Worried about your son or daughter, but are unsure how bad their issues really are?
Mentally put a check mark next to the sentences below that describe your teen today, then add up the number of check marks to score the results.
- EXPLOSIVE: Your teen refuses to abide by anything you say or request, and his or her resulting behaviors or explosive nature put you, him/her, or your family in high danger or risk, leading to constant fear or stress in the home. It is as if you are walking on pins and needles when your teen is home.
- CHANGED BEHAVIOR: Your teen is displaying behavior that is a marked change from what has been normal for the child in the past such as: sleeping too little or too long, forgetfulness (actual or convenient), excessive lack of motivation, aggression, sadness, anxiety, severe mood swings, falling grades, missed school, hating what they once loved or loving what they once hated, or spending most of their time alone.
- UNCARING: Your teen openly displays rebellion or even hatred toward you, no longer veiling his/her feelings nor caring about the future or the consequences of his/her actions or behaviors.
- DEFIANT: There is a blatant ignorance or profound disrespect toward the boundaries, belief system or rules of the home. This can be shown in passive aggressiveness or in open defiance that is unusually excessive for your teen.
- SELF-DESTRUCTIVE: There are outright or veiled threats of suicide or running away, or the teen is self-mutilation/cutting, taking excessive risks, using dangerous drug or he or she is involved in blatant sexual promiscuity. The teen has seemingly lost their conscience, care, or moral compass.
- DISRESPECTFUL: Treatment by your teen of people, pets or his or your belongings is disrespectful, threatening or out of control. Valued items or money in the home are damaged or missing without explanation.
- ENTITLED: Your teen thinks he or she should be served and given more and more things and your time. He/she demands all of the attention of you and other members of the family, showing blatant disregard for other’s feelings, their time, or their possessions.
- OTHER TACTICS HAVE FAILED: Months of counseling, therapy, or medication have made little or no positive improvement in your teen’s behavior.
- HATRED FOR FAMILY: Your teen refuses to do anything family-related and displays a growing hatred and disgust for the family and anything you do or say. He/she refuses to attend family outings or special events.
- BAD INFLUENCERS: You cannot keep your teen away from new friends who are themselves getting into trouble and obviously leading a lifestyle counter to your beliefs. Your teen is mimicking their look, the way they talk, and the destructive behaviors and attitudes.If your teen exhibits 5 or more of these signs, it is likely that they should be placed in a therapeutic boarding school that can expertly deal with their issues while also preparing them for adulthood.Once your teen is 18, he or she will be out of your control, so get help for them while you can.
PLEASE NOTE: Should your teen exhibit signs of suicide, fire starting (arson), deep depression, addiction, cutting, eating disorders, or other dangerous or self-destructive behavior, DO NOT WAIT to get help from a hospital, psychiatrist or other expert. Waiting could put their life at risk.
Contrast the above list with what should be considered normal teenage behavior and attitudes:
- The teen cooperates with and cares for others
- He/She thinks realistically about their need for family and other people
- They are willing to do what it takes to accomplish positive life goals and prepare for the future
- They bases their actions and behavior on convictions and beliefs rather than feelings and what their peers think
- They take care of their own personal needs without imposing on others or expecting others to serve them
- They treats people, pets and things with respect
- They maintains relationships with family and positive friends, even in difficult times
- They define who they are without giving in to what their peers or the culture thinks they should be.