What To Do When Your Teen is a Danger to Your Family


Creating a safe and nurturing household is the mission of every parent. We want to protect and care for our families. With all the uncertainties in the world, we never expect the danger to come from within. So what do you do when the safety of your home is compromised by the actions of your own teenager? Behavioral health problems can manifest in a multitude of ways and dangerous behavior is a reality for many families dealing with teens who are struggling with their mental health. In this blog, we'll delve into practical steps parents can take to address this challenging situation while prioritizing the well-being of everyone involved. 


Acknowledge the Problem


Nothing else can be done until the problem behavior is acknowledged as a problem. It can be tempting to make excuses for your child’s behavior or hope that things will resolve themselves. This is no longer an option when others are in potential danger. Ignoring the problem only creates escalation and puts you and your family at immediate risk. Symptoms such as aggression, self-harm, threats of violence, paranoia, and agitation should all be taken seriously. Trust your instincts and don't dismiss warning signs as just "teenage behavior." 


Seek Professional Guidance


Attempting to reign in an adolescent who is a danger to themselves or the family is not something a parent should attempt to handle on their own. If this were a stranger acting the same way, you wouldn’t hesitate to call for help. Don’t let your familiarity put you or your other family members in harm's way. Reach out to therapists, counselors, or mental health professionals who specialize in working with adolescents. They can provide support, guidance, and interventions tailored to the specific needs of the teen and the family. This kind of behavior is often an indicator of an underlying mental health struggle where in-patient treatment is necessary. Establishing a connection with adolescent treatment programs and professionals will be a huge resource if necessary. 


Create a Safety Plan


While working with professionals to address the underlying issues contributing to your teen's behavior, it's important for your family to create a safety plan to protect themselves in the meantime. Setting boundaries, implementing consequences for dangerous behavior, and establishing protocols for de-escalating tense situations are good places to start. It's also essential to have a plan in place for seeking help or contacting authorities if the situation becomes unmanageable. This puts everyone in the family on the same page and provides a layer of protection for other children or family members who may be affected by your teens behavior. 


Take Care of Yourself


Don’t forget to prioritize your own self-care! When you’re dealing with a struggling teen it can take an emotional, mental, and physical toll on you and your family. It's crucial for everyone involved to prioritize self-care and seek support for themselves as well. Lean on trusted friends, family members, or support groups who can offer guidance, empathy, and perspective during this challenging time. Take time to relax and enjoy activities that you like and provide stress-relief. 


Explore Alternative Living Arrangements


In some cases, despite our best efforts and interventions, allowing your child to continue living at home may not be the safest option. If this is the case, consider exploring alternative living arrangements like admitting your child to a residential adolescent treatment facility. If there are family members or friends who can provide the space, support, and supervision needed, that may be an option as well. What is most important is that your teen gets the help they need. This isn’t about punishment. It’s about treatment. 


Get Help Today


Dealing with a loved one who is struggling with their behavioral health can be frightening and overwhelming. Remember, you are not alone, and there is help available to support you and your family every step of the way. 

Call Sustain Recovery today. Our program was founded by parents who’ve traveled the road of recovery with their own children. We know the heartbreak, fear, and frustration of watching a child falter. We’re here to help. Call today for beyond better adolescent treatment.