Teenage years and teenage problems can be rough for parents and teens alike. As teens make mistakes, learn, and develop the skills necessary to be an independent autonomous adult, it can seem like they are on an emotional roller coaster. Some behaviors that teens display are normal, such as mood swings, an increased peer influence, and a changing appearance. There are always going to be typical, teenage problems and behaviors. As teens strive for more independence and explore their own opinions, arguments with family members and struggling for more freedom are not uncommon; however, there are some red flag signs your teen may be in trouble that every parent should be aware of.
While teens are likely to turn to their friends rather than their parents for advice on making choices, a sudden change in their entire peer group could be a red flag, especially if the new found friends are having a negative influence. In addition, teenagers may want to express their newfound individuality by dying their hair or trying a new style of clothing; however, an extreme change in appearance, such as an extreme weight loss or gain could signify that this is outside the scope of normal teenage behavior. Here are some other warning signs of a troubled teenager:
- Secretive behavior, deception, or lying
- Unexpected/unexplainable decreased or failing academic performance
- Spending too much time sleeping
- Excessive electronics usage (internet, video games, social media, etc.)
- Significant changes in appetite or eating patterns (skipping meals, avoiding food, hoarding food, binge eating, or emotionally eating)
- Excessive Isolation
- Regularly missing curfew
- Skipping school
- Body image issues
- Significant disregard for personal hygiene
- Withdrawal from favorite sports or activities
- Excessive outbursts
- Self-injury (cutting or burning) or mentioning hurting him or herself
- Extreme defiance
- Bullying others
- Experimenting with alcohol and drugs
- Loss of self-esteem/extreme self-loathing
If a child is displaying some of these signs of a troubled teen, his or her issues may go beyond the scope of typical teenage problems. It could be time to think about an appropriate treatment program, as these could be signs of a mental illness, destructive behavior, substance abuse problem, or eating disorder. Having these issues evaluated and treated by reputable professionals, who utilize up to date approaches is essential to helping your teen continue their growth to a healthy, successful adult life.
Download our free whitepaper, Boot Camp for Teens: Is There a More Effective Solution?, to learn more about healthy, effective solutions to help teenagers and young adults through their challenges.