How can you tell if your teenager is at risk for developing drug or alcohol problems, depression, violence, suicide, pregnancy or dropping out of school? While many teens may actually face these problems, parents often find it difficult to tell if their child is having problems; many parents only find out that their teen is experiencing difficulty after it is too late. Many parents compare their child with other children as a way of not having to cope with their child’s behavior. They might say things such as “oh, well, my child is not as bad as so and so”, and so to them, they figure everything must be ok. While this might be tempting to do, it is not an action that should be encouraged. Instead, you should trust your instincts when they tell you something is not right, and try to help as soon as you can. Many teens are very good at lying, manipulating and twisting the truth for their parents; especially parents who are willing to turn a blind eye because they are not ready to face the truth. It is important to be strong and not let your child be the boss of your relationship.
It is true that most, if not all teens go through some hardships and rebellion while growing up, but how can you tell if this is just normal maturation or if your teen truly has a problem. There are several tell-tale signs that let you know if you are dealing with a troubled teen.
1. You have noticed that your child is becoming more and more secretive.
2. Your teen has sudden and uncalled for outbursts of anger.
3. Your teen regularly misses curfew and does not show up when he/she says they will.
4. They regularly lie about where they are.
5. They have changed their group of friends and does not want you to meet them. Usually the group of friends will lead to a distinct new appearance such as piercings or excessive black makeup and a negative change in attitude.
6. They steel money from you on a regular basis.
7. Their grades have dropped significantly or they lose interest in previous activities.
If you notice some of these in your child, perhaps you should take a closer look at what is happening in their lives. If you find that they are experiencing some sort of trouble, you should try to help them as soon as you can without appearing too pushy or domineering. Since this is a child’s time for searching for independence they will not want to feel controlled by you. To get advice on how to talk to your teen you can contact local help centers or look for advice on the internet. And remember, while these symptoms can sometimes be serious, this is how teens behave, and not all kids are troubled kids!