Warning signs of troubled teenagers.

To parent a teenage it takes a lot of honesty, trust and patience

To parent a teenager it takes a lot of honesty, trust and patience as young people change and as they grow they will test boundaries and force parents into corners. However sometimes what can be seen as a phase can be something more serious but it doesn’t mean they are bad kids more that they are acting out, maybe looking for attention and could even be depressed. All angles should be explored if you are having any issues with your teenager and here are a few signs that your teenager is having a rough time and needs you to step in and steer them in the right direction.
  • Little interest in school and dropping in grades- If your teen was a model student and suddenly they are dropping marks it is a sure fire sign something is up and this is out of character.
  • Mood swings and temper tantrums- All teens will get moody but there is a line and you know your child best about whether it is the norm or not. Stay calm and focused and don’t be dragged into a war of words or worse, and try to reach out to your teenager and figure out where all the anger is coming from.
  • No interest in once loved activities- Losing interest in long term activity is a signal that your teen is losing interest in everything and this is worrying behaviour. Losing interest in school is normal at times for young people but not for something they adored up until a couple of weeks ago.
  • Avoids old friends and is hanging with a new crowd- Cutting out old friends and hanging out in a new group is something parents should be worried about. Who are these new friends? Are they good or bad influences? And why has your teen turned his/her back on their pals. This has to be questioned by you and your teenager has to co-operate and give you some answers.
  • Secrets and dishonesty- When you have a teenager in the house of course there will be secrets and a few lies but as long as they are white lies and not big secrets you can overlook them. However hiding things and consistently lying are not the way your teen should believe it is ok to behave, lies have to be punished and you need your child to understand that.
  • Sadness and trouble sleeping- If your teen is looking downbeat, upset and seems to be awake in the all hours of the night you need to step in and ask “why?” Teenagers need privacy but if they are showing these signs it may be your child is depressed or severely stressed out and these troubles have to be sorted quickly to avoid a long term problem.
  • Experimenting and covering up- Getting drunk, nicking stuff or smoking are all about experimenting though these things can get out of hand quickly. For these things not to grow into a real problem they must be nipped in the butt now, and don’t put it down to teenagers being teenagers as it is not acceptable behaviour.
Your teen may show one or all of these signs and it is important to seek medical advice if you are worried immensely about your teenager’s mental health. For most cases a few blips are normal along a teens journey into adulthood but always be on the look out and be aware of any changes to your teens behaviour and be there for them if they do.
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