Parenting is never an easy job, but parenting a troubled teen is an exceptionally difficult task. These fact sheets for parents of troubled teens will help familiarize you with several of the common issues that your teen may face.
Kids smoke for many reasons: to feel grown up, to rebel or to fit in with their peers. They may also do it as a way to self-medicate their depression or relieve anxiety. And, for some, it is an expression of the hopelessness and self-destructive urges that they are feeling.
Teens who feel badly about themselves are desperate for love and validation outside themselves. The physical intimacy of sexual contact is easily confused for the love that they crave.
Depressed teens who attempt suicide are experiencing extreme emotional pain and may feel that there is no other way out.
Because alcohol is readily available and legal, it is often chosen as a means of self-medicating depression.
Teens with eating disorders appear to share a common personality type. They may suffer from low self-esteem and a strong need for control in their lives. They are often perfectionists and overachievers. Feeling a sense of mastery over their eating may help them feel that they have control over at least one aspect of their lives.
Although suicidal feelings may sometimes accompany self-injurious behavior like deliberately cutting or burning oneself, it does not generally indicate a suicide attempt. Most often it is simply a mechanism for coping with emotional distress. People who select this emotional outlet may use it to express feelings, to deal with feelings of unreality or numbness, to stop flashbacks, to punish themselves, or to relieve tension.
If you think that your child can't be abusing drugs because he doesn't have access to them, think again. It is possible for teens to inhale the chemical vapors from common household products like glue or paint thinner to produce a mind-altering effect.
In this age of the Internet, bullying is no longer limited to your child's time at school. It can follow them home in the form of harassing messages and photos through the Internet. And, although it may seem like it's all fantasy, it can have very real effects on your child's mental health, including suicide.