Perhaps you are a parent looking for ideas and help with problems you have concerning your teen. Compared to raising a child, teenage upbringing requires unique effort and attention, and is akin to holding a full-time job. However, with careful planning and adequate knowledge, you will be able to overcome any issues you may be currently facing and able to rear the happiest and healthiest teenager you can have.
Research shows that teenagers face a wide range of problems, such as mood disorders (6.2 percent), major depression (5 percent), and bipolar disorder (1 percent). In addition, teenagers manifesting symptoms of depression account for 10 to 15 percent of youth.
These research findings should give you a reason to be concerned about your teen, but don’t let it frighten you. You can do plenty of things to guide your teen in the right direction. To achieve this, you should spend time finding out what bothers your teen and probing for possible solutions.
Among the things you can do are educate your teen about the dangers of drugs and alcohol from a young age, and encourage him or her to stay out of trouble and avoid crimes and illegal activities.
Warning Signs of a Troubled Teen
As a parent, it’s important to allocate enough time to understanding your teen’s needs and problems. Seek professional help right away if any of the following signs manifest:
- Isolation: Most teenagers love to be with their friends. If this is not the case with your child, be wary. Find out why your kid wants to be alone.
- Peer groups: If your teen frequently hangs around with a whole new set of friends instead of sticking with his or her old friends, pay attention. If you notice a change in his or her appearance, there must be something wrong.
- Secretive attitude: If you feel your child hides something from you, be it trivial or significant, you may have a reason to be concerned. Another cause for concern is when your kid frequently returns home late at night.
- Problems at school: If your kid shows negative performance at school and doesn’t want to attend school in the first place, a problem may be present. Getting into trouble with classmates or having disputes with teachers is another indication of a problem
- Eccentric behavior: If your child finds it hard to get along well with his or her peers, this may be a sign of a mental illness.
- Involvement with drugs and alcohol: Out of curiosity, teenagers may try alcohol or drugs; however, if this becomes a habit, be concerned.
- Manifestation of anxiety and depression: If your child shows suicidal ideation along with signs of depression, be very concerned and seek help immediately.
- Violence: When your child manifests some form of violence toward himself or others, help is necessary.
- Poor body image: If your child is overly concerned with her weight, this may indicate an emotional issue.
- Nervous breakdown: If your kid does not have the ability to deal with daily issues concerning adolescence, give him or her support, and get professional help if needed.
- Mood changes: Mood fluctuations can be a sign of a disorder. When your child suddenly becomes angry without any reason, it might indicate a deeper problem.
Dealing with a troubled teen is definitely a struggle for parents. However, with the right approach and a little patience, you can win this struggle. If your teen’s problem is related to drugs and alcohol, seeking professional help is paramount. Call us on 1-888-287-0471 to speak with an expert advisor regarding possible treatment options.
When your kid reaches the adolescent stage, certain things surface, such as body and mental health issues. Thus, as a caring parent, you should equip yourself with the right knowledge to help your child cope up with various problems he or she may be dealing with, one of which is hygiene.
A common problem for teens is their hair. When they were just kids, their hair was shiny and silky, but when they reach adolescence, things change radically. Their hair becomes oily or too dry. This is brought about by changes in their oil glands. One way to solve this problem is by using several hair products available in stores. Consult a hair care professional for more ideas on obtaining the best hair texture.
Another thing to consider is your teen’s body odor. When children reach puberty, their sweat glands develop and may become over productive. This causes sweating and that unpleasant smell in their underarm region. To teach proper hygiene, motivate your child to shower on a regular basis and wear clean clothes. Bad odor is caused by bacteria in the body, so keeping the body clean will reduce the amount of bacteria, and the smell will improve.
For girls, a major problem is body hair. Although this is not bad per se in the medical perspective, girls prefer to have their body hair removed. So if your child chooses to get rid of her body hair, teach her to do so in the right and safe manner to avoid irritation and other problems.
The importance of teaching your child about money management cannot be overemphasized. Look at successful people, and you’ll see one of the reasons behind their success is proper financial management taught to them by mom and dad when they were young.
