing this along to others- thanks!

  • baby toddler

    Sometimes, at certain period, we just can’t understand them no matter how hard we try.

  • anon

    Parts of this seem legitimate and I agree with them — however, if parents are the root of the problem, why in the world would you recommend parents simply press on and continue to enforce (perhaps arbitrary, and obviously failing) rules?

    Teens nearly always act out because of a family problem — adults ought to solve their own problems and then work on that with their kids BY: listening to them, acting out of compassion, and finding ways to bond. NOT mindlessly throwing more chains on the child, enforcing (perhaps arbitrary, and obviously failing) rules. It’s called logic and love, working with each other, not finding ways to fence in your kid.

  • Gal Baras

    Hang on, what I said first was “Open up your heart to your troubled teens, tell them how much you love them, tell them you will NEVER give up on them, tell them you will always be there to help them”. It’s certainly not just about rules, but rules provide stability and the kids need it.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you that parents must sort their stuff out and that teens are very affected by it. Our slogan is “happy parents raise happy kids”, remember?

  • Lee

    First bit of info that seems to come from someone who “gets it”. Thanks

  • Lee

    i wish you all the luck in the world. It’s so disheartening to see these troubled teens that don’t care yet have families who do trying to help them. My 16 yo nephew is giving my sister a horrid time. what future does he have. I am so scared.

  • Gal Baras

    Well, if your sister and nephew live around Brisbane, perhaps you can refer them to us, either your sister for parenting skills or your nephew (if he WANTS it) for teen coaching.

    Very often, seemingly big, overwhelming problems can be quickly resolved with the help of someone from the outside and the right tools. Ronit has a very calming effect on families in general and teens in particular and either or both types of coaching should work great.

  • ronitbaras

    Hi Lee,

    I am glad you think like that.


  • ronitbaras


    I think parents are a big part of the problem and rules are not bad.
    Rules are just another way of saying: stability, certainty and peace of mind.

    I liked your “fencing” concept. With love and understanding we can lower our fences because the less confident we are as parents, the more limitation we put on our kids.

  • Anonymouse

     Do YOU have a teen?

    My teenager is surly and uncooperative at times. I limit his access to computers/games/tv when he DOESN’T perform as expected.  If he doesn’t fulfill his duties at home.  I expect him to act as part of this family and THIS family has rules.

    If he doesn’t comply, well, he loses his little luxuries.

    He will be expected to perform for all of his life, from now on, he is of age to start bearing a little bit of responsibility.

    What sort of parent would I be if I just let him coast along? Letting him do as he pleases all because he slammed a door in tantrum?

    I care about my teenager, I love him, but it is up to me to teach resilience, responsibility and respect.  I can’t do that by letting him do as he wants and being there EVERY single moment of EVERY day.

    Seriously, I employee 3 teenagers, not one of them has ANY initiative, they stand around and wait for someone to tell them what to do, one even had no idea of what tax was.

    Parents are to blame for THAT.  For not equipping their child with a sense of responsibility, for not teaching them how the world works and what will be expected of them when they get a job.

  • Cath

     Great program coming up on ABC1, Thursday May 19th 2011 9.30 – Outback kids. About a youth at risk program running in remote NT.

  • Bellaboo102

    I suppose you could classify me as a Troubled Teen. I was battling depression most of last year and the beginning of 2011. I was beginning to be happy (the way i used to) i stopped isolating myself from my friends and was just starting to get back to my old routine. i admit i was struggling to please my nan (who i was living with) but i was trying to change, and my family doesnt realise change takes time. i was shipped off to live with my mum (where all my depression began). last year she was admitted to a mental help hospital 2 times, i had to watch and help her when she attempted suicide 4 times. Now i am living with her, i resent her for putting me through all of thaat last year and more so now that i’ve been moved frm the place i was beginning to be happy at. I was genuinely happy and to have all that made me happy taken from me, its broken me. And she just gets anoyed at me for crying nd getting angry and frustrated. i can not live with family, last year i did things that none of them will look pst or forgive me for. Ive been offered a place to stay with someone who is  to me a second mum. i cant live with family, its depressing me although i aam trying to accept ther is no way to have it the situation changed. What can i do? How can i prove i have changed and can be trusted to live where i was happiest? Why can’t they see how sad i have become. im honestly heart broken and have lost the will to do anything.

