Many modern parenting situations involve single fathers who need to raise teenagers. During the course of parenting, you might notice some odd behaviors. Some of the behaviors will be typical teenager behaviors, while others should cause concern and additional investigations. The following are five signs you need to look at and pay close attention to as the parent of a teenager.
1. Mood Swings
One of the first signs of trouble with a teenage child is the presence of mood swings. Your teen might seem withdrawn one minute and angry the next. You might also notice signs of depression, such as a longstanding negative attitude, hopelessness, demotivation, strange sleep patterns, and more.
These symptoms could be due to the early stages of a mental illness. The CDC says that one out of every five people is currently suffering from a mental illness. That could very well be the problem with your teenager.
Withdrawing and showing depressive symptoms do not always indicate a mental illness, however. Your child might be exhibiting those behaviors because he or she is dealing with high school bullying. Teens are often too embarrassed to talk about what they’re going through in school, and many of them attempt to deal with those issues alone.
It might be best to attempt to talk to your teen and let them know they can trust you. Ask them if there is anything bothering them in school, and be very calm and supportive when you approach them.
Frequent disappearances are behaviors you should concern yourself with. The sign by itself doesn’t indicate drug addiction, but it can fit the description if you see it in addition to other symptoms. You might notice that your child is exhibiting erratic behavior such as uncontrollable laughing, nodding, or an anxious state of being that doesn’t seem to subside within a reasonable time.
You might also notice that your son or daughter tapers off with hygiene practices or exhibits an extreme change in eating habits. It’s very possible that your teen is struggling with drugs if you see several symptoms that point to it. Freedom Recovery reports that drug addiction heritability is between 40 and 60%. Thus, the chances are very high that substances can be playing a role in your youngster’s life.
3. School Performance Issues
A lowered performance and interest in school is something that should concern you, especially if you are used to seeing your child excel. Many things can cause a teen to drop in academic performance, including drug and alcohol use. Thus, your teen might be experimenting with beer, wine, or liquor, and it could be affecting their concentration level. Wine Insiders reported that a single glass of wine is 6 oz. Those 6 oz. are enough to cloud a teenager’s judgment or deplete all their energy.
Alcohol is a depressant that affects different people in different ways. It could be that your teen is demotivated because of the effects of drinking. Alternatively, high school bullying and harassment could be causing your teen to skip school or put up much less effort than usual. Either symptom is a serious cause for concern, and you should investigate it as quickly as possible.
4. Strange New Friends
Another sign that you should look out for is the presence of a new breed of ‘friends.’ Kids often develop new friendships as their interests and activities change. You should be concerned if your teen suddenly seems to be hanging out with sketchy individuals or kids you know are problematic within society. Your teen might be in trouble and need your help immensely.
Those are just a few things you need to look out for as you care for your teenage child. Today’s teens have many more challenges to face in school than they did 10 or 20 years ago. The first step if you notice a problem is to approach your child with love to see if you can establish trust.
Try to get to the bottom of the issue so that you can help your teen recover successfully. Many resources are available to assist teens with bullying issues, drug addiction, underage drinking, relationship woes, and more. The sooner you face the problem, the faster your little family can be back on track.