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What Is a Troubled Teen?

Warning Signs of Troubled Teens


Caucasian female (14 years old) with her Caucasian half-brother (19 years old) and their Caucasian mother (40 years old)
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Quick Links: Parenting Quiz: Is Your Teen 'At-Risk'? | Parenting Troubled Teens

What is a troubled teen?

A 'troubled teen' is a term used for a youth that is having problems which are causing negative behaviors and if these problems continue to affect the teen, he/she will not develop into a happy successful adult. These problems are beyond the normal issues that all adolescents face or they could be the inability to deal with the normal issues teenagers face. They can be anything from the teen’s environment like abusive relationships, poor peer groups or unsafe neighborhoods to physical and mental health issues like ADHD or diabetes.

Warning Signs of Troubled Teens

Teens can all show these signs at different times, it’s when there are more than six of these warning signs for an extended period of time that you will know you are dealing with a troubled teenager. The warning signs are:

  • dropping grades;
  • extreme mood swings that do not fit the situation;
  • volatile temper and/or intense sadness;
  • loss of interest in activities;
  • a sudden change in peers and/or avoids positive friendships;
  • deliberately trying not to fit in with peers;
  • becomes secretive;
  • fails to comply with rules and limits;
  • feels the need to avoid all consequences for misbehavior and turns to lying;
  • teen begins to experiment with alcohol and drugs;
  • finds humor in others distress;
  • attitude is more surly and defiant;
  • openly displays rebellion;
  • and spending too much time alone or sleeping.

Take this article one step further:

  • Find out how this advice prevents teen smoking.
  • See how this advice can help you improve your communication skills in this parenting class: Learn to Communicate Effectively with Your Teen in 5 Days.

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