  • Sheroncouch1

    Tell me something, my government requires a certain amount of hours, or i receive no financial aid, i try to fit in hrs i have to work with , with trying to give my kids, some extra skills, still i get shot down.  I never wanted to be discovered, is it my fault???? i never forced my husband to cheat on me.   He was the one who cheated on me…and still.. , my ex hid his true personalty from me? I did all I could for my children, why am i punished for this????????????????????

  • Jamesblacket

    I think that one of the best things we can do as a parent for our children is to be ready and willing to help they when they need it. Schools for troubled girls can really help with you teen that is acting out.

  • ronitbaras

    Teen help! 


  • ronitbaras

    Dear Megan, 

    How old is your brother? 
    How old are you? 
    Do you live with your mum too? 
    Do you manage the separation better than him? 
    How about you become his friend and you help each other? 
    At the age of 16, after years of hating my sisters , the younger ones, we sat one day and have decided that we will help each other. We will ask each other for help. 
    My mum worked many hours and she asked us to do lots in the house , I hated it, we all hated it. After that, we did every thing together and it was so much easier. 
    That year, I had first time ever a room for myself.But we so wanted to be together that it was hard to go to sleep. It was the best years of our lives. 30 years after, we are still best friends. 
    Tell him mum is going through a hard time. One day he will leave home and everything is going to be different. It is not forever. Tel him that anger is not healthy for him because it is a poison in the body. 
    Try and tell us how it went. 

  • ronitbaras


    I think if a child wants to go to a boarding school, it is a different topic. Though camp is not the same as boarding school. 

    I had client that said to me “My grandmother got pregnant when she was 16. my mum got pregnant when she was 16 and I got pregnant when I was 16. I have to break the cycle” Boarding school was a wonderful way of break the cycle. They all lived in the same town. She wanted her daughter our of this town. 

    In a discussion with the girl, she came up with solutions. No one blamed her of anything like that. She was perfect. Her mum said, to her,” tell me what can I do to give you a different life? and she did! 

    NO, not every child in a boarding school is their against his/her will and it can be wonderful for them.  

  • ronitbaras

    Blaming parents for bad parenting is not what going to make a differnece. 
    parents do the best they can. always! your daughter is doing the best she can. 

    I would move to a different city. 
    It is not always applicable but it is in my case. 
    I know people who did that and it was the best thing they did. 

  • ronitbaras

    Hi Andrew, 

    You are right. 
    Some teens  or people are just different. 
    I always say “something is bothering him” it doesn’t  have to be related to parents. 

  • ronitbaras

    “The Parent as a Coach” is a very useful concept and it always yields achievements. 

  • ronitbaras

    Baby Toddler, 
    Sometime, I cannot understand my husband too. 
    In fact, there are many people that we can’t understand because we are not mind readers. 

  • guest101

    well thats shit. my brother has the whole world and he throws it back at our parents. he wont spend time with them unless its to fight with them for more money. he never use to be like this it the people he hangs around. i dont think he’ll change. and its his fault.

  • Gal Baras

    I’m sorry you feel this way. You’re obviously angry with your brother, but blaming him will not make things better. The old saying “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes” applies.

    It’s a common mistake to think all children are raise by the same parents in the same home. In fact, due to the difference in circumstances, they don’t, and sometimes, the impact can be huge. Ronit and I see this in both our families, as well as in our kids.

    Forgiveness may be your best approach to this. Stop assuming you know everything and start asking your brother for his view on things. As you LISTEN, you may be very surprised.

    Good luck,

  • ronitbaras


    It is devastating to lose  your own kids. 
    As I understand you and your partner were not together. It is probably not easy raising kids on your own and they must be going through a tough patch now that their dad is gone. 
    Do you have any family support. 
    It is very important you find a male figure that will be around. 
    There are some “big brother” programs you can look for or ask the local youth service. 
    I think the best thing you can do is make sure he is away from the other boys. If you are coming back at 3:00 try to make sure they don’t spend time together. 

    Make him pay for some of the services he gets at home – he is always welcome to rent his own place and see how much it cost to have a roof over your head, not to mention to shower with hot water. Maybe that will make him a bit more appreciative towards you.

