When your child reaches puberty, things become a little more difficult. Parenting your teen can be challenging enough. But when your troubled teen becomes depressed, violent,reckless, or introduced to alcohol or other substances and may even tend to abuse it–then you know you have trouble in your hands.
You may spend nights lying awake wondering where your child has gone, days trying to call him and hoping he’d pick up his phone, and overall being exhausted and frustrated trying to figure out how to communicate with your child. It can also be scary when your teen becomes openly defiant and violent towards you and others, as normal teenage mood swings become trips to the hospital or even the police station.
All teens become troubled, at some point but when you deal with something that you know is beyond normal behavior of teens with raging hormones, then you have to help your teen transition from being a child and into a happy, well-adjusted young adult.
But how do you know if your teen is truly troubled?
Teenagers undergo a strange period in their lives, as you yourself may have experienced. It is at this stage that teenagers try to assert their freedom and identity, at times with unpredictable results. You would then try to look back when your child was once caring and obedient instead of this seeming stranger who is just angry, always out with his friends, won’t let you come close, or slam the door in your face when you try to ask him about his day. This could be typical normal teenage behavior but you would know if your child is troubled because of problems that are beyond normal teenage issues.
A troubled teen would engage in reckless behavior, practice violence, and disobey the law or authorities.
Warning Signs of a Troubled Teen
- Although teens would try to experiment with fashion or want to dress after their favorite celebrities, a sudden change in appearance can be a red flag. Watch out for wearing long sleeves or pants even in hot weather because your teen may be hiding something under the clothes, such as scars from cutting. Also watch out for sudden weight loss or weight gain.
- Your teens may want to assert their independence but if they begin to constantly quarrel with you, other authority figures, or even with their peers, this could be a problem. Brawls with other people or even brushes with the law can lead to serious consequences.
- Raging hormones are characteristic of teenagers. This results in mood swings. However, watch out for red flags such as failing grades, changes in sleep problems, changes in eating patterns and weight, isolation, and many more. Teens are also prone to bouts of depression, anxiety, and other emotional problems that need to be addressed.
- At this stage, your teens may experiment with substances and other activities. They may try to smoke cigarettes or other drugs, as well as drink alcohol. However, if this becomes a habit and affects your children’s performance in school, social and family relationships, and health, you may need to intervene. These may be signs of substance abuse and other problems.
- Teens may tend to value their friends a lot. Their friends would have profound influence in their behavior, the music they listen to, their hobbies, the way they dress, and in many other aspects of their lives. The red flags to watch out for: when they suddenly change their group of friends, or if their friends are encouraging negative behavior. Also be wary of your children not having friends because this can be a problem as well.