Troubled Teen Warning Signs
The Common Signs Something is Wrong with Your Teen
When children start spinning out of control they usually exhibit many different signs which parents need to watch out for. Unfortunately, many parents often write-off these signs as normal adolescent behavior and as a result they don’t realize that their son is into drugs or other at-risk behavior until it is too late. So how can you as a parent know for sure whether or not your boy is in danger? Simple … by understanding that every child is in danger of this. The parent who says “not my kid” is the same parent who will miss all the signs that their child has started experimenting with drugs, promiscuity, illegal activities or other troubled behavior. Often they will stay in this state of denial until their son is in real trouble. So what should you as parents be looking for? Here are a few hints.
Dramatic changes in style of clothes, hair, music
These outward signs of rebellion should be obvious to a parent. Has your child started listening to radically different music with bad lyrics and anger, such as heavy metal or punk rock? Is your boy coloring his hair or wanting tattoos or piercings just to fit in? Is your child dressing down to fit in with friends at school? All of these are outward signs that your child is succumbing to negative peer pressure.
Hanging out with a bad crowd (a different crowd than they used to)
Your child might try and tell you that his friends are cool kids. But you need to take a close look at the kind of kids your child is hanging out with. Chances are the way these friends behave is the way your child behaves when you’re not around. Your child’s friends are like a mirror for your son — they look at themselves in that mirror and try to conform to what they see there. One of the best ways to get a good idea of what your child is like is to look at their closest friends.
Tardiness and/or truancies
You need to stay in touch with your child’s school. Never assume that his school will be in touch with you if there is a problem. If your child is getting into drugs, odds are he will start ditching class from time to time. Kids who do this tend to take off during the middle of school and get stoned somewhere near the campus. Don’t assume that their school will let you know about this kind of behavior. And you need to realize, kids are great at covering up this kind of behavior. Every boy knows how to forge his parent’s signature — no joke. Call your son’s school from time to time and ask about your child attendance record. You need to take the initiative here!
Isolating from family
Does your boy act distant? Does he constantly want to be with his friends, away from home? When you ask your child what he has been up to, does he give some vague reply or get upset that you asked? Does you child want to eat in their room all the time instead of with the family? Children are smart – they know that the easiest lie to tell is the one they can avoid having to tell. If your child doesn’t tell you what he has been up to, or avoids you altogether, there’s a good chance he is hiding something.
Changes in attitude and personality
Does it seem like your child is suddenly a completely different person with a new personality which you don’t like one bit? Has your child suddenly developed a “tough guy” or disrespectful attitude? If your child is experimenting with at-risk behavior, there’s a good chance you’ll be seeing these kinds of attitude changes. Often parents just see this as normal teenage behavior and write it off. Don’t make this mistake . . . otherwise you might overlook one of the most obvious signs.
Changes in sleep patterns
These kinds of changes should be fairly obvious. Does your child stay up late (or even all night) frequently, refusing to get up in the morning at a decent time. Does your boy sleep way too much or way too little. If your child isn’t sleeping much, there’s a good chance he is using some kind of stimulant.
Eating way too much or way too little
Here’s another obvious sign of drug experimentation that is often overlooked as normal teenage behavior. Does your boy come home in the afternoon after hanging out with friends and devour everything in the refrigerator? If your child is smoking pot with his friends, it wouldn’t be unusual for your child to eat a bit more food than normal. Does your child skip quite a few consecutive meals, then “speed” drug use is a possibility.
Paranoia – everyone is out to get me
Does your son treat everybody as if they were the enemy? Does he tend to express the idea that everybody is out to get him? Does he seem overly paranoid to you? This is not normal teenage behavior; you need to understand that. It could be he is being bullied or a substance he is taking making him that way. It’s one of those signs you don’t have to look hard to see, but he may be covering up the real cause.
Experimentation with Drugs or Alcohol
Do your son’s eyes look funny? Are the pupils real large or real small? Does your child wear sunglasses even at night and try and say their just trying to look cool? A person’s eyes show the effects of the drugs their on. If you think your child is experimenting with drugs, watch his eyes. Are they red all the time? Glazed? If so, there’s a real good chance your boy is using drugs or alcohol. In any case, this warning sign should cause you to get help for him.
Sudden bursts of anger
Has your child developed a violent side? Is he prone to sudden, uncontrollable fits of anger? This doesn’t have to mean physically violent (though that is often the case) but can also be a teen who is always yelling or threatening people. Any of these things should be a warning sign to you that your child could be experimenting with alcohol or drugs. There could be possible abuse or bullying.
If your boy is experimenting with drugs, he will be telling lots of lies to cover this up. Teens tend to be very good at covering things up. If you start wondering whether or not your child is telling you the truth there is a good chance that your instincts are right. Be persistent and learn what it is that he is trying to cover up.
Dramatic mood swings
Does your child seems real happy one day, then terribly depressed the next day? Do your child’s emotions go up and down constantly? This is often confused with “normal” teenage behavior, but it can also be an obvious sign of emotional or drug abuse. Don’t simply write it off.
Excessive money spending or money disappearing
If your child keeps coming to you needing money, or if money keeps coming up missing from your purse or your wallet, you need to have a serious talk. Especially if they always seem to need 20 dollars or 50 dollars — round amounts — since that is often the price of drugs.
Excessive Use of Foul or Obscene Language
Has your child suddenly developed a filthy mouth? This might indicate that your boy is giving into peer pressure from their friends and should be a warning sign to you. If your child is trying to fit in with their friends by cussing, sooner or later your child will probably look for other ways to gain acceptance in his peer group.