    Ask for help for your 13 years old. School will direct you to the right person. 

    Good luck! 

  • ronitbaras


    I am not sure I understand what you mean when you say ” discovered” . People go through tough things and they can still survive that. 
    There is no punishment. No one is punishing you, it is just sad sad and bad circumstances. 
    There are many families with parents who are not together that start all over again and have a good life. You have to believe you can make it. 

  • ronitbaras


    How old are you? 
    Where is your dad? 
    Why can’t you go back to live with Nan? 

    Some parents are not in the right mental space to parent their kids. Don’t be angry with her for being sick. She is sick. Are you angry with someone who has cancer? No! it is the same, forgive her. 

    It sounds like you did something that makes people not trust you. The problem with trust is that it takes a long time to build and seconds to destroy. Start again, build the trust again.  NO matter where you are, ask yourself every morning ” What will make me happy today?” and try to do things that will make you happy. 
    Be strong! 
    one day you will be a grown up person and be able to have your own life  and make your own choice. I am not sure how old are you now but it will come and everything that happens to you now, good or bad,  will help you make better decisions in the future.
    good luck!

  • ronitbaras

    I have 2 teens and lucky me they do not behave like “teens”. 
    We will never know I think they are amazing kids because they behave like amazing kids or they are amazing because I don’t think they are obnoxious teens. I tend to believe that there must be a mixture of the two. 

    I myself believe in taking privileges rather than punishing. 
    I am worse than you. I limit the TV, Computer and do not allow games even when my kids are doing brilliantly or maybe they are doing brilliantly because I do limit their access to TV/ computer.

    Letting teens do whatever they want is not healthy as much at it it not healthy to let a 5 year old do whatever they want. Parents run the ship called “family” not kids. Not when they are 5, not when they are 15 and not when they are 25. 

    Responsibility needs to be developed from age 2. Nothing magical happens during teens that suddenly they need to learn responsibility.  In every stage in life it is good to give them more and more responsibility and escort them while they are taking over. 

    I have been working with many teens with amazing initiative. They were thinkers, able, knowledgeable, curious and it is never to late to teach them about tax and finance and other things that grownups expects them to absorb from the molecules in the air. 

    I would not blame parents for anything. They always do the best they can! 


  • DismayedParent

    I have a 14 yr old Daughter who has just about everything one could wish for! She attends a very good Private Girls school and although her mother left her over 4 yrs ago, I have done the best I can to compensate for that. I have been caring, sympathetic, generous, involved, assertive, protective and most important of all there for her 24/7. After all of this, about a year ago she started changing from my sweet, caring daughter into a demon from the seventh level of Hell. Now she is arguementative, destructive, violent, abusive, disrespectful and bone lazy. So after all of the work, money and care put in by me to ensure that my child grows up to be a good person, I see a different outcome ahead.

    I personally think that we as parents blame ourselves way too much for the youth of today going out of control! The tools we need to ensure that our children grow up to be good and responsible citizens have been taken away from us by our own Government. Sad, but true.  You are not allowed to disipline your child anymore. Your child who is still legally a Minor can leave home at the age of 14 and the Parent has no say in the matter. People ask all the time, what is wrong with my child? That is the wrong question to ask, we should be asking why aren’t we allowed to raise our children anymore. How can you raise a child without disipline? I don’t mean taking their internet away for a week, because that doesn’t work. We should wake up and realise that this DoGooder approach does not work. Just look at todays youth and tell me that it’s worked. Child crime and violence is soaring. It’s about time we demanded that the Government change the Laws and give us back control of our children. It’s time to get back in charge before it’s too late.

  • Gal Baras

    Dear dismayed parent,

    Dealing with teenagers can be frustrating, particularly when you * believe * your hands are tied. Not knowing your circumstances (are you a single parent?) or your parenting philosophy, it’s tough responding to this.

    I can only tell you that with any child, discipline will get you in trouble every time. Problems can never be solved by external pressure. A better way is to try to put yourself in your daughter’s shoes and ask yourself, “Assuming my daughter would be perfect if she could, what’s causing her to behave like this?”

