You might have noticed your child wanting to go out whenever he wants or not wanting to share information with you. He might also want more privacy, might not want to communicate with you as much as he used to and spend a lot more time on his appearance, clothes and hair.
Do not be afraid because your child could only be a youth undergoing some phase, who could use some help.
A teen can only be referred to as troubled teen if he/she is having problems which are causing negative behaviors and if these problems continue to affect the teen and thus, hinders him/her from developing into a happy successful adult.
These problems are beyond the normal issues that all adolescents face or they could be the inability to deal with the normal issues teenagers face. They can come from the teen’s environment like abusive relationship, poor peer groups or unsafe neighbuorhoods to physical and mental health issues like the ADHD or diabetes.
However, some parents do confuse normal teen behavior to be a troubled teen behavior and vice versa. A troubled teen faces behavioral, emotional or learning problems beyond the normal teenage issues. They may repeatedly practice at- risk behaviors such as violence, skipping school, drinking, drug use, sex, self harming, shoplifting or other criminal acts. Sometimes, they may exhibit symptoms of mental health problems like depression, anxiety, or eating disorders.
Some warning signs of a troubled teen include the following:
Changing appearance: This can be a red flag if it is accompanied by problem at school or other negative changes in behavior or if there is evidence of cutting and self harm.
Increased arguments and rebellious behavior: Constant escalation of arguments, violence at home, skipping school, getting in fights and run-ins with the law are all red flag behaviors that go beyond the norm of teenage rebellion.
Mood Swings: Rapid changes in personality, falling grades, persistent sadness, and anxiety or sleep problems could indicate depression, bullying or another emotional health issues. Take any talk about suicide very serious.
More influenced by friends than parents: Red flags here include a sudden change in peer group especially if the new friends encourage negative behaviour, refusing to comply with reasonable rules and boundaries or avoiding the consequences of bad behavior by lying. Your teen spending too much time alone can also be an indication of a problem.
Experimenting with alcohol or drugs: When alcohol or drug use becomes habitual especially when it is accompanied by problems at school or home. It may indicate a substance abuse issue or other underlying problems.
As a parent who is concerned about the welfare and development of his/her child, if you identify red flag behaviors such as the ones discussed above, consult a doctor, therapist or other mental health professional for help, finding appropriate treatment.
But, before you seek professional help for your teen, try to improve the situation between and also try to understand teen development, that way you will be able to help your child yourself. But, if you are unable to help your child, then seek for professional help as soon as possible.