As parents of teenagers, we sometimes neglect to see the warning signs of a troubled teen. This means that your teen is displaying certain negative characteristics that are really trying to grab your attention. However, due to your own problems you may fail to see your child's troubles. We are all busy in our own lives but as parents we have a responsibility to know what's going on in our kids' lives and keep them on the right track to productive adulthood.
Even though your teen may be seventeen and almost emancipated, he or she still thinks like a child and not an adult. Warning signs that may indicate a troubled teen include isolation, a whole new set of friends, problems at school, drug and alcohol use, and depression or anxiety.
Isolation of Your Teenager
For your teenager, it means the world to have friends. If you begin noticing that your teen begins to like being alone a lot, it's time to find out why. Some teens are very shy, but even they have at least one best friend.
New friends you were never introduced to – this spells TROUBLE. If your teenager begins to hang out with a whole new group of friends and does not ever mention who they are or where they live, it's time that you drag the information out of her. You know the saying, "One bad apple spoils the whole bunch." You certainly do not want your child to be spoiled by one bad teenager. Your teen may begin to dress differently too; To match her new friends. This is just one more clue for you to step in.
Problems at School
Falling grades or lying about completing assignment are a sign there has been a change in your teen. If she fails to do assignments even though you ask if she completed her work and she always said "yes", then something it's time to find out what is wrong. Sometimes a teenager just will not want to go to school and her absenteeism goes through the roof. Your teenager may begin to have disputes with some of their teachers. These are all warning signs that you must step in and help your teen the best you can or else seek professional help for her.
Drugs and Alcohol
Trying a little alcohol a taste or experimenting with weed may be part of the experience all teenagers have to go through this day and age. However, when a parent's pills are missing or your child is showing erratic and strange behavior something has changed. When in doubt, check it out.
Some people may totally disagree with the following advice but it could save your child's life. When your teenager goes to school, look though her room and especially her dresser drawers' way in the back. My girls went on vacation and my husband went into my daughter's room and found my bottle of ninety tablets of Ativan. The bottle was empty. She had taken those pills in about the space of only a few weeks. She had stolen them. Yes, she was hooked on drugs. We did and are getting her help but we missed the early signs.
Depression and Anxiety
You may find that your child may really have some deep-seated emotional issues particularly if you notice the word "suicide" in your computer's search engine. Your teen may also start wearing long-sleeved shirts because she may be cutting herself with razor blades. These all signs that you as a parent must step in and lend a helping hand. You do not want your teenager to commit the ultimate act.
Here's one more danger sign; If your child disappoints right after eating or she eats hard anything, do not let this go on. Our daughter was treated for anorexia and bulimia. We could have done it soon but it was not until she was passing out that our eyes were opened. This can happen to boys as well as girls.
Parents, watch over the children that God gave you. I think the most important advice I can give it that you pay attention to your kids. Know them, their likes dislikes, habits, wardrobe, friends. If you are involved, you will be able to see the early signs of trouble and step in to help.