Wild teen behavior is nothing new but in recent years the stakes have increased as young people have undertaken more risky behaviors. Whether it’s peer pressure, curiosity or other factors, young people are putting themselves at risk for addiction, overdose, suicide, health problems and legal trouble. Oftentimes, young people live a secret, double life unbeknownst to their families.

Parents need to find a way to get plugged into what’s really going on. Addiction centers and therapy programs across the country are seeing an increase in teen enrollment as young people get drawn into a life of drugs, raves, pill parties, risky sex, self-mutilation, eating disorders and internet chat rooms.

The Teen Years Can Be Turbulent and a Time of Great Change

The teen years are a time of change, when most young people yearn to put distance between themselves and their parents. In this quest for independence, many teens can turn to questionable behavior to prove something to themselves or others. These often-turbulent years are where many parents struggle between hovering and giving up some control to allow their teens to develop as individuals.

Teens are inherently curious and prone to risk taking. Perhaps they are fearful of the future or unsure of themselves and their place in life. Or maybe they feel the need to escape a particular situation or circumstance. In many cases, parents are working and stressing about how to make ends meet in the current economy. Even in families where parents are very tuned into their children’s lives, it is still possible to miss the signs.

Recognizing the Signs of At-Risk Teens

Some obvious signs to look for when trying to determine if your teen is at risk include depression, mood and behavior changes, loss of interest in school and outside activities, isolation, an increase in the amount of time he or she sleeps, a drop in grades or athletic performance, defiant and argumentative behavior, drastic changes in weight or appearance and strange, uncharacteristic actions and behaviors.

Any perceived change in behavior or appearance should prompt a conversation between parents and kids. The solution begins with communication. Being able to talk honestly and openly with your teen can make all the difference. They may not always be open to it however. Knowing a teen’s friends and acquaintances – and their parents – can also be a big help.

Are Teens Emulating the Glamorized Life of Excess?

It doesn’t help that many of the young people’s role models are living lives of excess. And the non-stop media access to the underage partying, drugging and hooking up sends messages that this type of behavior is acceptable, even desirable. The proper course of treatment is absolutely necessary, whether it is therapy, anger management or drug treatment for alcohol, pills or other substances.

There are plenty of reputable rehabilitation centers around the country that are gender specific so young people can focus on themselves without distraction. I can recommend facilities that are staffed by experts in various fields dealing with adolescent misbehavior. If you know of someone who is at risk, please don’t hesitate to call us.

Marty Brenner CCBCDC
9171 Wilshire Blvd. #660 Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Phone: 213.500.8865
Fax: 310.273.1010
Email: marty@talktomartyb.com

Author's Bio: 

Marty Brenner, Board Certified Chemical Dependency Counselors (CCBCDC)
213-500-8865 or email: marty@talktomartyb.com

Addiction Counseling Services, Anger Management Specialist, Domestic Violence, Addiction Specialist. Board Certified of Chemical Dependency Counselors, ADP (Alcohol and Drug Program).