August, 21 2017

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Troubled Teens

How are Troubled Teens Different from ‘Normal’ Teenagers?

Troubled teens are a part of our culture, movies, and books, but despite their prevalence many of us find it difficult to answer questions like these. What truly defines a troubled teen, and when does a parent really need to seek intervention? How can I tell if my teen is troubled? The truth is, that the phrase 'normal teenager' is somewhat of an oxymoron, being a teenager is a tough time of growth and self-discovery and can sometimes look like a personality disorder. A troubled teenager is the one that brought you to this page, usually one that has shown a pattern of poor behavior/choices. If you are having enough trouble with your teenager that you are reading this page, you are a loving enough parent that you are seeking help.

It becomes to easy for us as parents to pass of the behavior of troubled teens as “Just a Phase.” When we pass off behavior as something that is 'just a phase' we also evade the responsibility to do something about it. Besides, it is too easy to compare your teen to so and so's teenager who is undoubtedly so much worse. Too often we vacillate between, "My kid is not as bad as their kid!" and "Why can't my teen behave more like so-and-so's kid?" Rather than accepting the fact that our teen just like us is not perfect, and that his/her behavior is only evidence of the help that he/she needs.

Many troubled teens become skilled manipulators, they know how to ‘push your buttons’ both in ways to upset you to the point of tears, and to be cute enough to help themselves get out of tight situations. Some teens can be secretive enough that they find it easy to hide drug or alcohol abuse, these teens easily manipulate situations to help their parents feel like everything is fine - and yes this even includes straight 'A' students, prom queens, and the captains of the football team.

Take some time to look through information here and elswhere about things you can do to help your troubled teen, solutions range from a change in parenting style to lockdown residential treatment and everything in between. Trust yourself to know when you've found a good solution for your teen and your family. If feasable, don't be afraid to start with a small solution and escalate to something bigger if needed. If you start as soon as possible and keep working on it, things will work out just fine like they have for thousands of parents who have dealt with things that you are now dealing with.

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Typical Behavioral Patterns of Troubled Teens

Below is listed some of the most common behavioral patters of troubled teens. While not all inclusive, this list should give you some ideas of what to be looking for.

  • Defiance/Disrespect/Rebellion: Characteristic of troubled teens acting out against your authority as a parent, or against all authority in general.
  • Failing in School: Characteristic of troubled teens whose grades drop, perhaps suddenly. Generally followed by a loss of interest in school and other normal activities.
  • Drug or Alcohol Abuse: Characteristic of troubled teens abusing either legal over-the-counter/prescription drugs and/or illegal drugs.
  • Depression: Characteristic of troubled teens withdrawing from normal behaviors and activities, losing hope and excitement about things happening in their lives.
  • Dishonesty: Characteristic of troubled teens lying about activities that they’re involved in, friends they’re hanging out with, and things they have done. Also includes teens stealing money or personal property from family members or others.

What to Do With Troubled Teens

Troubled teens are often confused and frightened. Their defiance, anger, and rebelliousness reflect confusion and fear. The first step in saving a child from a self-destructive path of academic failure, drug and alcohol abuse, and even time in the juvenile justice system is to realize that to help your teen, you need professional help. That help can come in many different forms, books, counseling (both for you and your teen), day and/or residential treatment. The main key is to pick one of these avenues and start now, today to do something about your situation. Read a book, talk to a counselor, or look into some other form of treatment. Implement the things that you learn from books and counselors or treatment programs, and keep working at it. A couple things will probably be for sure when you start to do this. Your teenager is not going to be happy that you are crushing their miserable world - If you are not determined and persisten as well as loving and kind, you can probably guarantee that nothing in your current situation will change for any substantial period of time.

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