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Troubled Teen Warning Signs

The Common Signs Something is Wrong with Your Teen

Christian therapeutic boarding school in the caribbeanWhen children start spinning out of control, they usually exhibit many signs that parents need to watch for. Unfortunately, many parents often write off these signs as normal adolescent behavior. 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 whether or not your teen is in danger? Simply 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 troubling 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?

Does your teen have dramatic changes in the style of clothes, hair, music?

These outward signs of rebellion should be evident to a parent. Has your child started listening to radically different music, such as heavy metal or punk rock? Is your teen coloring their hair some weird color just to fit in? Is your child dressing down to fit in with friends at school? These are outward signs that your child is succumbing to negative peer pressure.

Is your teen hanging out with a wrong crowd (a different crowd than they’re used to)?

Your child might try and tell you that their friends are cool kids. But you need to look closely at the kids your child is hanging out with. Chances are, the way these friends behave is how your child behaves when you’re not around. Do some of your child’s friends smoke cigarettes or pot? If so, odds are your child is smoking too. Your child’s friends are like a mirror for your son or daughter — 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.

Does your teen have tardiness and/or truancies at school?

It would help if you stayed in touch with your child’s school. Never assume that their school will be in touch with you if there is a problem. If your child is getting into drugs, they will start ditching class occasionally. Kids who do this tend to take off during the middle of school and get stoned somewhere near the campus. Don’t assume that the school will let you know about this. You need to realize that kids are great at covering up this behavior. Every teen knows how to forge their parent’s signature — no joke. Call your child’s school from time to time and ask about your child’s attendance record. You need to take the initiative here!

Is your teen isolating from family?

Christian therapeutic boarding school in the caribbeanDoes your teen act distant? Does they constantly want to be with their friends, away from home? When you ask your child what they have been up to, do they give some vague reply? Do they want to eat in their room all the time instead of with the family? Children are intelligent – they know that the easiest lie to tell is the one they can avoid having to speak. If your child doesn’t tell you what they have been up to, there’s a good chance they are hiding something.

Does your teen have changes in attitude and personality?

Does it seem like your child is suddenly a completely different person with a new personality that you don’t like? Has your child suddenly developed a tough guy 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 see this as typical teenage behavior and write it off. Don’t make this mistake; otherwise, you might overlook one of the most obvious signs.

Does your teen have changes in sleep patterns?

These kinds of changes should be pretty obvious. Does your child frequently stay up late (or even all night), refusing to get up in the morning at a decent time? Does your teen sleep way too much or way too little? If your child isn’t sleeping much, there’s a good chance they are using drugs. This is a frequent effect of using stimulants.

Has your teen started using excessive use of foul or obscene language?

Has your child suddenly developed a filthy mouth? This might indicate that your child is giving in to 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 their peer group. One of these ways is often drugs.

Is your teen eating way too much or way too little?

Here’s another obvious sign of drug experimentation that is often overlooked as typical teenage behavior. Does your child come home in the afternoon after hanging out with friends and devour everything in the refrigerator? If your child is smoking pot with their friends, eating a bit more food than normal wouldn’t be unusual. If your child skips several consecutive meals, then “speed” use is possible.

Does your teen have paranoia – everyone is out to get me?

Christian therapeutic boarding school in the caribbeanDoes your son or daughter treat everybody as if they were the enemy? Do they tend to express that everybody is out to get them? Do they seem overly paranoid to you? This is not normal teenage behavior; you need to understand that. This is one of the most common signs of drug abuse. It’s one of those signs you don’t have to look hard to see.

Does your teen have dilated eyes, red eyes, or glazed eyes?

Do your son’s eyes look funny? Are the pupils real large or real small? Does your child wear sunglasses even at night and say he’s just trying to look cool? A person’s eyes show the effects of the drugs he is on. If you think your child is experimenting with drugs, watch their eyes. Are they red all the time? Glazed? If so, there’s a good chance your child is using drugs.

Does your teen have sudden bursts of anger?

Has your child developed a violent side? Is your teen 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. These things should be a warning sign to you that your child could be experimenting with alcohol or drugs.

Has your teen been telling lies?

If your child is experimenting with drugs, he will tell 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 correct. Be persistent and learn what he is trying to cover up.

Has your teen been having dramatic mood swings?

Does your child seem happy and 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 drug abuse. Don’t simply write it off.

Has your teen been spending excessive amounts of money, or does your money seem to disappear?

If your child needs money, or if money keeps coming up missing from your purse or your wallet, you need to have a serious talk. Especially if he always seems to need 20 or 50 dollars — round amounts — since that is often the price of drugs.

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