Tips for Helping Your Troubled Teen

High school can be full of excitement, new experiences, and change. Schoolwork, a new environment, and meeting new people may cause first-year students anxiety and stress. Likewise, high school seniors may feel nervous and stressed about life after graduation. Stress, fear, and anxiety are normal during the teenage years. Still, parents should pay attention and observe if their teens experience excessive stress or engage in any maladaptive behaviors.

Every teen has different responses to adolescence, stress, increased academic workloads, and new social experiences. Some teens may lose their self-esteem, lose interest in or abandon their favorite hobbies and pastimes, or have a sudden, dramatic decline in their academic performance. In addition to stress, teenagers may be vulnerable to irregular sleep patterns. Some teens may sleep excessively, while others may have difficulty sleeping or experience insomnia. Anxiety, irregular sleep, changes in personality, loss of appetite, and weight loss can be indicative of a mental health problem, such as depression, insomnia or another sleep disorder, an eating disorder, or substance abuse. Unfortunately, it’s common for teenagers and young adults to experience mental health conditions. Fifty percent of all lifetime mental illnesses develop by age 14; 75 percent of mental illnesses emerge by age 24.

Parents and guardians who observe mild or severe changes in their teenagers’ behavior, moods, weight, and eating and sleeping patterns should consider that their child may have a mental health condition, and determine how to get them the help they need and deserve.

Encourage Open Communication

The symptoms of mental illnesses can be confusing, scary, and overwhelming for teens to experience. Teens might be unaware of what they’re going through or unable to describe their feelings. Learning about children’s struggles can be hard for parents, but when teens decide to reach out, parents should listen and ask questions without judgment. In some cases, teens find it helpful when their parents speak about their teenage years and any fears and experiences they had during that time.

Learn About Mental Health Disorders

When suspecting that a teen may have a mental health problem, parents should remember that the occurrence of such a condition isn’t their fault, nor their child’s. Learning the symptoms, manifestation, and treatment of mental illnesses can be helpful. Understanding the most common mental health disorders experienced by teens can better enable parents to get help for their children. Parents can contact authority sources such as a family pediatrician, a clinical professional, a school counselor or representative, the local health department, or the family religious leader for information.

Exercise Faith According to One’s Personal Beliefs

Praying with a religious leader, family members, or alone about one’s children and family can provide strength and comfort during difficult times. Many believers find comfort in reading the Bible. The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) is one of the most widely used and renowned modern translations of the Bible. Parents in need of NRSV Bibles can get them from Cokesbury. A leading Christian bookstore, Cokesbury is a reputable source for Bibles, books, church supplies, and other resources for the Christian journey.

Get Professional Help

Choosing to get counseling and treatment for mental health conditions, psychological disorders, behavioral health issues, or substance abuse is a monumental decision for anyone to make. It can be extra nerve-wracking and scary for teenagers. When a teen indicates they’re ready to receive help, parents should support them.

Parents and other family members that teenagers trust should search for a residential treatment center that can meet troubled teens’ needs. Residential treatment centers are safe places for people to get the help they need, free of unnecessary judgment. Many centers have skilled psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors with expert knowledge of depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma, bipolar disorders, eating disorders, and substance abuse.

The clinical professionals in treatment centers provide each patient with the specialized, individualized care they need and deserve. An Internet search for “Residential Programs for Troubled Youth Los Angeles” will result in information regarding Polaris Teen Center. Polaris Teen Center provides patients with evidence-based treatment and personalized care. Girls and boys aged 12-17 who receive various diagnoses and struggle for different reasons, can receive individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy, and the opportunity to continue their schooling. This residential center uses treatment modalities and techniques that improve teens’ outcomes and reduce the risk of relapsing.

Parents who offer support and encouragement, and work with clinical professionals can be a loving influence on troubled teens as they use the tools they receive to achieve optimum mental, emotional, and physical health and happiness as they emerge into adulthood.