Teenagers are almost sure to get in trouble as they grow and mature into adults, but some really push the boundaries of what is acceptable at home or at school, creating the need for parents to intervene. If you are starting to experience behavioral problems with your teenager, like staying out after curfew, disrespecting parents and teachers, or experimenting with drugs, it’s important to be proactive and stop these issues before they become normal. Here are some potential ways to handle troublemaking teenagers and get their behavior to improve.

Consider a New School Environment

Because children spend so much time at school, the environment there can greatly influence how they act, even when they come home. Just like working in a high-stress environment can leave you in a bad mood, spending the day at a school that makes them miserable can put your child in a bad mood. The wrong school environment can leave your child feeling bored, neglected, and more prone to acting out. If your teenager is struggling in public school due to large class sizes and issues with classroom management, consider changing them to a private school instead. In the private school environment, small class sizes are the norm, with the average student-to-teacher ratio sitting at 12:1 in these schools. This gives every child more personal attention to help them feel seen and avoid the issues that can happen in overcrowded public schools, like bullying.

Teach Them Responsibility

Parenting teenagers can mean trying less conventional approaches to teaching them fundamental concepts like responsibility. Globally, more than 455 million cats and dogs are kept as pets. If you are among those that have a family pet, you can put your teen in charge of caring for it to help them learn about how to be responsible and care for another living thing. Caring for the dog or cat properly without prompting allows your child to show you they can be responsible and possibly earn back privileges they have lost.

Enforce Consequences

All teenagers go through rebellious phases as their brains and personalities develop, and unfortunately, there can be long-term, far-reaching consequences for the things they do during these times. Even seemingly small offenses can be more serious once a child hits the teenage years, depending on the state and the kind of mischief they get into. For example, a Class B misdemeanor in Texas can get you up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2000. Before they get into the system, you should enforce appropriate consequences at home and follow through on them to help ensure that your teen understands the reason for them.

Try Family Therapy

If you suspect there is an underlying reason for your child acting out, a qualified family therapist can help you get to the root of the issue and address it in a healthy way. Putting both of you in a neutral environment where you can talk with a mediator in place to help you sort through what is said can be liberating and make it easier to open up. While you may not be able to talk honestly at home, being in a therapist’s office can help you express the feelings that are normally suppressed.

While it can be challenging to deal with a teen who pushes boundaries, this can be a normal phase that quickly passes as your child matures into an adult. As you grow more experienced in parenting teenagers, dealing with these situations will become more natural and easier. Over time, your teen will stop pushing the boundaries and learn to respect the rules as long as you remain firm.