Teens who rebel, express adolescent angst, and consistently defy authority have become members of the increasingly infamous term “troubled teens“, which include both troubled boys and troubled girls. So why put these sorts of rascals in leadership positions? Answer: because that may be exactly what they need. A troubled teen placed in a position of authority can do one of two things. For one, they might flaunt their authority, become power hungry, and make matters even worse. This is the typical prediction most parents would make about their troubled teen. What has actually been found, however, is that troubled teens placed in leadership positions are giving a major perspective-changer in the way they see things. This authority comes not only with the power to affect change, but also the responsibility for making those decisions, and owning the consequences as events play out. One story about a troubled youth describes a young man in a boarding school for troubled teens who frequently neglected to do his chores. It became such an issue, that it almost got to the point where he simply wasn’t given a chore because he refused to do it. As a little experiment, he was actually put in charge of making sure everyone else’s chores were finished. What happened was impressive, to say the least. He began to see the significance and result of a tidy living space. Being “in charge” of something gave him a sense of purpose, a consistent goal to maintain, and he ended up developing a sense of accountability his parents had never seen in him before. The chores he once said were pointless because he preferred feeling too lazy to do them became a prominent value of his. Various psychological constructs underlie this sort of paradigm shift, from the “Feel Good, Do Good” phenomenon, to Cognitive Dissonance, in which our minds work to prevent our actions and expressed feelings from remaining inconsistent. Again and again, we see troubled teens accepting the authority of a leadership position without much hesitation, when little do they realize the position comes with an eye-opening level of responsibility, a positive shift in their point of view, and impressive growth in maturity.
When adolescent boys and girls are at-risk with substance abuse, or behavioral issues, behavior modification programs, as well as cognitive therapy, can result in the positive changes he or she needs for a long lasting transformation.