Dealing with Troubled Teenagers
As a parent you may wonder why your teenage child may want to hide some things from you like difficult times they might be going through. It could be owing to a number of issues. Your child may be having trouble in school because of someone bullying him, stress with academics, or anything else. Before a tiny issue snowballs into something major, you need to step up and try to resolve issues in your child’s life.
Parenting is not a cakewalk, but in extreme situations where your child starts abusing drugs or alcohol, you need to play the bad cop and get him or her to quit immediately. You have to start keeping a check on your child’s whereabouts. You also need to hold yourself together during stressful fights, arguments, and failed attempts at communicating with the teen.
How to identify if your teenage child is troubled?
One of the most important aspects of parenting is to distinguish normal teenage behavior from troubled behavior. It can be difficult to gauge if your teenager is troubled or not. Teenagers are often moody, which makes it difficult for you to know if he or she is going through a rough patch, or just in a bad mood. A normal teenager can also have mood swings, which can be fairly misleading.
One evident symptom of being a troubled teenager is physical appearance. A normal teenager would try to keep up with fashion. Don’t be surprised to see a new tattoo on his forearm or neck. This is surely a sign of a normal teenager who is trying to look cool and happening at school. On the other hand, you need to be alarmed if you spot cut or scratch marks on your child’s hand, arm, or palm. These are the usual places where they attack themselves. Also, sudden weight loss and weight gain are signs of unhealthy eating habits, which may turn out to be harmful for your child. You must put a halt to it.
Differences between normal and troubled teenage behavior
If your child starts acting independent and argumentative, it is a positive thing. But if your child begins to argue unreasonably at everything you say, or displays unruly violence at school, home and other places, then it is reason enough for you to worry.
Mood swings are normal they are not much of a cause for worry. But perpetual depression and failing grades should worry you. It indicates that your teenager is not able to cope with the day-to-day stress of life. He might be lashing it out at everything around him.
Alcohol and drugs are considered sinful by parents. They are surely not something you can be proud of, but be sure to have your children indulge into it often. Many normal teenagers like to experiment with alcohol and cigarette, just to experience it. This does not make them addicts, unless they do it very often. As a parent, you should be too uptight about these things, as they will only mess up with your child’s mind more. Troubled teenagers might be indulging in substance abuse. It won’t be difficult for you to gauge that, as there will be the cigarette stench being emitted from their clothes. Their eyes would seem to be red very often. Please be on guard and take alert actions. Do not just succumb to your misguided kid’s ways.
Social Skills and self-esteem groups can be very helpful to troubled teens. For more information, please see our Teens Groups Page.