My teenager is acting up

Whatever their family set up, most young people experiment in their teenage years with behaviour and habits that cause concern for their parents. If your teenager’s behaviour is making you worry, think carefully - is it normal teenage experimentation or could it be a sign of being unhappy in life?

Whatever the reason you will want to talk to them about the situation, so here’s our quick guide to talking to your teen about their problem behaviour:

  • Try to take a non-judgemental attitude - you don’t want to alienate your teenager so that they clam up. Don't accuse them of things and try to be open to listening to what they have to say. Here are some more tips on talking to your teen
  • Try not to push them into a disclosure - if you think your teen might be involved in risky behaviour don't jump straight into demanding lots of information from them or jumping to conclusions before you've had chance to talk it through with them. You may find out something about your teen from a friend or family member. Many young people find it difficult to talk to their parents about certain issues but will talk to others - try to see that as normal rather than as a rejection or as them being deceitful.
  • Don’t share your experiences of your wild child youth. It's difficult to take a moral position without sounding as though you have double standards.
  • Remember, lots of teenagers try things once - whether it’s music, shaving their heads or smoking pot it's often about experimentation and they may naturally stop in their own time.
  • Help them be informed - make sure they know where to get sensible information on the issues they're dealing with. 
  • Get some support - chat to a trained family counsellor or if you think it would help to attend counselling as a family find out about our family counselling service. 

How we can help

If you’re looking for support with your relationships, we can help. We offer a range of ways to speak with a trained relationship expert including ongoing counselling, 30 minute web and phone chats, and one session therapy.

Find out which service is right for you


How you can help

Have you found this advice helpful? Make a donation to help us reach more people and continue supporting the nation’s relationships:


Can't afford to donate? We understand. Instead, we ask that you leave us a 5 star review on Trustpilot.

Leave a review


Join our newsletter to get relationship advice and guidance straight to your inbox