Recognizing that there is an issueYou know your teen better than most. In most cases, you’ll notice when your teen is struggling. His grades may fall, he may skip school, start hanging out with new friends, and act out or speak out rudely to parents and teachers. Your teen may also get angry and emotional and spend more time alone in his bedroom. These are pretty clear signs that your teen is struggling. Some teens may also become aggressive, stay out past curfew, and even stay out all night or run away for days at a time. You may also see signs that your teen is drinking or using drugs. It could start with cigarettes or vaping and empty bottles of alcohol stashed in his room. It seems like a simple conversation with your teen could resolve everything. Ask him what he’s struggling with, give him solutions, and it’ll all be resolved. In reality, most teens are liable to clam up and refuse to provide you with straight answers. Your teen may even get aggressive or lash out in a few ways if he feels backed into a corner. Thankfully, parents can take several other steps to help their teens through this rough patch in their lives.
What’s responsible for behavior changes in teens?Getting an idea of what is causing your teen’s behavior is an excellent start to helping you get him the right treatment to address his needs. For example, if your teen’s grades have been dropping and he is getting into trouble at school, there may be a few reasons behind this. Is he being bullied? Is he getting into altercations with his teachers or fellow students? Is he taking drugs or drinking, impacting his ability to focus and function? Speaking with his teachers, school counselors, and others who spend time with him during the school week, such as coaches, can help you figure out what’s going on. It could be a good idea to take him to the family doctor or pediatrician. Not only to rule out any possible physical concerns, but they may be able to refer you to mental health professionals who have a focus on adolescents. Getting to the root cause of these behavioral changes may not be as easy as you’d hope, but they can certainly help you with figuring next steps for helping your teen.
Helping your teenAs a parent, you want nothing more than to help your teen find his way back to stability and normalcy. Getting to that point may take a bit of work. Here are a few things you can do to try and help your teen.
- Reassure him that you love him unconditionally
- Let him know that you’ll always be there to listen without judgment
- Evaluate, change, and possibly reinforce some of the household rules
- Get your teen to therapy