Troubled Teen Warning Signs

A child that suddenly begins to exhibit a defiant, belligerent attitude has probably fallen in with a new group of friends. This defiance itself is not the core issue but a sign of what is really going on. This new power is something that the child has learned. It could be something they learned in school or something a friend may be telling them. Defiance will not only make life miserable at home but will usually lead to expulsion from school, and eventually legal troubles if left unchecked.

Grades Dropping

If your child's grades take a sharp turn for the worse this is usually one of the first indicators that something is wrong. This change usually takes place because the child has changed friends, or that their priorities have changed. Many children develop an "I don't care " attitude. This again may be coming from what they are being told by their new friends. Over the years we have talked to many parents and it is our belief that marijuana abuse is a contributor to the "I don't care" attitude.

Change In Appearance

If the apparel of your child should take a dramatic change, they probably have a new set of friends. The variation of extreme clothing changes can range from all black to chains, and even more provocative styles of dress. The all-black look is usually associated with what is referred to as the "Gothic" look. Care should be taken to closely monitor a child with this new look. As innocent as it seems, it is definitely not a good direction for them to be headed in. Obviously, a girl who begins to dress more provocatively is more than likely sexually active or may be interested in becoming so. A child who wears all of the same color of clothing may be investigating becoming associated with a gang. They will usually deny it but, again, it is something that should be closely monitored.

New Music And Friends

In most cases a change in lifestyle will be accompanied by a change in musical preference. It would be wise to jot down the names of the artists a child is listening to and research them on the internet. Much can be learned about a child's lifestyle by learning what and who they are listening to for entertainment. This factor, mentioned in almost every change above, is worth discussing on its own. If a child has switched from childhood friends and is spending more time with friends that you don't know, it would be beneficial to get to know who your child is spending their time with. We believe if a child is not bringing his or her new friends home for their parents to meet, the parent should be concerned. One good way to find out what is going on with your child would be to ask his or her previous group of friends how your child is doing. In most cases they will be wondering the same thing. They will probably be concerned and may even be able to give you information on what kind of people the new friends are.

Substance Abuse

In addition to the obvious physical signs of substance abuse, another good way to determine if your child is starting to experiment with drugs is to look around their room, and check their pockets. Most teens will rely on their parents not being astute enough to pick up on signs of substance abuse. A search of your child's room could be an eye-opening experience. One good way to check your teen's pockets is to turn them inside out before you wash them to check for signs of marijuana or cigarette leaves. The physical signs of substance abuse are, of course, sleeping more than usual, glazed eyes, slurred speech -- and the smell of drugs and alcohol are still good indicators.