The teenage years are a difficult time. With changing bodies, hormones going crazy and the pressures of peers, it is no surprise that teenagers sometimes have a difficult time getting through everyday tasks. If you are experiencing problems with your own teen, such as arguing or isolating themselves, it may be normal behavior.
If you are witnessing your teen suffering from extreme anger issues, drug use or suicidal thoughts, you may need to step in and give them some extra help
Knowing when to step in
When dealing with teenagers, there is a fine line of when to step back and allow them to have their space and when to step in and offer additional resources. If you notice your teenager has all of a sudden jumped into a new group of friends, this is a reason to become more alert about what they are doing. Friendships do not usually end abruptly, so you may need to be alert to your teen’s actions to make sure there is not an underlying reason for the friendship change, such as drug or alcohol usage. If your teen is displaying extreme aggressive behavior to the point you are scared of them, you may need to seek some help for your child in order to divert this anger differently.
What to do if you think there is a problem
If you believe your teenager is having difficulty with drugs or alcohol, or if they are more aggressive than you think they should be, the first step you can take is to speak with them face-to-face to see if they will open up to you about anything going on in their life that is bothering them. Just knowing that you care, without yelling or degrading your teen, may help them to open up about problems. If they shut you out and the behavior does not end, you will need to take more aggressive steps.
Seeing a physician
Before anything else, if your child is acting out a behavior you do not agree with, have them checked over by their physician. There may be an underlying ailment that is causing them to act out, such as depression, anxiety or an obsessive disorder. A doctor would be able to rule out any physical problems and would be able to refer your teenager to a counselor if needed.
Seeing a counselor
If you are not able to get through to your teen on your own, make an appointment for them to see a counselor. They may open up to someone else, especially if they are having problems with you or other household members. It is sometimes easier to speak with someone impartial to the situations the teenager is experiencing.
Opting for at-risk youth programs
In more extreme cases, you may want to have your teenager stay at a residential treatment center to get professional help with their problems. At-risk youth programs can be a big help for teens that are wavering between good and bad behavior.
At a treatment center, your child will be able to be assessed by professionals and will have behavioral treatment to help get them back on track. They would have counseling in treatment, individually as well as in a group setting. They would be able to talk with other teens that have the same feelings, making them feel less isolated in their problems.
If they are suffering from an addiction, a residential setting would help them detoxify and they would start them on a treatment program to help them stop their addictive behavior.