“She’s just being a teenager. You remember those days. Hormones raging. Trying to figure out where you belong. It will pass.”
How many times have you said this sentence or any part of it? While parenting a teenager is not an easy thing to do, and there are indeed certain aspects you can chalk up to typical adolescence, there are some behaviors that you shouldn’t ignore. Troubled teens face learning, emotional and behavioral problems that could affect them the rest of their lives.
So how do you know what behaviors are a normal part of teenage development and which are more serious?
Typical Teen: Adolescents seek out new ways to be their own person and be more a part of their social group. Your daughter may become more enthralled in fashion, may test the boundaries by wearing attention-seeking clothing and may even dye her hair.
Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore: Pay attention to any other issues that accompany her changes in appearance. Failing to change clothes or bathe may be a sign of depression. Wearing clothing that covers her arms and legs in hot weather may hide self-harming behaviors. Weight loss or weight gain may indicate eating problems and disorders.
Experimenting With Drugs and Alcohol
Typical Teen: Many teens try smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol at some point during their teenage years. Some may even try marijuana. Speak to your daughter about these substances and how they can affect her mental health so this doesn’t become a problem.
Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore: If you suspect your daughter using alcohol or drugs more than once or habitually, this is a problem. Often, other signs will accompany drinking or drug use, like problems at school or home, changes in mood, promiscuous behavior, and weight loss or gain.
Typical Teen: Your daughter is trying to figure out her place in this world. As she seeks to become more independent, there may be arguments and disagreements.
Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore: Red flag warnings of behaviors that go beyond what is expected of a typical adolescent include run-ins with the law, escalation of arguments, violent behavior and skipping school.
Typical Teens: Your teen’s friends are going to have a big influence on your daughter, and that’s normal. You may feel hurt as she withdraws from you, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t still need you or your love.
Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore: It’s time to take action when her peer group suddenly changes and her new friends are encouraging her to behave negatively. It’s also a red flag if she’s refusing to comply with your rules, lying or spending too much time alone.
Typical Teens: Oh, the hormones. First, she’s laughing, then she’s crying, then she’s irritable for no good reason. It’s all a part of growing up.
Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore: Persistent sadness, sleeping problems, anxiety and falling grades aren’t normal. They can indicate mental health issues like depression and anxiety disorders. They may also indicate that bullying is occurring.
Are you worried about your daughter’s behavior? Know the difference between typical teen behavior and behaviors of troubled teens so you can get your daughter the help she needs.