Sometimes, youth have a difficult time communicating their wants, needs and fears which can show up as behavioral issues.
It is common for teens going through troubled times and experiencing tumultuous emotions act out I'm different ways. Teaching them to communicate their feelings is an important step in getting them back on the right track.
“The goal for your child is to learn to stop acting out and instead communicate his/her needs clearly.”
If you are a parent who has noticed excessive irritability, social isolation, depression or anxiety in your child, trust your instincts and get help for your child. Nothing is more painful than watching your child struggle and not knowing how to make it better. The good news is that even very unbalanced children can quickly stabilize and improve with a solid support system.
On some occasions, I recommend family sessions and/or parent consultations to improve communication. My approach with adolescents is to teach. The goal is for your child to learn to stop acting out and instead communicate his/her needs clearly. My parent consultations are designed to complement this by teaching parents how to respond more effectively.
We as parents are usually the first to notice any changes in our children’s behaviors. Because children have not learned to properly verbalize their feelings and thoughts, they almost always act out which always effects their school performance and relationships with family and friends. They act out because they don’t understand or are afraid of what they are experiencing.
The teen years can be a developmental crisis. Try to gauge whether your teen's moods and behaviors interfere with his/her daily functioning and feel beyond something you can understand or manage. A telltale sign of trouble is when your teen simply does not want to talk to you anymore and/or does not want to listen to anything you have to say.
Below are a few common symptoms that indicate the need for professional help:
1. IRRITABILITY: Your teen appears sad, tired, restless or irritable most of the time. One of the confusing things about teen depression is it often appears as crankiness and hostility. I don't mean the occasional outburst but more a persistent pattern of irritability.
2. SLEEP PATTERN: Your teen has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. The general recommendation for teenagers is to get between 8-10 hours of sleep per night. If your child sleeps much more or less than that it could be a sign of problems.
3. CHANGES IN WEIGHT: Any dramatic changes when it comes to eating, weight gain or weight loss.
4. SOCIAL ISOLATION: Your teen has trouble making or keeping friends. Your child stays up in his room all day to play video games or watch TV and does not seem to have any close friends he socializes with outside of school.