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How to Confront Teenagers

by Tiffany Raiford, studioD

If you suspect your teen is engaging in inappropriate behavior such as drinking alcohol, using drugs or having sex, you'll need to confront him. The hardest part will be your teen’s reaction to being confronted about his behavior, but you have to do it. To make it easier, you need to confront your teen in a way that doesn’t make him feel as though he's being attacked and does make him understand the severity of the circumstances.

Investigate and gather as much information as you can about whatever you suspect your teen is doing, advises doctors and professionals at WebMD. For example, if you suspect your teen is drinking alcohol, arm yourself with as much information as possible regarding the dangers and side-effects of teenage drinking before you confront your teen.

Set aside time to confront your teen, according to WebMD. If you suspect your teen is engaging in dangerous behavior such as drug use or drinking, wait to have this conversation until you are positive your teen is sober. Confronting your teen while he's intoxicated will likely come across as an attack and make matters worse.

Discuss your suspicions and feelings with your teen. Whether you are confronting your teen about failing his math class or something more perilous such as using drugs, don't scream or yell, advises Dr. Phil McGraw, a mental health professional and TV talk show host. The way to confront your teen in a way that gets his attention and makes him listen is to discuss the circumstances with him as though he is an adult, which is less likely to put him on the defensive.

Ask your teen flat out if what you suspect is true, advises WebMD. If you suspect she is having sexual intercourse with her boyfriend, ask her whether it's true. If it's true, ask her what she's doing to protect herself from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. If you suspect she is using drugs, ask her what drugs she’s on, where she gets them and when she started. She’s probably going to fight providing you with this information, but don't back down.


  • Do it now. Confront your teen if you suspect he is engaging in harmful, self-destructive behavior such as drug use, advises the Hills Treatment Center. Confronting your teen about harmful behavior is the first step in overcoming it, and you cannot wait to help.


  • Prepare yourself to enlist professional help if your teen is heavily involved in alcohol or drugs. Addictions to drugs and alcohol are difficult to overcome and often require medical help.

About the Author

Tiffany Raiford has several years of experience writing freelance. Her writing focuses primarily on articles relating to parenting, pregnancy and travel. Raiford is a graduate of Saint Petersburg College in Florida.

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