You may be reading this because it’s midnight, and you’re awake again. Thoughts about your teenager and their sudden changes are cause for concern.
You know this is not just normal teenage behavior and hormones at play.
Adolescence is a time of rapid change, externally and internally, and it can be an incredibly challenging time for a troubled teen. This causes them to act out and behave in ways that could harm their wellbeing.
In this post, we will unpack the warning signs that your teenager is in trouble, the causes, and what you can do about it. By understanding the fundamental issues affecting your child, you will be able to help them more effectively during this tumultuous time.
Signs Your Child Needs Help
Deep in your gut, you probably know it’s true: your troubled teen needs help. However, if you still have doubts, read on as we delve into the red flags that indicate it’s time for an intervention. Here are a few things to look out for:
When you notice that your teenager is behaving differently, it’s time to pay closer attention to their general behavior and demeanor.
These changes include sudden emotional outbursts, fluctuating moods, and a reluctance to socialize with people they would typically enjoy seeing.
Appetite and sleeping patterns
The host of challenges facing troubled teens can often lead to changes in their appetite and sleeping patterns.
If your early riser is now lying in until the late afternoon, or you spot any other drastic changes in their usual sleeping routine, it may indicate that they need help.
The same goes for their eating habits. Look out for refusal to eat or consuming too much unhealthy food.
A decline in academic or extramural performance
Our teens spend a considerable chunk of their time at school. It’s where they learn, socialize with friends, and participate in sports.
A telltale sign that your teen needs help is a sudden drop in their grades. The same is true if they’re suddenly not performing on the track like they used to.
Self-harm and suicidal thoughts
Teens are good at hiding things, so be on the lookout for cover-ups, like long-sleeve sweaters in the blistering heat, which may indicate they are harming themselves.
If you notice any self-harming activities from your teen, including reckless and dangerous behavior, seek help immediately.
It’s even more important to do so if your child has been mentioning suicide lately or you find evidence that they may contemplate suicide.
What Could Be Causing Your Teenager Distress?
There are many factors, so much more than can be listed here, that may be contributing to the emotional turmoil in your troubled teen’s life. Understanding the reason behind your teen’s behavior will help you make better care decisions.
These things happen inside your teen’s body and mind, which are often hard to articulate. It’s essential to keep the lines of communication with your teen, especially if you are already aware that they have mental health issues.
Challenges include low self-esteem, an unhealthy body image, and difficulties around their sexual identity. Another factor is a lack of emotional control, which may manifest as irritability, erratic mood swings, and aggressive behavior.
On top of everything going on inside of your teen, there are outside influences that may contribute to a more distressed state.
Negative parental pressure and unrealistic expectations can cause a troubled teen to feel stressed out and anxious. As parents, we should manage what we expect of our children so that we do not add to their challenges.
Bullying is a serious problem, too, and should not be downplayed and labeled as normal kid behavior. If you suspect your child is a victim of bullying, or they are a bully themselves, connect with teachers or the counselor to find out if there is any trouble at school.
In a lot of cases, substance abuse can cause damage to a child’s emotional, mental, and physical states. This has further knock-on effects on their behavior, their health, and overall well being.
How Can We Fix It?
When you first encounter your troubled teen, it can be challenging to accept the situation you are dealing with. However, this acceptance is critical to getting your teen the needed help.
Moreover, understanding what your child is going through on a deeper level is essential if you wish to support them through these troubling years.
The reality is that parents have hectic schedules, so finding the time to be present and attentive in our teen’s lives can seem impossible.
The good news is that you do not need to do this all alone.
Here are some parenting tips to help your teen:
- Join a support group for parents of troubled teens. Not only will it help to troubleshoot ideas with peers, but it will also give you a safe outlet for your emotional concerns.
- Stay calm and loving in your interactions with your teen. This doesn’t mean relaxing the boundaries and letting them do what they want. No. By leading with understanding and compassion, you’re opening the door to communication with your child. They should feel loved and supported, no matter how they behave.
- Get professional help. It’s important to acknowledge that you do not always have the expertise to deal with what your child is going through. Attending therapy can be beneficial for both your teenager and the whole family unit.
- Consider out-of-home care, such as a boarding school for troubled teens. More on this will be revealed below.
Get Assistance for Your Troubled Teen
When you have tried everything and are at a loss for how to help your adolescent, a therapeutic boarding school may be a viable option.
These schools remove your child from harmful influences at home, such as toxic friends and negative environmental factors. At the same time, they can work through their challenges in individual and group therapy.
With ongoing support and tutoring, academics are also prioritized to help your teen get their grades back on track.
Each state has boarding facilities for troubled teens, but when you first start looking, the options can seem overwhelming.
We offer expert advice at Help Your Teen Now to help you choose the right school for your adolescent. By taking your circumstances into account, as well as your location, we can narrow down your options so that you can make an informed decision about your teen’s future.