How to Identify When Your Child Needs Intervention

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How to identify when your adolescent needs help or outside intervention

Which teenagers are at high risk for such behaviors as drug/alcohol use, dropping out of school, pregnancy, violence, depression, or suicide? One of the difficulties parents face is how to recognize the more subtle indicators of such behavioral problems and when and how to intervene.

One of the obstacles that can cause parents to delay in getting help for their struggling adolescent is their confusion about the answer to this question. What truly defines a troubled teen, and when does a parent really need to seek intervention? Many parents find themselves comparing their child to other children. Parents often vacillate between, "My child is not as bad as their kid!" and "Why can't my teen act like that so-and-so's child?"

Although it is tempting to compare your child to other adolescents in an attempt to measure the seriousness of the situation, this is not truly indicative of a teen's need for outside intervention. Parents will do best if they look at their individual situation and decide for themselves if the teenager is on a self-destructive path. This is not to say that parents should not avail themselves of support groups or other sources of information that might guide them in their choices. It simply means that you know if your child is in trouble. Trust your instincts and take action before the situation deteriorates.

Many adolescents become skilled manipulators, highly secretive, and expert at wriggling out of a situation. If a parent just "doesn't want to know" on some level, these teens can easily manipulate the situation so the parent can feel as if everything is fine. Parents get into the cycle of denial, always finding a way to explain the behavior away so as to avoid the pain that is inevitable when you take decisive action with a rebellious, defiant child.

Is your teen troubled? Or just a normal adolescent going through the growing pains of becoming an adult? There are some tell-tale signs of a truly troubled teenager. Parents should be on the look out for these signs and take a closer look should they recognize a number of them in their child. Parents who take an honest look at their child should trust their instincts; if you think your child is in trouble, take action now.

Signs of a troubled teen:

Your child becomes more secretive, and it seems like more than a desire for greater privacy

Your teen has regular, sudden outbursts of anger that are clearly unreasonable and out of proportion to whatever has caused the anger

Your teen regularly misses curfew, does not show up when expected, and lies about his or her whereabouts (is not where you expected them to be if you check up on them)

Your teenager has suddenly changed his or her peer group and hasn't made an effort to let you meet these new friends. The new group has led to a distinct change in appearance (clothing, jewelry) and change in attitude (more sullen, defiant, hostile).

Your adolescent has stolen money from your purse on regular occasions.

Your adolescent has extreme mood swings, from depression to elation, and seems to sleep a lot more than usual at times.

Your child's grades have suddenly dropped and the child has lost interest in the usual activities.

Providing parents with information to help their troubled teen, troubled teenager, troubled youth, and troubled child including schools for troubled teen and treatment for troubled teens.

Sober Teens