Giving Ultimatums to Teens – A Word of Caution

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Giving Ultimatums to Teens – A Word of Caution
In the heat of the moment an ultimatum seems the way to deal with a child's rebellion - be careful
  • If your teenager is truly out of control, in a dangerous way, you could talk to your local child welfare office about them being identified as "a child in need of services".
  • You could see how your child does in another environment - spending the summer with an out of town relative is an opportunity that may be appropriate, especially if it is timely.
  • You could entertain the idea of the teenager returning home conditionally upon discussing boundaries for that - and to be most effective this does need to be a discussion. With as difficult as the relationship may have become, you may want to use a marriage and family therapist to help facilitate that conversation.

Considering a Marriage & Family Therapist
If you decide to seek out a marriage & family therapist, that person may even prove helpful over the longer term.

Going this route is not just giving in, it still expresses love and caring, and it has the possibility of laying groundwork for the future.
With everyone working at it and developing new ways of relating, it is possible to get through these times and establish ways for peace and wholeness in your child's life as well as in your lives.
This does not mean that you will be free of the challenges that occur during the teenage years, but you will be able to navigate these in a way that is better for everyone involved and can result in “win-win situations”. 

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission.
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

The Rev. Christopher L. Smith

Marriage and Family Therapist

The Rev. Christopher L. Smith, LCAC, LMHC, LMFT has served as a national leader around mental health issues both within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and in professional counseling organizations.  He works directly with individuals, couples, families and supervisees as the Clinical Director of Seeking Shalom in New York City.  He also brings his insight to help a wider audience through writing, speaking and consultations.

Location: New York, NY
Credentials: LAC, LMFT, LMHC, MDiv
Specialties: Couples/Marital Issues, Forgiveness, Spiritual
Other Articles/News by The Rev. Christopher L. Smith:

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