The Warning Signs
Troubled teens don’t differ much from a normal teenager. In order to raise a teenager, you have to respect his privacy and the fact that he is his own person. To overcome behavioral problems, you have to understand the warning signs of potentially dangerous behavior.
Troubled teens tend to push normal teen behavior to a new level.
Most teens rebel by changing their look, but that change in appearance can warn parents if it is also accompanied by a change in attitude. You will argue with your teen, but arguments that tend to escalate to violence might indicate that your teen is in trouble. Try to focus on the real warning signs of trouble, and avoid turning normal teen behavior into something it is not.
A few warning signs follow:
A drop in grades
New friends who are in trouble
Trust your instincts. You know your child better than you think.
What Not To Do
When your child reaches their teens, they start to experience the physical and emotional changes that go along with transitioning to adulthood. You will find that your teen is extremely sensitive to much of what is going on around them, and they will also want to find their identity. Developing teens by nature rebel because they are finding their way. They will push the limits of what you approve.
However, do not treat your teen like a toddler. If your teen is immersed in technology but still does his homework, then encourage him to keep up his grades. If your teen would rather spend time with friends but still shows up for family gatherings, then give him personal space. Don’t be a “helicopter” parent to a child who is trying to find his own way.
What You Should Do
Support your teen be there when he makes a mistake, but don’t be judgmental. Teach your teen how to find his way through life, and he will respect you more. Don’t talk down about your teen’s friends because those friends are an extension of your teen’s world. Welcome the friends you like and be ready to pick up the pieces if some relationships don’t work out.
The job of a parent changes when a child transitions into a teen. Parents desperately want to run their children’s lives until their children leave home, but conflict might result. The more dominant a parent tries to be, the more the teen will push that parent away. Your teen can overcome behavioral problems with your help, but you need to provide the understanding, support and unconditional love that your teen desperately needs.