5 Signs of a Troubled Teen & 6 Ways to be Part of the Solution

Helping teens and families cope.

Troubled teens are often overlooked and written off by society at large. Often times these teenagers are marginalized by their peers, teachers, and other authority figures for their display of disobedience and inappropriate actions.However, many of the individuals that condemn troubled youth fail to realize that once a teen is alienated from society at large the decline in behavioral decency is inevitable. The troubled teen withdraws from the outside world as their perspective about reality becomes darker and more diluted. Instead of pointing a finger, which ultimately fuels the issue, try to be the change you want to see in the youth.

  1. Frequent Risk Taking: If your teen is notorious for engaging in risky business, and not learning their lesson, then it may be time to talk to your teenager about the harsh reality that is the United States penal system – before it’s too late. Youth outreach programs such as Scared Straight, which take teens deep behind the walls of some of the state’s roughest prisons, can be great tools for helping your teen see the fine line between a slap on the wrist and serious jail time.

  2. Substance Abuse: Believe it or not, there are parents who turn a blind eye to underage smoking and consumption of alcohol. That’s a problem. If your teen deals with stress by drinking or smoking cigarettes, chances are there’s a deeper issue than just wanting to look cool. Peer pressure can often play a factor in teenage substance abuse, but so can our next issue: depression and anxiety. If you catch your teen abusing illegal substances, grounding them may not be the answer. Instead, enrolling them in a DUI course or taking them to AA and NA meetings may prove more beneficial.

  3. Depression and Anxiety: As adults, we can easily forget that life is rough, no matter how old you are. We tend to get caught up in the daily hustle and bustle related to all the responsibilities of being productive adult citizens, which in turn causes stress. And we think, if only I were a kid again, life would be so easy. Saying this to yourself may cause you to neglect the serious social dilemmas that teenagers face, writing them off as trivial issues, but you must keep in mind that: unhappiness is unhappiness – no matter the source – and it should always be addressed and managed as a serious issue.

  4. Low Self-Esteem: For many troubled youth, self-esteem is a leading issue, often at the forefront in their subconscious reasoning for acting out. As mentioned earlier, condemnation only contributes to the feeling of inferiority and a lack of self-worth. Help your teenager build a healthy self-esteem instead of tearing them down. Remember to always be positive, with an open-heart and genuine understanding. Provide them with opportunities that will challenge them, and encourage them to give it their best. Reward their success and help them learn and grow from their failures. Let them know they make you proud – the feeling goes a long way.

  5. Too Much Free Time: There are a thousand and one ways to get in trouble. That’s something we’ve all come to know over the years. With that said, we’ve also learned that with an excess amount of free time, and nothing to captivate our interests, finding that trouble can be all too easy. You don’t have to be the Shaw shank warden, but you should try to supervise some aspects of your teen’s daily schedule. Make sure their days are filled with productive activities that provide an opportunity for growth and positive stimulation.

If your teen, or a teen you know, is an at risk youth, there are options. The Young Generation Movement prides itself on building a community that is accepting of everyone and constantly pushes forward towards a brighter future for today’s youth. Visit our contact page to ask for more information about how you can join the movement.