Don't Give Up on Your Teenager
You can Help Your Troubled or Addicted Teen
Your teen may be experiencing mood swings and depression, or other problems that you are not aware of. If this happens, how can you help them?
Although many teens seem to get through high school and college with a minimum of difficulties, others struggle with mood swings, irritability, depression, anger and even hostility. The teen years have always been filled with stress, but many teens and parents feel that life is even more stressful for them today. Often teens are struggling not only with school and sports, but also with part-time jobs. They are more likely than ever before to be living in a single parent household and, when the economy is bad, they may also be stressed because of significant changes in their family's finances.
In addition to all this stress, teens often feel that they do not have anyone they can talk with. If their parents are going through the breakup of a marriage, the teen does not want to further burden their parents by telling them how upset they are. The same is true if a parent has lost a job, become seriously ill, or is going through a difficult time for other reasons. As a result, teens often hold everything inside. Then, they erupt in anger or become depressed. In some cases they may turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to escape the pain they are feeling.
This article contains suggestions that have helped many teenagers. However, if your child does not seem to be improving as quickly as you would like, you may also want to use this quick link to Amazon books about helping troubled teens. These books are able to go into much more detail about ways to help your teenager. Don't ignore what is going on ... depression, anger and signs of stress can be dangerous.
If you are worried about your teen, and have noticed a change in their behavior, what can you do to help? Where can parent turn to find assistance for a troubled teen? How can you find out if their moodiness is just part of the normal mood swings of a healthy teen, or is a symptom of something more serious?
Get Help for your Troubled Teen from your Church or his School
If you are worried about your teenager, and belong to a church or other religious organization, you may want to speak with your priest, minister, rabbi or other spiritual leader. Does your church have a youth group sponsor who is admired by your child? This person may also have noticed behavior changes, and be willing to give your child some extra attention. Or, your church may offer counseling services.
You should also speak with the school counselors or your child's high school teachers. They may also be able to give your some insight into your child's problems, or refer you to someone who can counsel your teen. Even at the college level, many colleges and universities have counseling offices where they offer free or low-cost therapy to their students.
Take your Troubled Teen to the Doctor
Sometimes mood changes, hostility, depression and other behavior changes are a consequence of alcohol abuse, drug addiction, or steroid use. Although it may be hard for you to accept that your child could have a substance abuse problem, you should not rule it out. A doctor can order lab tests that will check your child for drugs, including steroids. If your child is abusing alcohol or drugs, you may need to attend some meetings of Alanon, an organization that provides information and emotional support for the family and friends of alcohol and drug abusers. If your child does not have a problem with any mind altering substances, then your physician may refer your child to a psychologist for further evaluation.
If you want to learn more about Alanon before going to a meeting, use this quick link to Alanon books from Amazon.com and you can read more about this organization in the privacy of your home.
The psychologist will evaluate your child to see if they have ADHD, depression, bi-polar disorder or a similar diagnosis. If so, they may be able to prescribe a medication that will help. Whether or not they prescribe a medication, they may also recommend that the child see a therapist.
Get Counseling for your Troubled Teen
Whether or not your teen is using drugs and alcohol, they may still benefit from speaking with a trained therapist with experience working with teens. The therapist may be able to get to the root of the underlying problems that are causing the rebellious, difficult attitude. This alone could reduce their angry, reactive behavior, and restore some peace to the household.
The therapist may also wish to speak to other members of the family. If you want to help your teen, be open to seeing the therapist. Sometimes there is an issue that you could be inadvertently making worse. By talking with the therapist, you may find ways that you can modify your own behavior a little, and help your teen.
Find Supportive Organizations for your Troubled Teen
Your teen may also benefit from belonging to organizations that will help them deal with their problems. Your pediatrician, minister or the school psychologist may be able to recommend helpful groups for your teen. For example, if your child is dealing with an alcoholic or drug abusing parent or other relative, they may find help in Alateen.
If they want to discuss their problems online, a respected website where they can share their problems is www.teencentral.net.
Learn more about Symptoms of Teen Problems
In addition to talking with a therapist, you will also want to educate yourself about teenage behavior. How do you know if your child's symptoms are normal or extreme? How can you tell if they may be the result of drug, alcohol or steroid abuse? You will need to do some research.
Find out if your church, community or local schools offer classes for parents of teens. These classes will either help relieve you of worry, or help you recognize the symptoms of serious problems. Either way, the classes are helpful.
In addition, you may want to know about these reputable websites that provide information to parents and professionals who deal with teens:
The National Safe Youth Prevention website at www.Safeyouth.org
The National Suicide Prevention website at www.suicidelifeline.org
The Center for Social and Emotional Education's Bully Bust website at www.schoolclimate.org/bullybust
The Trevor Helpline for gay and lesbian teenagers at www.TheTrevorHelpline.org
Do not Ignore the Problems and Do not Give Up
If your child is exhibiting serious symptoms, such as suicidal thoughts, and extreme hostility, do not simply ignore these symptoms. It is unlikely that they will go away by themselves, and it is quite possible that they will get worse. Don't give up on your child. Seek the help they need, and get help for yourself.
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