The teenage years are tough to get through. On the face of it, teens should be having the time of their lives. It’s their first taste of freedom, and they have a wide selection of friends. But they still don’t have to contend with the whole array of responsibilities that comes with adulthood. Because of these things, it is also a time when they are very vulnerable. Let’s take a look at some of the common problems your teenage children could face, and how you can spot them early.
The teenage years are a time of great experimentation, but the sense of risk in adolescents is still not fully developed. It makes for a dangerous mix. Ask any teen whether they know anybody with an association with drugs and it’s almost guaranteed they will say yes. A lot of people go through this experimental period unscathed, but you need to look out for warning signs that your child is developing problems.
Unfortunately, the side effects of drug addiction and abuse are very similar to the side effects of becoming an adult. Surliness, shiftiness, late nights, lack of motivation and ill discipline are all common. Most people go through these feelings when they grow up. However, if you talk to your child about drugs early on, there is more chance they will be sensible about their decisions.
If the worst happens and your child admits to having drug problems, it is important to be supportive, rather than attack them. Spend some time talking to them and suggest they visit a drug addiction treatment center. Offer to go with them, or allow them to go with a friend. Do anything you can, but always be supportive.
Depressed teens show signs of despair or extreme sadness and are often angry and irritable. They can withdraw completely from family and friends, and even the best parenting skills can fail to bring them around.
All teens have the occasional foul mood, but depression is another thing entirely. Depression can cause extreme reactions in the still-developing brain of young adults. These can boil over into hostile behavior, agitation and complete lack of interest in life in general.
Nobody talks enough about depression or mental health, and many just laugh it off as something that is ‘all in the head’. Don’t do this. It is because it is all in the head that makes it such a destructive condition. You can’t just walk away from your mind, and the effects can be long-lasting and devastating.
Eating disorders are common in female and male teenagers. There is a lot of pressure from advertising, peers and celebrity culture to look amazing. This means anybody – especially teenagers – can feel unhappy with their body shape or weight. And often, food is seen as the enemy.
Conditions such as binge eating, bulimia and anorexia are easy to spot, but only when they have developed into a major problem. And by then it could be too late. Take note of what your child is eating and watch out for behavioral changes. Lapses in concentration, low self-esteem and weight worries could mean your child is developing a condition.