    Time and time again, when I let go of what I wanted and helped my children define what they wanted, I discovered that they were harboring heavy emotions to the point of taking responsibility for me and my feelings. Eden spent a few months worrying Ronit and I might divorce. Tsoof was hysterical I might say something to upset one of his teachers and Noff also worried Ronit and I argued because of her.

    What seems normal and “part of life” to an adult may seem like the end of the world to a child (even a teen) and cause them to go nuts and act dysfunctionally, but that’s not because they’re bad. It’s because they’re troubled by something that’s too heavy for them.

    Search this site for “communication styles” and “love languages” and you may find ways to get your daughter to open up and relax. If all else fails, contact us on Be Happy in LIFE or register for the workshop on the 30th of October and we’ll be happy to help.

    Best regards,

  • Tanyammcdowell

    I also have an out of control 13 year old. I have tried it all from guidance counseling at her school, independent counseling for both her and myself together, she has been offered to go to counseling on her own and I will be sent the bill so she never has to worry about paying up front, I’ve done parenting programs to help in areas of my parenting that I feel less confident in.
    All I have to do is take her phone, makeup or not allow her to sleep out on a school night and the next thing I know she has run away!!
    I don’t smoke, do drugs, drink alcohol, I work but I start at 11pm(well after she has gone to bed) and I finish at 7am(well before she drags her ass out of bed for school), she has a bus pass but I take her to and from school because she won’t get out of bed early enough to catch it which make me late to drop the younger kids off to school, I will go and pick her up or drop her off to anywhere she likes 99.9% of the time, I’m a single parent so she is not subject to domestic violence and we are not poor so she does not miss out on things she needs or wants within reason!! She does not have a relationship with her father and never really has although she has been close to her father’s mother and I send her on holidays to visit her regularly. I am not a parent who is always at work or has my head in the pc, we go to the markets regularly, to the movies every weekend and I have offered to do date nights with her where just her and I go out for dinner.
    I do not punish my children but I take away their luxury items for a period I feel is fair to the behaviour!!

    Honesty what more can I do????


  • ronitbaras


    Something is bothering her. 
    You did lots. 
    Taking a way luxury items is a good way to make her understand. 
    I know parents that took everything, everything and it worked. 
    Took mobile, took taking their kids to school. 
    One of my client had a daughter who was amazingly selfish and angry. She talked to her mom like dirt. We had  a discussion about what is important to her and found out that she loves her clothes ( same like you, not poor). 
    One day, her mum went to her closet and took out one of her favorite dress and said ” every time you talk to me like that I take one of your dresses and give it to charity ,so poor girls that talk to their mothers respectfully could wear it” and gave it to charity. Her daughter thought she would never do that. She only had to do it once! 
    I am a great believer in taking privileges.
    At first, they become more aggressive but when you hit the soft spot, they will change. Find something that is dear to her and take it. 

    You did lots. 
    keep trying. you will get there! 
    She may be angry on someone else but gets her anger on the only person around. 


  • ronitbaras


    Thanks for the vote of confidence. 


  • ronitbaras


    I think there is not much done to prepare the parents. 
    we bring kids with no manual and lots of money is spent on kids through school system and nothing, almost nothing on teaching parents how to parent. 


  • ronitbaras

    Thanks Youth games! 

  • ronitbaras

    Wilderness program.

    for some reason parents forget being teenagers. 
    It is normal to be confused as an adult. 
    WE don’t have all the answers and we don’t need to pretend we do. 


  • Sad parent

    I have a 14 year old daughter that has been smoking pot, drinking, sneaking out with older boys, now she is in a relationship with another girl and seems to have an obsession with this girl. She has admitted that she is bi. We try to keep my daughter and her girlfriend apart but this seems to be fuel to the fire. We are trying to protect her reputation.  She has lost most of her friends because no one is allowed to hang out with her.  We had a wonderful relationship but now there is nothing there.  How do you give your child hope that things will be ok if you don’t feel like there is hope?
    We give her the discipline and restrictions.. no phone, no facebook no TV in room we nailed the windows shut, got an alarm on the house, have long talks, no friends and even see a counselor.  We will set this punishment for a couple weeks… then she will do something else outrageous and we have to start all over.  Is there any secrets to handling such difficult kids?