You can raise a financially fit child as well. Follow these tips to start out:
- Involve your kids in discussions concerning family finances. At every opportunity, talk to your child about financial discipline. You can do this in the car, at the dinner table, or even at the mall. Make this discussion part of your child’s training. Fifty-seven percent of current parents wish they had known more about financial management back when they were young. You can break this cycle and start teaching your child now.
- Be ready to teach when the best opportunity comes.
- Stick to the allowance you give to your child. Don’t give more money when your kid asks for it. Kids described as “stellar savers” often get less than $30 a month on average compared to teens who are called “quick spenders.”
- Motivate your child to work part time or to get a summer job. Typically, an adolescent who has a job that pays is more likely to save than a child who doesn’t have a job.
- Educate your kids about the proper use of financial tools, such as credit cards and checkbooks. Nearly 30 percent of parents state their teenagers don’t have any type of checking, savings or any other financial account. Even though you and your child are living under one roof, it is possible for you to open a checking or savings account for your child under his or her own name. Thereafter, see that you teach your child how to use a credit card properly to avoid getting into debt problems. It is also a good idea to teach your child what a bank statement is and how to read it. More importantly, teach your child how to live within his or her means.
- Ingrain in your child the value of saving as a habit. You can offer an incentive if your child saves some amount of money. For instance, pledge to add 25 cents for every dollar your child saves.
- Motivate your child to give back to society. Teach your child that learning to save works together with learning to give. Giving back with money or time is an important value that children should learn. Encourage your child to volunteer in order to understand what he has and to appreciate how she can make a world of difference in others’ lives. Motivate your child to support a charitable institution of his or her own choosing, and to show your support, you can match the donation with your own.
- Show the money to your child. Make your child understand, for example, how retirement savings work by explaining to them how IRAs or 401(k)s work. To magnify its effect, consider showing your own account statements to your child so that he or she will appreciate what compound interest can do over the long term.
It is common to assume that your child enjoys any type of entertainment show available to him or her. You might think your teenager does not compare to you when you were young. You liked good music and quality television shows back when you were a kid. Then you will come to understand that your parents must have had the same feeling toward you concerning your favorite celebrities and types of entertainment. It is always a good idea to give your kid some leeway to choose his or her music or media, but see that whatever he or she is listening to or watching is appropriate and not violent.
Of all the many videos your child watches online, the most worrisome may be those that feature people fighting. Your child may be exposed to videos of gang fights, playground brawls, teachers intimidating their students and other forms of violence. Most of these videos are simply captured with a cell phone and then uploaded through YouTube, DailyMotion, or other sites. When kids get to watch videos about victims of some form of violence seeking retaliation, they may find it hard to determine which side is wrong or right.
Normally, you don’t want your kid to gain access to these forms of violence on the Internet. However, the truth is that there are just too many of these videos, and the number of their viewers increases every day. This means these types of videos are widely accepted by many viewers online.
What Can Parents Do?
Do not blame or shame your child if he or she has watched a fight video. Vicarious thrills, curiosity, fascination and entertainment are all at work here. The best thing you can do in the face of these threats is talk to your child and explain things in a positive light.
It is also possible that the creator of the video itself is your child. Remember that kids have more capabilities now than ever before due to the advancement of technology. Your child’s judgment is impaired by fascination. If you give your child a cell phone capable of recording a video, you should discuss responsible ownership and usage. Tell your child about legal repercussions should he or she misuses the technologies available.
Tips for Overcoming Violence
Teach your child good ways to resolve a conflict instead of resorting to violence. Ask your child if he or she wants to live in a house or society consumed with violence. Encourage your child to carefully choose videos he or she watches online, and opt for positive videos rather than violent ones.
Tell your child to exercise extreme caution when creating and uploading pictures and videos. Instruct your kid not to post anything obscene. Make your child understand that it is not always possible to delete something once it is posted or uploaded. It can stay on the Internet for good, shared without limit, and be watched by people all over the world.
There is really no road map available that can guide you in raising your teenager towards your desired goal. If you do your best and seek good information, you’ll increase the likelihood that your child will turn out well.