Signs That My Teenager Has Become Troubled


We live in a busy, information-heavy world that can often make it challenging to keep up, even with our family members. We may even miss recognizing that our little ones are now teenagers who have become troubled boys. Where it once would take just a hug to soothe their troubles, now it’s going to take more than a hug to help them get through their struggles.

It can be easy to blame some of the struggles on hormones or normal teen angst. However, it’s important to learn how to recognize your teen’s struggles and how it is altering their behavior.

Signs you are living with a troubled teen

Recognition of your troubled teens behaviors can help put you in a better position to get your them the necessary help.

Showing the signs of depression

While it is often mentioned in flippant comments or mocked in movies or on TV, depression is a serious mental health concern many teenagers face. Knowing what depression looks like in a troubled teenager can help you determine whether your teen struggles with their mental health.

Depression is so much more than feeling sad. Depression is a serious mental illness that often goes undiagnosed in teenagers and adults alike. Teen depression can take a toll on their ability to keep up with even normal daily activities.

Signs of depression might be both emotional and behavioral changes, including:

  • Crying spells, feelings of sadness, without an apparent reason
  • Frustration, irritability, frustration, or anger
  • A loss of interest in things that they once enjoyed
  • Low self-esteem or expressing feeling worthless
  • Trouble concentrating and remembering
  • A loss of energy and sleeping more often than usual
  • Insomnia
  • Appetite changes, accompanied by weight loss or weight gain

Depression can be treated with the help of therapists and prescribed medications. It’s important to get professional help for a teen displaying the signs of depression.

Changes in peer groups and activities

Some troubled teens may completely withdraw from each of their friends. Others may start to spend time with a different set of friends. With a sudden switch in friend groups, be aware that the new friends could have a negative impact on them. Peer pressure can significantly influence teenagers, from the clothing they wear to the drinks they consume and issues related to drugs, alcohol, and sexual activity.

Because of this strong influence of peers, parents should have an awareness of the people their teens are spending time with. Teens can be secretive about so many aspects of their life. Getting involved is an integral part of recognizing if any changes are potential red flags.

Alcohol use and abuse

Alcohol use is quite common for teens, regardless of whether their peers are influencing them. Experimentation with alcohol is almost a rite of passage for troubled teens. That said, it’s important to remember that it’s not legal, and it can have a negative influence on many aspects of your teen’s health and life.

Alcohol use can lead to abuse and can also lead to experimentation with other drugs. Alcohol abuse can result in reckless behavior and a decrease in academic success.

Drug use and abuse

It’s important that parents be aware of some of the signs of drug use in teens. Some drugs can be used and abused without the same tell-tale smell of alcohol on their breath or smoke from cigarettes or marijuana use.

Parents of troubled teens need to look out for red flags like:

  • An increase in secretive behavior
  • Overreacting when you try to look in their bedroom or their backpack
  • Fibbing about where they have been and breaking curfew
  • Uncharacteristic behavior that includes excessive displays of energy and energetic behaviors
  • Lethargy, sleeping excessively
  • A change to a negative group friends

If your teenager shows the signs of drug abuse, you must have an honest conversation with them about drug abuse.

Withdrawing from family and friends

It’s entirely normal for teens to pull away from their family in pursuit of spending more time alone. There is even evidence to support the idea that it is healthy for teens to seek solitude from time to time. The genuine concern comes when teens self-isolate from family and friends both. They may also start to show other troubling signs that include signs of depression or drug use.

If your teen is withdrawing, step in to find out what might be behind their drive to isolate themselves. This can help you know the right time to step in and provide the correct type of guidance and support.

Physical altercations at school

Troubled teens struggling with mental health concerns can be prone to frequent outbursts of anger and other emotions. There may be outbursts at home, and they may become an issue at school. School can be a stressful environment for some students. It is very easy to see how the pressure of school or even bullying can result in a physical altercation with another student.

These same physical altercations can result in some legal concerns, and most certainly result in disciplinary actions from the school. If this behavior is very much out of character for your teen, it is time to intervene. Writing this off as typical teenage aggression is not advisable.

Changes in grades and behaviors at school

It’s understandable for any teen to struggle with maintaining grades, particularly if they have several extracurricular activities to also keep up with. Parents must be aware that a sudden drop in their teen’s grades can often prove to be a strong indicator that there is a serious underlying concern that should be addressed.

When a teen who has been maintaining grades, or even seeing academic success, suddenly starts to see a drop in grades, this is a sign that intervention may be needed. Whether your teen needs a tutor or other types of help, monitoring their grades is an excellent way to determine their overall mental wellness.

How to help your troubled teen

There are several resources available for parents of troubled teens. You can try starting with the school counselor or moving on to family and individual therapy. Keeping the lines of communication open with your teen is also important, as they need to know that you are there for them no matter what they are going through.

If you have recognized some of the worrisome signs that your teen is troubled, get him into the right type of treatment program. His treatment should address each of his needs in a targeted manner to help him get back on the road to mental wellness.

Call us at Liahona Treatment Center to find out more about how you can connect the therapeutic boarding school to help your troubled teen.

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