  • Cynthia Kernel

    It does help to find out if our teens do become troubled through those signs mentioned in the article. There’s definitely a reason for their negative behavior, so we should find out what’s causing the problem. Trying to understand if the problem is caused by anger, fear or a specific change in their lives. Proper and effective communication with our teens can be one way to find out what’s really bothering them. Ask how things have been lately, and listen without lecturing or dismissing his concerns. Instead, acknowledge your teenager’s thoughts and feelings. And avoid judging them by letting them know that their feelings are just normal and that you’re just there to love and support them. In a worst case scenario where your parenting efforts are not effective enough then seek help from licensed therapist, school counselors or parenting coaches. Some parents also considers therapeutic wilderness camps to further help them in worst cases. 

  • dragonlotusblsm

    well after a lot of horrible rage sessions out of my 14yr old girl a lot of worrying moments a lot of phone calls from her school a lot of extra time spent trying to talk with her not to her staying calm loving and supportive to the point of achieving everything she asks for in her educational commitments as well as the work placement she asked for i seriously doubt whether you have had a teenager who has “gone of the rails” like me i work a max of eight hours a day have and am still always here for my kids to talk to am fair understanding discuss my feelings as well as acknowledge theirs am fair logical and compassionate in all my dealings with my children yet i still have a teen who is troubled runs away will not attend the school she chose herself abuses me verbally mentally and abuses all others around her but i’m sure you would probably just explain this as me being the problem still maybe you should consider realising not every parent is average and yet those who do go the extra mile for their kids still sometimes have problems too sometimes the kids make their own lives good or bad all on their own

  • Jayn

    I would like to hear what happens after a troubled teen leaves his teen years. Are there any options or programs available in Brisbane or its surrounds to help ‘troubled young adults’.  I have a nephew who won’t work, because why would you if you get the dole, and also has been in trouble with the law and escaped prison God knows how.  He is a great person (I know everyone hears that, but he is) he is 24 now and really directionless…he too, was a troubled teen.  I have lived out of the country for the past 17 years, so I was of no help, but his Dad is looking for a way to connect and finally I can get to ask you this question.  How can we save this one?  How can we help, who can help, where can we go??? thanks

  • Ren

    have just been googling looking for options to help my son – who would certainly be described as a troubled teen….. however I disagree that my priorities are wrong… certainly I’m doing something wrong though god knows what! …. I’ve 3 children, my problem child is the oldest at 14, I divorced their father in 08 which wasn’t a nice experience for any of us – his father dragged the children in to the middle of it & this left me with one very scarred child…. we moved interestate to be closer to my parents & for extra support.  My ex cut his children off completely for 2 1/2 years… when I moved it was agreed the children would go to private school, then their father went bankrupt to get out of his child support obligations meaning I had to put them in to public system.. shouldn’t have been a big deal however my oldest has difficulty making friends, etc so he rebelled BIG TIME!  ditching school, running away.  Thank goodness I have a wonderful boss who knew that my children come first as I was constantly having to leave work leaving her in the lurch to run after my child.   counselling didn’t help as he would shut down & not respond so I was spending money on sessions til the counsellor said it’s of no benefit.  It culminated to him damaging my home, hurting his brother & I forced his father to come to the party & sent my son to live with him…. he was there 2 1/2 months – not put in to school, not fed, not spent time wtih – his father prefering to spend time wtih his girlfriend whom my son hates (the reason our marraige ended) … my son called & begged to come home said he’d tow the line, respect the house rules & here would be no more violence… I brought him back & he was very underweight, again tried a counselling session to no avail….. my son then got a girlfriend – claimed she was just a friend.  imo 14 is too young & the fact they lied confirms they’re not mature enough to handle this.   however her mother had no issue what so ever & was offering to have him sleep over at her house.  these two have been ditching school together & when the school places him on detention he runs from the school with this girl…. I removed all his electrical belongings & he is grounded at home & again I tried to find a solution with the school & the other parent to no avail & it’s culminated with my son assaulting me for being too strict meaning I should’ve been letting him do whatever he likes!  I am now looking in to schools for troubled teens as he is a risk to the other members of my home & clearly has no respect for myself or for boundaries.  obviously his father not caring is a major issue & when informed of the latest events told me he was sick of hearing about my problems! sigh…. so if anyone on this forum knows of any schools that would help other than the school of hard knocks that was on 60 minutes recently which I’m talking wtih I’d truly appreaciate it.  I commented because sometimes, a parent can do everything in their power & it is still to no avail. 

