Helping Your Teens Break Bad Habits Before they Reach Adulthood

“Going through a phase” is a phrase that is often said when a teenager begins to do things differently. However, it’s easy for “phase” behaviors to become habits if not dealt with appropriately. For instance, it is perfectly normal for teens to experience phases of constant eating. Their growing bodies require increased fuel. However, if the habit of eating constantly continues into adulthood, it can lead to binge eating, fad dieting, and health issues. Let’s look at three habits teens often struggle with and how to break those habits before they are carried into their adult life.

Developing Time Management Skills

Is your teen a procrastinator? Some people do perform better under pressure; unfortunately, putting oneself under constant pressure can lead to chronic stress and down the road, causing other health concerns. You can help prevent this by learning why your teenager procrastinates. If they’re distracted by participating in online activities, playing video games, or binge-watching favorite shows, the solution to the problem is easy. Take away these privileges until they’ve completed their task.

However, they may be putting off homework because they lack focus or are struggling with a challenging class at school. Here’s how you can support them to break their habit:

  • Help them create a timeline/schedule that breaks tasks into smaller steps and allows plenty of time to complete the work
  • Get extra help from teachers or a tutor
  • Make a chore calendar to help remind them of their responsibilities

Teaching your teen time management skills now will help them better manage stressful situations in the future.

Handling Money Responsibly

It’s natural for parents to want their children to have the things they didn’t while growing up. It becomes a problem when kids get used to getting everything they want, when they want it. When this happens, teens can come to expect something for nothing. It is okay to treat your teens every now and then, but it is important to teach them the value of a dollar, too. Here’s some tips to do so:

  • Have them work for an allowance or get a part-time job when old enough
  • Show them how to create a budget
  • Open checking and savings accounts in their names and teach how cash-flow works
  • Talk to them about debt and the dangers of credit cards/overspending

The best way to help your teens avoid bad money management habits is to begin teaching the value of money at an early age.

Establishing Healthy Relationships

In the age of social media, it’s often hard for teens to tell healthy relationships apart from unhealthy ones. One study found that a full one-third of participants exaggerate relationships on social media, which hinders your teens ability to find true friends. In a world where social media is so present, here is how you can teach your teens to develop healthy relationships both on and offline.

  • Be a role model, give examples of what a healthy relationship is
  • Explain what constitutes as an unhealthy relationship
  • Discuss appropriate and inappropriate digital and social media behavior
  • Encourage your teen to hang out with children that you see as a positive influence
  • Teach them to define and respect personal boundaries of both theirs and other people’s
  • Designate “screen-free” time during meals and events with family or friends

Helping your child become more present in these face-to-face interactions will not only open their eyes and ears to focus on the people around them, but will help them develop healthy relationships with friends at a crucial time in their lives.

If you are continuing to see your teen adopt bad habits into their everyday life, don’t be afraid to intervene. Try some of the helpful tips we have provided in this article.  If more help is needed to break your teen’s bad habits, contact our professional counselors at Mazzitti & Sullivan.