How to Get to the Bottom of Your Teen’s Behavior

You’ve heard all about…teen drama, teen angst…whatever you want to call it, you’re living it now. You know decoding a teen’s behavior and getting to the root of what’s causing the drama is difficult. Is it part of a phase? Normal behavior? Something to worry about? These are questions that all need to be answered on a case by case basis. Here are some tips to guide you along the way.

  1. What’s Behind the Extreme Mood Swings? Everyone gets moody, even adults. With teens, it’s important to know whether it’s just a mood swing or a sign of depression. According to the Mayo Clinic, signs of teen depression include low self-esteem, feeling hopeless or empty, and a continuous feeling that the future is bleak. If any of these describe your teen’s behavior, you may want to seek professional help.
  2. Why is My Teen Constantly Lying? As kids get older, lies become more complicated than just fibbing about who drew on the wall with crayon. Some lies can become dangerous. Teens usually lie to get out of trouble or to get to do something they weren’t allowed to do. To get your teen to stop lying, psychologists say you need to sit down with your teen and explain how lying affects them and those around them. For example, liars live in fear they will get caught. They can also start to feel out of control because one lie usually leads to many more.
  3. Why Are My Child’s Grades Dropping? Dropping grades could be a sign of trouble. Sometimes it’s just a case of needing to study more or needing extra help. Other times it’s a signal that something is going on behind the scenes. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises to first talk with your teen and see if he will divulge what is going on. You may also want to schedule a meeting with your teen’s teacher to try to determine the root of the problem.
  4. Why is My Teen Hanging out with the Wrong Crowd? You used to know and even like your teenager’s friends. Now you notice he’s hanging out with a different crowd, one you don’t approve of at all. It sounds simple, but sit down and ask your teen why he’s hanging out with these friends all of a sudden and what happened with the old friends. Be prepared for a defensive answer. Express your concerns. Hopefully the two of you can come to a mutual understanding.
  5. How Do I Protect My Teen in the Social Media World? Social media is one thing our parents didn’t have to worry about when we were growing up. It brings along a whole set of new problems for this generation. Teens are glued to their phones and all the social media apps that go along with it. While you’ll need to explain all the dangers social media can pose, it’s just as important to be tech savvy right along with them. Follow their accounts, friend them on Facebook, keep tabs on their online activity. This is not spying, it’s parenting.

While you’re deep in the teen trenches, remember this time will pass. For now, take a lot of deep breaths and parent on!

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