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Remember how challenging and exhausting the toddler stage was? When you’re parenting an autistic teenager, there are moments when you’d give anything to go back to those simpler times!

Parenting teens can be a real challenge in itself, but I am sure that you’ve heard horror stories, but absolutely nothing can really prepare you for the struggles to come. So, why are some autistic teens such a challenge to parent? Below, we’ll look at some of the main challenges you’ll face and why they may occur.

Why Autistic Teens May Be Harder to Parent

There are a number of reasons why autistic teenagers are so challenging to parent. Fluctuating hormone levels is one of the biggest culprits.

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As an adult, you’ll know how difficult it can be to manage your emotions. However, for teens, especially autistic teens, it can be even more challenging as they don’t yet fully understand the emotions and changes that they are going through. It’s common for them to feel like nobody understands them, particularly their parents. This in turn can lead to extreme mood swings and depression, as well as influence their decisions when it comes to peers, identity and behavior.

Identity struggles are another reason why autistic teens can be difficult to parent. Throughout their adolescence, children start to learn more about who they are. They try new things, their behavior alters, and they start to challenge authority. It is a time for pushing boundaries and discovering where they fit in the world.

These are just some of the most common reasons why some autistic teenagers can be difficult to parent.

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The Top Struggles You’ll Likely Face

There are a number of challenges you’ll face during the teen stage. However, some of the most common include:

  • Mood swings
  • Bullying
  • Truancy
  • Disrespectful and defiant attitude
  • Drug misuse
  • Sexual activity

These are just some of the many challenges you are likely to face. Each can be difficult to handle, particularly if there aren’t any boundaries in place. Mood swings and a disrespectful and defiant attitude are particularly frustrating to deal with. However, it’s important to remember that these are largely caused by your teen’s fluctuating hormones.

Bullying, drug misuse and sexual activity are some of the biggest challenges you might face. It can be a minefield knowing how to approach and handle these situations.

Warning Signs to Watch Out For

In order to overcome these common challenges, you first need to be able to identify them. Mood swings and disrespectful behavior are obviously easier to spot than drug use or sexual activity. However, there are some tell-tale warning signs you can watch out for.

A change in eating or sleeping habits is a good indicator that something is wrong. You may also notice they become more withdrawn, and their personality may be completely different to usual. Sitting down and talking with your teen is the first thing you should do, but there is no guarantee they will tell you the truth.

As a parent, the teenage years are definitely tough. However, there are ways to address the common challenges faced. Being aware of the issues you could be presented with helps you to prepare well in advance. Just remember, these teen years will pass!