Case Study: The Troubled Teen

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When I asked her why she was coming to counseling, she said her teenage daughter was in rebellion. It was my next question that surprised her. I asked her about that state of her marriage.

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After refocusing, she said that they dishonor one another, do not respect each other, and there are some anger issues. I inquired about how long this has been going on, to which she said since the early years of their twenty-two year marriage. Now they have a rebellious teen.

There is a direct correlation between how parents interact with each other and how a teenager behaves. Too often the parents of rebellious children do not perceive how their lives create the foundation upon which their children learn how to relate to others.

I’m not saying all teen problems are the fault of parents, but I am saying that parents must be aware how they can shape their children’s lives. Parents do not live in a vacuum, as though their attitudes and actions don’t matter. Nearly all teen counseling has to involve the parents, and the parents must be open to making changes in how they relate to God and each other.

Case Study Questions

  1. What questions would you ask the mom to draw out her and her husband’s role in the child’s rebellion?
  2. How would you acknowledge the parent’s culpability to the child but keep her from thinking she’s a victim to her parent’s poor modeling?

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