The teenage years can cause many problems for families, and, of course, long-term issues for the youths involved. It can be agonizing for parents to watch their children got through the painful experience of turning into adults. In today’s guide, we’re going to go through some of the most common problems that teenagers face, and how parents can spot them before they take hold.
First of all, there are two important things to understand. First of all, the symptoms of adolescence are similar to those of many teenage problems, and it can be hard to distinguish between the two. With all those hormones racing around, you have to be careful about how you act.
The second point is about blame. As a parent, you are likely to feel that your teen’s problems stem from something that you did and that they are your fault. It’s important to move forward together, rather than dwelling on what you should or shouldn’t have done in the past. When there are issues to deal with, it’s the action you take that’s important.
Drugs and substance abuse
The teen years are a time for experimenting, and in the vast majority of cases, your teen will come through with no problems at all. The trouble arises when they have other issues in their lives, which getting drunk or high helps them forget about. It’s this that can lead to addiction, and it can be a scary time for parents.
But how do you spot it? The behavior of a teen with drug or alcohol problems can often manifest in a number of ways. They might have an inability to get up in the mornings, a lack of enthusiasm for life, and a drop in hygiene standards. But, that can also be the case for a teen with no issues at all! It’s important to have open chats with teens about mature subjects – including drugs. There is drug rehab help out there, of course. But, if you can prevent teen addiction before it occurs, you will have a better chance of never going through it.
Depression is all too common in teens, and it’s at this age when the likelihood of suicide and desperation are at their peak. The trouble is, it can be hard to distinguish between teenage angst and genuine despair.
All you can do as a parent is to acknowledge there could be problems, and provide an open environment where it’s OK to talk about feelings. Watch out for withdrawal from friends. Teens tend to put up shutters between them and their families, of course. But, if they start to keep their friends at arm’s length, too, then there might be a more serious issue.
Body image is another major issue for teens of both sexes. If things get out of control, it can manifest itself in eating disorders. Binge eating, bulimia, and anorexia are obvious examples. There are some signs to look out for – rapid weight loss, is an obvious one, of course. You should also watch out for overtiredness, and leaving meals early for a visit to the bathroom.
Again, none of these signs guarantee that your teen has an eating problem or an issue with their body image. But, if you are understanding, non-judgemental, and are aware of the issues your teen is facing, it can help ward off more serious issues. Check this guide to body image for a more comprehensive look.