October 2012

Troubled Teen CostumesTroubled teens can wear many different costumes to cope with issues that may be the core of their problems.  On the outside, you may see a strong, angry, loud and sometimes obnoxious teen.  But on the inside, you may find the complete opposite.  The external façade is an attempt to depress the issues that are troubling them.  It is a cry for help.  The following are a list of items that may be the root of what is causing your teen act the way she does.

Loneliness

A troubled teenager may just be feeling lonely.  If other friends are dating and having fun with the opposite sex this can make a teenager feel very left out.  Adolescence is a time when teens long for companionship and when their sexual drive is at its height.  These are powerful emotions.  When someone isn’t dating or not popular with the opposite sex they can feel unsure of themselves and are sometimes even ridiculed by others.  This can cause a teenager to become troubled as they search for the feeling of worth through the use of external sources such as alcohol, drugs, stealing.

Peer Pressure

The path of a troubled teenager often starts with their friends.  The need to fit in with the crowed may force a teenager to smoke, drink or do other things that thye might not normally do in an effort to fit in with their peers and be considered one of the “cool “kids.  While many kids go through some experimentation particularly with alcohol, this can quickly spiral out of control and become abuse if it’s not addressed.  A teenager may become troubled simply from the desire and need to fit and be accepted by the social group.  This desire to be popular can outweigh common sense and make a teenager take part in the wrong activities.

School Problems and Bullies

A troubled teenager may face many problems at school.  There may be a bully or someone picking on them which cause them to lash out in a negative way.  They may also be failing at courses and don’t know how to seek help.  They may see their failure at their school work as a sign that they aren’t good enough.

Family Problems

If the home life isn’t the best the teenager may become troubled.  This can include not getting along with brothers or sisters or problems with parents.  If there is one parent this can also be difficult for the child to cope.  A divorce or problem with the parents can cause a teenager to draw within and become troubled.

A Facade Hiding the Truth

A troubled teen is hiding something inside and there are many reasons why this occurs.  There’s a need to figure out why the teenager is troubled and then address these issues.  All teenagers will go through at least some difficult times but when it goes on for a long period it can spiral into something worse and needs to be addressed in the appropriate way.

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Signs Of a Troubled TeenParenting a troubled teenager is never an easy task.  However, there is a definite distinction between a troubled teen and a difficult teenager.  All teens will experience changes, such as changing peer groups and styles, occasional moodiness, some rebellion, and an assertion of independence. However, if these behaviors become excessive, they become warning signs of a troubled teen rather than a healthy maturation.  How can you tell the difference in normal development and behaviors of a troubled teen?  Here are some warnings to look for if you are concerned about your teenager’s well-being.

Manifestations of Depression

Moodiness is common during adolescence, and not necessarily a sign of trouble.  However, if you begin to see a variety of behaviors that point to depression, you should consider the possibility that the teen in question is in trouble.  Signs of depression include grades suddenly dropping, excessive sleeping, sudden changes in eating patterns, self-injury or mentions of personal harm, severe mood swings, or a sudden change in social patterns.

If the teen suddenly begins to isolate himself, or abandons friends in favor of a dramatically different peer group, you may want to investigate the causes.  With the exception of self-injury, none of these behaviors alone indicate that you are dealing with a troubled teen.  However, if the behaviors suddenly begin to appear together, you may have more on your hands than just a difficult teenager.

Honesty – or Lack Thereof

Adolescence will naturally seek more autonomy.  Even non troubled teenagers break the rules, rebel, and lie from time to time to avoid trouble.  However, a troubled teenager will take these behaviors to an extreme.  Consistently breaking curfew, sneaking out, lying consistently to avoid consequences and the use of drugs and alcohol are all signs that your teen may have gone beyond normal rebellion.

An occasional overstep of boundaries is normal, but if you feel like your teen knows the boundaries and rules yet does not care about them or the consequences, you may have a teenager in trouble.

Unexplained Money or Possessions

If your teenager has a job, that is a good sign.  But if she’s working for minimum wage, yet seems to be consistently acquiring things well outside the scope of that fast-food pay check, you may have cause for concern.  Conversely, the same goes if she never seems to have any money, despite working, and without appearing to shop for or purchase anything.

Additionally, if things are consistently disappearing around the house – cash, electronics, jewelry, or prescription medication, chances are you may dealing with a teen in trouble.  This sort of material or financial inconsistency is of particular concern if your teen has suddenly changed peer groups for no apparent reason or is very withdrawn and isolated, frequently lying about whereabouts, or experiences sudden weight changes, because all of these signs can point to potential drug abuse.

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Are You Making These Same Mistakes with Your Troubled Teen

October 26, 2012

There are many households that have a troubled teen and at least one unhappy parent wondering what mistakes to avoid.  Parenting difficult teenagers is as old as time, but despite all the lessons history has taught, many parents still make the same old mistakes.  Knowing what to do when faced with a troubled teen can […]

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Do You Want A Content or Troubled Teen

October 24, 2012

It’s not easy being a teen.  We all remember the difficulties of growing up, especially when confronted with peer pressure, drug use, dating, bullying and the like. With all these challenges, teens fortunate enough to have parents there supporting, listening and understanding them were greatly helped in getting through these difficult times. If you are […]

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Presidential Debate Lessons for Parenting Difficult Teenagers

October 22, 2012

The current series of presidential debates have not only captured the attention of tens of millions of Americans, they also have shed an important light on how responsible people deal with each other when they have disagreements – including parents of difficult teenagers.  While some may argue that the presidential etiquette has eroded, the truth […]

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