  • ronitbaras

    It is tough and it is obvious she is troubled. 
    I would not make a big fuss about having a relationship with another girl. Many people try things and if they are allowed to examine it without external pressure ( mum and dad and society) they will make better choices. 
    The more restrictions you have, the worst it will become. 
    I do have an outrageous idea that worked magic to one of my client who used to go out with a boy who was very abusive. She was 16 and every time her parents said something, she spent more time with him and allowed him to be more abusive ( he did not allow her to do anything without him, he controlled what she was wearing, she was not allowed to talk to some of her friends…) so her parents invited him in. He was in their house for dinner, for weekends, went with them on vacation and the second she was not focused on resisting her parents, she could think clearly and got rid of him after 3 month. ( she was with him for over a year before that) 
    It is not an easy thing to do but most of the time it works. 

    It is better to use rewards than punishments. 

  • ronitbaras


    Thanks for this. 
    Great insight into teens troubles. 
    I hope many parents had a chance to read your tips. 

  • ronitbaras

    I am not sure taking the blame or blaming others is a solution. I would never say it is your fault as I do not believe in “faults”. 
    No,my own kids did not go off the rails. Not that they didn’t experience things that diverted them from what we consider the “right ” path but we have managed to help them get back on track long before we got off the rails. ( which happens to all of us) 
    I agree with you that sometimes parents do all the right things and still kids will have a problem. It does not mean it is our fault but it always, always, always means we have’t found a solution, YET! 

  • ronitbaras


    What a shame. 
    Do you know how many troubled grown-ups carry with them the feeling that their father/ mother do not care about them. 
    It is debilitating to think that your father is  like that.  
    What happens if you tell him he will have to go and live with his dad? 
    Blaming is not a solution. It is no one’s fault. You did what you could, your husband did what he could and kids can still feel bad about it. 
    Where do you live? 

  • ronitbaras

    Dismayed parent, 

    I think blaming ourselves is not the solution. 
    Blaming is a way to get off load, for a short time. if we throw it on someone else we still carry it on our shoulders. 

    I disagree that it is the government’s fault. I think kids live in a very tough world and they are scared, totally confused and scared and we as parents need to keep our kids away from lots of distractions and temptations, technology and media that only makes them more scared. 

    I agree that parents need to be empowered. I think if the government recognise that helping parents can contribute to society ( and save a fortune) we will be in a better place. I am not sure that I consider empowering parents and giving them permission to discipline is the same. 
    All those restrictions on parents were caused by parents who abused their power and harmed their kids, they were not caused by the government. 

  • Janet Dean

    Raising teens can be one of the greatest things you and your spouse can do together. But sometimes the love and support of parents is not enough and some teens rebel. If you want your teenager to be more responsible, more dependable, and more reliable, boot camp programs for troubled teens can provide the necessary support and guidance teens need. They can help you restore your teens to who they were meant to be.

  • Joey Lake

    Boot camp is the perfect option for troubled teens to get their life back on track.

  • John Hegarty

    Thank you for your advice and perspectives on responsible parenting. The reality of parenting in the 21st century is that cultural influences and the confounding influence of communication technology has shifted the balance of power in favour of unruley teens. Dont get me wrong, responsible role modelling is critical to effective parenting, however, i feel that you have neglected to consider key variables in the mix which were not present 20 odd years ago. Unfortunately the pendulum has swung too far in informing teens of their rights but neglecting to inform them properly of their responsibilities. From this has spawned a generation of teens whom are self absorbed and indifferent to anyone else but themselves. When you add to the rights of teens you invariably deny the rights of parents. I just say thank God, this trend in education is starting to be reversed in australia, ever so slowly. In closing, once again thank you for your advice, but sometimes the parents of this world are not to blame for the indifferent dissregard teens have towards them. What do you think?

  • Gal Baras

    Hi John,

    Although I agree with your view of our changed reality and its effects on many families with teenagers, the simple fact remains that Eden and Tsoof show none of the unruliness of the typical modern teens, so we must be doing something right.

