How To Recognize A Teenager In Trouble

Like many parents, you may have felt relatively successful at parenting until the onset of your child's adolescence. Suddenly, the child who shared your interests and accepted your ideas now declares that, "You're completely out of it and don't understand anything about their life."

Some of your teen's rebellious or indifferent behavior just might be normal for this stage of their life. However, not all of their behaviors are the normal, rebellious angst that teenagers experience. Certain behaviors may indicate your teenager might be in over their head, be in trouble and need your help. The following are some things to look for -- or be aware of -- to help you recognize when a teenager is in trouble and in need of help:

Things To Look For:

Sleeping too much. We know that the teen years can sometimes find our children sleeping late or being lazy. You know the habits of your child – is your teenager sleeping even more than usual? Are they difficult to rouse? Do they complain of headaches or queasy stomach on rising? These may be symptoms of drug or alcohol use.

Not sleeping enough or insomnia. Is your teen staying out all night? Is your teen reluctant to tell you where they've been or who they've been with? Do they want to sleep during the middle of the day or "crash" for no apparent reason?

Irritable, erratic, moody or irrational behavior. Use or withdrawal from some drugs is accompanied by some or all of these behaviors. Does your teen become irrationally angry when confronted about their behavior? Do they show signs of rapid mood swings from sullen to happy and effusive?

Depression. Certainly, adolescence is a time of great change for teens and they often experience depression or sadness. With all of the hormonal changes happening it is not so hard to understand. However, are they unusually quiet or reserved? Have they been more withdrawn than usual? Have they changed their relationships with friends, their lifestyle, their habits or cleanliness? These are just some of the indicators that beg for you to talk with your child and make sure everything is okay.

Keeping secrets or lying. Is your teen telling lies about significant things like where they've been, who they were with. Are they lying about their grades, getting in trouble in school, cutting classes, disappearing for long periods without an explanation?