How to Spot, and Help, Your Troubled Teen

Parenting

Apr 19

The deeper we go into the new millennium, the busier people tend to be. Even with all of the advancements in technology, it’s easy to get caught up in the rat race, working two jobs, building a career, and doing all of those other things to plan for the future. Meanwhile, your teenager continues to grow up.

Whether you have a tendency to spend a good amount of family time together in the evenings or you’re all rushing around doing your own thing because of time constraints, it can be difficult to spot trouble beginning to develop for your teenager.

With social media, sexting, and many other temptations for today’s teenage generation, there are many challenges that parents never had to face when they were growing up. Still, the underlying challenges all remain the same, including bullying, peer pressure, and more.

If you’re concerned about your teenage son or daughter, here are a few things to keep in mind that can help you spot (identify) and ultimately help your teenage child.

Your child has abandoned good friends for new ones.

People change friends all the time, but if your child has suddenly begun abandoning friends she’s had for many years and is beginning to associate with other teenagers of questionable character, according to you, then that may be a sign of some trouble brewing on the horizon.

If your child has suddenly stopped associating with friends she’s known since second or third grade, it could be a falling out between them, but it can also be that those other friends don’t agree with the people she’s now hanging out with. It’s time to begin looking at that a little more closely.

Grades are beginning to slip.

This is one of the telltale signs that there’s some trouble in your teenager’s life. When his grades begin to drop, whether he was an A student, a B student, or a regular C student, any drop in those grades, especially a sudden drop, is usually a sign that something is going on in their life.

Skipping school

A student who is late to school or skips it all together is doing something they’re not supposed to be doing. In fact, truancy is the biggest predictor for boys with regard to criminal activity in the future. Boys who have a tendency to be truant are far more likely to end up with a criminal record in the future. For girls, it’s the number two predictor.

Lying.

When you begin catching your teenage son or daughter lying, whether it’s about their schoolwork, grades, whereabouts, or anything else, it may seem to be a normal teenage activity with regard to fighting for independence, but it’s usually a sign that they’re getting into trouble, or about to.

How can you help?

Being open and honest with your child is a good place to start. Give them the sense that you’re a comfortable place to turn when they want to talk about something. If you provide that open atmosphere, you can’t be judgmental or punish them for behaviors you might not have known about previously.

This is a time of their life when they need to fully understand there are consequences for their actions and that you, as their parent, aren’t simply going to be the one yelling at them. Sometimes, all they need is the attention of a parent they love dearly.