We already know that raising teenagers these days is hard. There’s so much to watch out for as is. Friends, family, school and of course peer pressure is a biggie. You might notice changes in your son or daughter, or family member. Let’s face it sometimes as parents we might miss it, not because we don’t care, but due to us being with them the most.
Don’t feel bad if you don’t. Rather, feel grateful if someone else sees behavior changes in your child alerts you. There’s already so many changes due to puberty happening, so how do you know when to be concerned. Let’s take a look first at emotional changes. I got these from the Mayo Clinic. Now remember, just because a teen has some of these, it doesn’t mean they for sure have depression. You should always have a Dr, diagnose them.
Be alert for emotional changes, such as:
- Feelings of sadness, which can include crying spells for no apparent reason
- Feeling hopeless or empty
- Irritable or annoyed mood
- Frustration or feelings of anger, even over small matters
- Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
- Loss of interest in, or conflict with, family and friends
- Low self-esteem
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Fixation on past failures or exaggerated self-blame or self-criticism
- Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure, and the need for excessive reassurance
- Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
- Ongoing sense that life and the future are grim and bleak
- Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
Watch for changes in behavior, such as:
- Tiredness and loss of energy
- Insomnia or sleeping too much
- Changes in appetite — decreased appetite and weight loss, or increased cravings for food and weight gain
- Use of alcohol or drugs
- Agitation or restlessness — for example, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
- Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
- Frequent complaints of unexplained body aches and headaches, which may include frequent visits to the school nurse
- Social isolation
- Poor school performance or frequent absences from school
- Neglected appearance
- Angry outbursts, disruptive or risky behavior, or other acting-out behaviors
- Self-harm — for example, cutting, burning, or excessive piercing or tattooing
- Making a suicide plan or a suicide attempt
Always be open and honest with your child. Talk with them. Ask them what might be wrong, and reassure them that getting help isn’t sign of weakness.
Allyson is a published author, blogger, wife and mom to 4 kids. Three of her children are on the autism spectrum. She suffers from anxiety and panic attacks. On her blog you can find her writing about being an author, her faith and family. She resides in Missouri with her loving husband and four wonderful children, and three cats. She’s addicted to knitting and coffee.