If your teen is exhibiting certain signs or behavioral issues, their struggles may go beyond standard adolescent turmoil and/or being a defiant teenager. Depression, substance abuse, learning difficulties, and low self-esteem are often problems your teen cannot handle on his or her own. Conflict resolution for teens can be a slippery slope. As a parent, you know your child better than anyone else. It may be time to seek outside help for your son or daughter if you’ve noticed some of these behaviors that are indicative of a teen in crisis:
1. Disengagement from school
If your teen suddenly loses interest in subjects they used to enjoy, it could indicate emotional disturbance or substance abuse. If your straight A’s and B’s student starts to flail academically, this is an indication that he or she needs help – likely beyond tutoring.
2. Avoiding Old Friends
If your child is avoiding peers with whom they have always shared interests, it could indicate a radical change in behavior. This is often linked to more serious substance experimentation, depression, or mood disorders.
If your child is engaging in unsafe, unhealthy sexual behavior, this is often a symptom of underlying anxiety, depression, or other psychological pain.
Involvement in physical conflicts is a sign that your child does not have appropriate coping strategies for their day-to-day life, and needs help. Violence definitely goes beyond the scope of a violent teen and into the realm of a teen in crisis. Conflict resolution for teens who are displaying violent behavior is extremely vital.
This includes cutting, burning oneself, or being obsessive about food intake, in addition to more dramatic gestures like talking about suicide.
6. Changes in Eating Patterns
Avoiding food, emotionally eating, hoarding food, binge eating, or extreme weight loss or weight gain can indicate an underlying emotional disturbance. These can be deadly if left untreated.
7. Extreme Disregard of Personal Health and Hygiene
Lack of self-care, such as infrequent showering or brushing of teeth, can result in social alienation and may indicate depression or developmental issues.
8. Dramatic Changes in Sleep Patterns
Excessive sleeping, or not sleeping enough, is often an indicator of depression. It has also been linked to problematic electronics use.
9. Overuse of Electronics
We all need to use the internet and computer on a daily basis, students in particular. However, some adolescents are especially vulnerable to videogame, smartphone, and internet addiction. For these individuals, it is a distraction that can become an all-consuming addiction. This can disrupt school and devastate peer and family relationships.
10. Habitual Alcohol or Drug Use
Some experimentation is normal for teenagers, but when substance use becomes a frequent, regular escape, there is a deeper problem that is not being addressed. While some parents may view this as their child being a defiant teenager, this can be a red flag sign of a teen in crisis.
11. Verbal, Emotional, or Physical Abuse within your Household
If your teen engages in bullying behavior, name-calling, yelling, or blatant disregard toward you or other members of your household, this may indicate a teen in crisis. While all teenagers push boundaries, this type of behavior is not acceptable and indicates that your child may need a lifeline. Conflict resolution for teens in crisis is especially important to ensure a healthy family dynamic.
If your teenage child has gone beyond a defiant teenager and is displaying some of these red flag signs of a teen in crisis, there could very well be an underlying cognitive, emotional, or psychological issue that needs to be addressed. If you suspect that your child is in crisis, it is time to take the necessary steps to get help.
To learn more about how you can help your teen in crisis, download our free white paper.