Every parent experiences a troubling moment when raising their adolescent children. You wonder what’s normal teenage behavior due to puberty, changing hormones, and pains from growing up, and what’s…truly problematic. It can be hard to tell the difference. If you suspect your child is at risk for mental illness, substance abuse, or other behavioral issues that will cause problems down the road, look for drastic changes in major areas of their life.
1. Major Physical/Emotional Changes
It’s normal for teens to experience moodiness, experiment with different types of clothes, and change their friend groups from time to time. However, major mood swings, outbursts of anger, displays of extreme sadness, or even mention of suicide can indicate a more serious problem. If you notice that your child has blood-shot eyes, dilated pupils, nosebleeds, burns, or has started vomiting more these can also be signs of substance abuse. There are many signs of substance abuse, so if you have a “gut feeling” that something is wrong, a change in your child’s behavior can be the first sign.
2. Isolating Behaviors
A healthy young adult needs a strong social support system in order to grow and feel safe. Any time an adolescent pulls away from their family and friends and starts isolating themselves, it’s a clear indication of a problem that may only grow worse because they don’t know how to ask for help. If you notice your child is unusually quiet and locking themselves in their rooms more than usual, it might be a good time to talk to them about what’s wrong.
3. Decline in School Performance
If your child usually gets A’s and B’s, but suddenly starts getting C’s and D’s, this could also indicate your child is struggling with something exhausting, time-consuming, and distracting. Don’t rush to accuse them of being lazy or you’ll miss what’s actually causing the problem. If their teachers start reporting frequent tardiness, sleeping in class, missing assignments, or even missing class altogether, it’s time to get to the bottom of what behavior is causing this.
4. Mysteries Concerning Money
If you start wondering why your child is asking for a lot more money lately or how they’ve been getting more cash despite not having a job, that can also be an indicator that your child is spending money on or selling illicit substances. Any questions that arise about where their money comes from and goes can also point to some serious activities.
5. Disciplinary and Legal Action
If problems escalate, your child might run into more problems with disciplinary action at school or run-ins with the law. Being arrested for drug and alcohol charges can land them in juvenile detention which can have further academic, social, and personal consequences.
If any of these behaviors sound familiar, ask for professional help from Higher Grounds Management serving Orange County and South Bay.
It’s normal for teenagers and young adults to make mistakes and struggle with some issues that come with growing up. But if you notice some signs that things are more serious, it is never too early to intervene. With the help of an expert at Higher Grounds Management, you can get to the root of your child’s issues quicker and address things before they escalate.
To schedule an appointment or consultation with one of our compassionate and culturally-competent counselors, contact us online and Higher Grounds Management will make sure your child is in good hands.