Just Acting Up or A Cry For Help? 5 Signs to Look For


Parents of troubled teens often brush off their daughter’s actions and say, “She’s just spreading her wings.” When teenagers reach adolescence, it is true that they go through a rebellious phase where they try to figure out who they are, where they fit in in the world and what their life will be like. They push away from their parents in an effort to take on situations and life on their own, to prepare themselves for adulthood.

However, there is a big difference between rebellion and spreading her wings and crying out for help. There are certain types of behavior that no teenager should participate in. You, as a parent, must step in and help when you notice these five signs.

Using Drugs or Alcohol

Consuming drugs or alcohol is illegal for teenagers and can lead to serious issues. While some troubled teens might claim that they are just experimenting, there is no doubt a reason she was led to trying alcohol or drugs in the first place. She could be suffering from anxiety, depression or another issue, but instead of turning to an adult, she first experimented with drugs or alcohol to see if they would help.

What your daughter may not know is that using some illegal substances, even once, can result in addiction or overdose.


Self-harm is a behavioral issue that involves one cutting, burning, scratching or hurting oneself in some way. While this behavior may not be related to suicidal thoughts, it should always be treated like it is. Sometimes it’s the only warning sign that a teen is going to attempt suicide.

In addition to being one of the first signs that your teen may be dealing with depression or suicidal thoughts, cutting, burning or scratching can also lead to physical issues your daughter may not have considered, such as infections.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are a common mental health issues among troubled teens, but are especially common among girls. Anorexia or Bulimia can be very dangerous, so watch for warning signs, such as:

  • – Sudden weight loss
  • – Preoccupation with appearance and weight
  • – Changes in eating behavior
  • – Visiting the bathroom right after a meal
  • – Fear of certain foods

Medical complications can occur if eating disorders are not treated. This can include damage to the bones, kidneys, liver, heart and brain.


Everyone gets sad, but if your teenager spends all of her time in an extremely low mood, she may have depression. In some cases, she may stay to herself most of the time and refuses to do things she used to love doing. She may also sleep more often than normal as well.

These cries for help are more than just acting out. Your daughter needs help. In some cases, a psychiatrist may be able to help her begin to feel and express those positive feelings again. In other situations, a much more drastic approach is needed. If your daughter is struggling with mental health issues or eating disorders, consider getting the right help from our boarding school for teenage girls. We’ve helped many troubled teens, and we can help yours.

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