It can be easy to define a toubled teen. It could be because they are taking drugs, failing at school, have become pregnant or are being chased by the police. But there are other issues at stake here. How can you tell your teen is in trouble or in a position likely to find themselves in trouble? It can be difficult to discover the true situation.

Firstly teens can be clever. Teens can hide their behavior from their parents. They can already be mixing with the wrong crowd or dabbling in drugs and alcohol but not allowing their parents to discover this fact. Teens can lie and some can be brilliant at covering their tracks. Of course some teens are not good at disguising their actions and others will turn to their parents for help. But many troubled teens are able to fool their folks.

A troubled teen should always be treated with care and never dismissed as a young person growing up and letting off steam. There are many tragic tales of teens getting into trouble so deep that they have tried to harm themselves or even taken their own life. A troubled teen must be given appropriate help as soon as possible.

The secret though is to nip any possible trouble in the bud. As a parent you look at your child and wonder if they are doing okay. If you have a solid and open relationship with your teen, it should be easy to pick up any unusual traits in their behavior. But don’t make the mistake of making comparisons. You can look at someone else’s teen who was arrested because of unlawful behavior and think that your teen is nothing like the teen in custody. Comparisons are odious. Assess your own teen by what is normal, healthy and right.

Self-destruction can be a slippery slope and if you have any concerns about the state of health of your teen, don’t hesitate to contact help groups or local health professionals. If you explain the situation to someone who deals with teenage behavior and their troubles, you will gain relief because a trouble shared etc but you may also be given handy hints on helping your troubled teen.

There‘s a tricky and sometimes blurred line between checking on your teen to make sure they are okay and snooping. You want your teen to gain their independence and take responsibility for their actions but you know that in some ways they are still a child. No-one knows your teen better than you. Trust your instincts. Always be guided by love and concern but don’t be afraid to show tough love if it means helping your teen avoid trouble.

There are outward signs which may indicate your teen is in trouble. Do they stay out late and miss curfews? Do they spend unusually long periods of time alone in their room? Do they lose their cool and engage in fiery outbursts? Are they mixing with a new crowd and don’t bring them home? Are they stealing things from home?

These are just some of the signs that your teen may be in trouble. Your response could well save them from a lot of pain.

Here are additional resources you might be interested in:

How to Help Troubled Teens

Where is the Best Help for Troubled Teens?