You don’t need to be told when many teens are in trouble. Their school grades fall, their friends are the wrong type of person, they defy their parents and teachers or they clam up and hardly leave their room. These are clear signs of possible trouble. But that’s the easy part. The difficult task is make things better; to help your troubled teen.

There are many things you can do. The first is free and is called advice. Mind you some teens are not big fans of listening to their folks but you should at least try and maybe even engage a family friend to give the advice.

Tell your teen about the wrong type of person to accept as a friend. Some teens blame everyone and every thing except themselves. They won’t take responsibility. Some teens are takers. They want your son or daughter to give them money or do them favors but offer little or nothing in return. Some teens rubbish someone often just to humiliate them in front of others. These types of friends are not good for your child. You can only warn them but if your warning is heeded, it may save your teen from a lot of trouble in the future.

Help with career choices. A teen who is in their senior high school years is getting close to making a choice regarding their working life. The more help you can provide a teen in making that choice, the better for everyone. Obviously making the right choice is a major benefit but working towards that goal is a secondary benefit. If your teen is enthused about their possible career, they are more likely to apply themselves to their studies and thus keep out of trouble. Seek career advice from a number of sources, listen to what your teen is saying and give them all the encouragement you can.

Tell it like it is. Any teenager today who studies the media version of happiness would get a jaded picture of real life. According to some ads and some songs, the best way to find happiness is to drink alcohol and party hard. By talking to your teen about the realities of life, about how stable relationships and trust and hard work give great satisfaction, you are at least making your teen aware of the truth behind the facade. Ensure that some of the media images of teen happiness and reality can often be poles apart. You don’t have to be drunk to have a good time.

Is it a cry for help? A teen who threatens self-harm or engages in petty crime such as shoplifting or who displays hostility towards parents or other family members may be making a cry for help. Rather than become angry and want to impose severe punishment, it could be far better to discover why your teen is behaving so. Their behavior could be a cry for help. And help is what you should be concentrating on. Be slow to anger and quick to help.

Here are additional resources you might be interested in:

How to Help Parents With Troubled Teens

Tips on How to Deal with Troubled Teens