By Kathy Stearns
The term troubled teen is thrown around a lot these days, though the true definitions are not often discussed. Any mother of a teenager will tell you that they are a special brood of people. Teens tend to act very erratically due to fluctuating hormones and mood swings. So for most parents it can be difficult to determine when a kid crosses the line from being an angst-ridden adolescent to a troubled teen. Luckily, there are a few indicators we can look for to know when teen help is required.
In a lot of cases, depression is the number one culprit for a teenager’s disruptive behavior, so the more you know about detecting depression the better. Despite the fact that teens are moody and often unpredictable, when they start to fall into certain behavior patterns more help is usually needed. These behaviors can sometimes just be a portion of a quick phase, but if it goes on for more than a couple of weeks then it is time to call in a professional.
If you notice your child becoming harder to deal with as far as using harsh words or violence then you should definitely be looking for any other troublesome signs that follow. If your teenager ditches their current social group and becomes a loner or attaches themselves to a different, often less favorable group then they are likely going through some hard times. When these things take place you need to question your child if possible and try to assess the situation. A teen will often ignore important things like education and friends and become very apathetic. Though it is common for youngsters to rebel, when they do so consistently it is time to seek assistance.
Teens who are suffering from depression, anxiety, and even ADHD that is left untreated often turn to forms of self medication. When your child begins to abuse these types of substances then it is definitely time to get them the help they need as quickly as possible. Though many parents claim that they were oblivious to their teen’s drug problems there are almost always warning signs. Uncharacteristic sleeping patterns are some of the more obvious signs along with becoming socially withdrawn and spending a lot of time alone in their room or away from home. Drugs don’t have to be of the illegal type to pose a problem, either. The drugs that most teens first experiment with come from inside their own home. It can be something as simple as beer or cough syrup, but if they can take enough of it to alter their state of mind they are abusing it.
Any adult who suspects their youngster might be a troubled teen is probably right. Most parents who start to seek help for their young one do so based solely on parental intuition. Teenagers rebel and will often reject your help at first, but later on in life they will thank you.
Kathy Stearns is a freelance writer who has written for many publications and resides in Irvine, California.