Sometimes parents get confused by their child’s behavior, in most cases it turns out to be typical teen curiosity and nothing more, but sometimes the behavior of your teen may be the sign that he or she need outside help, so how do you recognize those signs? What are the signs you need to look for related to mental issues, behavior issues and emotional issues that would require professional help. Let’s start with signs that you should watch out for before you consider a program to help your teen.
- Your teenager smokes, drinks alcohol or abuses drugs
- Shows sudden decrease in grades and overall academic activity
- Shows lack of will and motivation to do anything in particular, especially the things he used to love
- Shows signs of aggression or starts stealing
- Has difficulty sleeping
- Doesn’t eat properly
- Is depressed all the time
- Talks about suicide
If your teenager is showing more of these signs over a longer period of time it is the time to seek outside help of a professional. If you try to solve these problems on your own you may in fact make things worse. But of course you don’t want to jump the gun and get a professional just for nothing, try talking to your teen first. Maybe by talking to him you can realize the problem and even solve it. Or you can talk to your child’s teachers and counselors and ask for help before you turn to professionals. But if you are not having success you need to talk to a professional and you can find the appropriate one among:
- Local health departments
- Local mental health societies
- Medical centers with psychiatric service
- Institutions under American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
- Psychiatrists for treatment and mental health evaluation and treatment
- Or social workers
If you are not sure about where to go to for help, try talking to other parents, school counselor, friends, teachers for any recommendation. Maybe some of them will know where to point you in order to get the right type of help for your troubled teenager.
In most cases your teen child will not be pleased by your decision to seek outside help and that may in fact cause even more serious problems, so you should be prepared for that possibility. Try talking to your child and convince him that this is necessary and that he needs help, maybe bringing in support from other family members and friends will help you accomplish this. With proper help, your support and love, your teenager can get back to his normal life.