    We believe that today’s pressures affect parents in unfair ways, but if parents get a grip on themselves and cope better, their teens will fall in line with not much additional effort. Parents are the most influential beings in their kids’ life and all they have to do most of the time is set a good example.


  • ronitbaras

    Hi John, 
    I agree there is no right balance. 
    I think it is  happening not because teens have more power but because parents have less. 
    Teens behaviour is not due to too many rights but due to fear that they cannot trust their parents.
    You are right. power comes with responsibility and no one can give you power , you need to earn it and parents don’t earn their power, they bully their kids to earn power and only makes their kids/teens think they are weak.
    Kids only do what they are allowed to do. I think they freak out thinking about the imaginary power they have. 
    I have so many parents in my parenting workshop say ” You can’t stop a teen from eating junk” and I say ” of course you can! don’t get it in the house. Teens  will buy food in the canteen once, twice but they never have enough money to eat junk forever. Why have junk at home and expect them not to eat it?!” 
    I think teens do care. I know many of them. The rest only live in the obnoxious, selfish, hormonal teen self fulfilling prophecy invented by adults fearing of loosing their youth.   

    Parents are not to be blamed, never! they always do the best they can with what they have/can/able.

     I blame the system. I blame the education system that invest billions on education for kids without understanding this money is dead money if we don’t empower parents to be the captains of their family ship. 

    As an educator, I know that I can be the best teacher in the world, with the best education degree and empower kids to be considerate, smart, friendly and talented and home will destroy it in a second. ( without bad intentions. Only because parents are more powerful than teachers, which is how it should be! )  
    As an educator, I know that I can be the best teacher in the world and if parents work with me and they feel  they are not judged and powerful and use their own talents and abilities to stimulate their kids ( instead of compete with them) they can produce amazingly inspiring and gifted teens. 

    Parents have lots of power, for good and bad. 
    They have had it 20 years ago and have it now.
    They have it when they are educated and when they are not. 
    They have it with technology and  without. 
    This power is born with an emotional umbilical cord that attaches them to their kids with love. 
    If we want to reach the balance you were talking about, I think we only need to teach them to use it well.  

    Power back to parents! 


  • ronitbaras


    Is there a camp you can recommend? 

  • ronitbaras

    I am sure that taking kids away from home for a while and work with them on their proportion could do magic.
    I wish we had something like this in Australia. 

  • Angelaatcronulla

    My 13 year old son is becoming abusive & defiant. I NEED HELP

  • Liezlke

    You took the words right out of my mouth. I have a similar daughter to yours. Use to be lovely but changed… She reminds me often that there’s really nothing I can do. Taking her phone or Internet away as no effect. She has been taught by teachers that she has all these rights. In her mind it means the right to do as she pleases with no regard or respect to the people around her. She has even told a police man that if he touches her he will be in so much trouble! We have given all the power to the youth and then we wonder why they are so out of control. We as parents need to take charge again!

  • Pj13363

    Phil is the name, a good friend of mine has a  10 year old boy, who unfortunately the only male role models he has known are chauvinism, aggression to women,  and men who left.
    He is now starting to display these behaviors towards his mum.
    he is a good kid and worth the effort
    tell me , when i was growing up in NZ there were boot camps of sorts for troubled kids , this young lad has Maori background but no knowledge of his culture,
    is there is any of this type of scheme up in qld at all do you know of where kids like this lad can learn the basics of respect
    please advise

  • Guest

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  • ronitbaras


    You are a brave women! 
    May more mothers will be as determined as you. 


  • sugar

    I am sick at my stomach my grandaughter has been sent to a wilderness camp sleeping out in the wild taken miles from camp to sleep ALONE. This is to teach her that she is POWERLESS . I think her mother is crazy and hates her. Now it is time after 21/2 months to come get her but her mother has a vacation planned with her othe rtwo children from rich father in present marriage. I have watched this cruel behavior for 10 years now. Please give me advice. I think she wants this child to self destruct so as she does not have to do it. My son is weak and stays upset—but does nothing.

