Parenting

20 Warning Signs in Teens

If you live with a teenager, one thing is certain: their emotions change as often as the weather or their clothes. They ascend to the heights of joy one day, the depths of teenage despair, the next.

The teen years are a time to explore new ideas, new attitudes and new feelings. Since a certain amount of unpredictability is normal, how can you tell if your teenager’s emotional swings are beyond the normal ups and downs of adolescence?

Although it’s not always possible to know what goes too far, there are some things you can look for in the process.

Here’s a warning-sign checklist from the Minirth-Meier psychiatric organization that can help you:

Jay Strack suggests that a parent’s first response to these signs of trouble is crucial. He’s the author of Good Kids Who Do Bad Things.

“Overreacting parents often drive kids into an emotional shell from which they are reluctant to venture. Underreacting parents send a message to their kids that says, ‘I just don’t care.’ Either response can be devastating when the individual loses his emotional balance,” he writes.

Strack says it is important to differentiate between the normal pressure of life and crisis situations.

If your teen is demonstrating a number of the warning signs, here are several action steps you can use.

“At the same time,” Strack says, “you will need to balance love with discipline when necessary so that your teenager doesn’t just run over you.”

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