  • river

    Yeah yeah done ALL that and more! Nothing has helped, she still runs away, indulges in substance abuse, self harm etc etc. What’s next? We parents sound desperate because we are! You have no idea how many doors I’ve knocked on for help! I may have well smacked my head against a brick wall for all the good it did. The old blame the parents cliché doesn’t cut it! No one blames us more than ourselves but the truth is we are not to blame when we have given out all plus some, only to have our child continue down a path of destruction! Your article states the obvious and assumes the worst of us, that could not be further from reality.

  • ronitbaras

    I don’t think blame needs to be in this equation at all.
    Blaming is a looking forward mentality. It doesn’t matter who you find as the “reason” it doesn’t help solve it. Imagine driving a car, if you look backwards you’ll have lots of accidents.
    Most people say ” I Have done everything I could” and the truth is that we never do. There are always strategies we do not explore and there is always a way.
    If your daughter does not want to be helped than you can’t help her by force.
    Maybe all you can do is be there for her when she comes out of it.

  • ronitbaras


    This sounds really sad.
    Is it possible for you to spend time with your grand daughter on holidays and weekends to give her back some of her confidence.
    Regardless of the reasons her mother sent her to camp for, I think camp in the wild can teach her only the opposite. That she is much, much, much more resourceful and powerful than she think she is.
    I teach my clients to search for the good in every bad experiences and you know what? When they said “Seek and you shall find” they meant it. They always find good in bad things and when they do, it is not that bad after all. In your grand daughter’s case, maybe it is not that bad, to be away from a mother who seek control and uses force or discriminate between siblings and find out her abilities and learn things about herself.
    The problem we have with our parents is that they spend only 20 years with us but we carry them for the rest of our life, trying to get their love and approval. ( regardless of how wonderful or not they are). Maybe being in camp, will allow her not to carry her mum as a burden.
    Maybe you can be the girl emotional support.
    In this advanced media generation you can support her from a distance. Remember, support is not ” yes, you are right, mum is crazy” but ” you are good, you are strong, you can benefit from everything, you can build your confidence in the camp, you will be 18 and can have the life you want…”

    Good luck!

  • ronitbaras

    Hi Phil,
    In QLD many schools deal with such things as part of their diversity program. I think going to the child’s teacher/ principal and asking for help would do the trick. I believe most of them would take the opportunity to discuss and work on those topic and without directing it on the child, the impact will be bigger.
    I run workshop for a non for profit organisations called ” Together for Humanity”. We run them in schools and touch exactly those things. It is a fantastic program and it is booked by the schools to run in a class or with whole age group. If you want info about it to refer to the child’s school, you can contact me and I’ll be happy to send you more information.

  • ronitbaras

    Did something happen in his life that made this change?

  • ronitbaras

    spot on.
    Teen act out as a cry for help because of a problem they don’t have the skills to handle. Many times it is family issues.
    If you had a chance to read this blog, with all the 1000 articles than your suggestions of listening to your kids, being compassionate, kind and work on your bond are the main ingredients.
    If rules are for chaining kids to fit the parents desire, they are not rules of love, they are rules of fear and the will work as a magnet turned around and repel the kids.
    I think they are meant to give the kids a feeling of safety and stability.
    I suggest we don’t confuse them with discipline.

  • ronitbaras

    dear love,

    What you went trough is an emotional abuse and it is painful inside and yes it scars for a long time but, when you get out of it, you learn that the past cannot control you anymore.

    I think school camp can do the trick or even a sleep over with friends can help you lots.

    I would like to recommend you to contact the “Good Sams”. It is an organisation I work with and has branches in Brisbane, with amazing good people that can help you very much.

    here is their contact:

    Sisters of the Good Samaritan Foundation
    PO Box 260
    Wavell Heights, QLD, 4012
    40 Warraba Ave, Wavell Height
    P: 07 3350 4032

    It is not about religion but helping women and they are fantastic. Tell them you got their contact from Ronit.

    You can make it.

    Here is a series I wrote about bullying and I think you and your kids were bullied by your husband. Read it, you may get some ideas to support yourself and your kids.

    There are many chapters there, read them all.

    Good luck!

  • ronitbaras

    I agree.
    We gave them “power” without the skills to handle that power.
    I run camps and give power to the kids and show them how easily we all use the power we have, kids, teens grownups alike.
    We need to take charge but we have to do it with love, compassion and kindness not with force.

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