Adolescence is one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. According to Erik Erikson’s stages of development, the ages of 12-18 years old are the most important when it comes to development in a person. This is the time that a person is trying to figure out his or her identity.

Every decision a teen makes builds their foundation of answering the question, “Who am I?” As a counselor, one of the most common questions I hear from parents of the teens I work with is, “Is this normal or has this crossed a line and become an actual mental problem?”

We all know that teens make bad choices at times and even tend to “rebel” to truly discover their identity. But when does it go from “normal” to a true problem?

Normal teen issues are: being emotional and even a little dramatic about friendships and relationships; being lazy; pushing boundaries to try to get their way; being forgetful; not prioritizing; questioning rules and authority; trying to fit in with their peers, etc.

These “normal” issues will eventually be outgrown as an adolescent enters into adulthood.

Abnormal issues are when teens become violent and angry, addicted to alcohol and/or drugs, have extreme weight loss or gain, portray excessive sleeping or insomnia, do not care for others or themselves, develop eating disorders or self-harming (cutting), stay isolated from friends and family, show extreme disrespect, etc.

As you can see, the abnormal issues are more extreme and detrimental to a teen’s life and development. These are issues that will not be outgrown if not dealt with in a healthy  manner.As a parent, it’s important to not only be aware of how your adolescent is feeling, but also what their surroundings and circumstances are.

For example, if your 16 year old daughter locks herself in her room and cries all night, you may think she is dealing with depression; however, she could have just broken up with her boyfriend, got in a fight with her best friend, or failed a midterm.

You may be thinking, “Ok, my child has some abnormal behavior…what do I do?”

Here are 3 ways to help your child if they are showing abnormal behaviors

#1 Seek out professional counseling.

It is vital to get an unbiased outside source to help your teen and your family get through this difficult time. Without help, your teen may be on a path to destruction.

#2 talk with your child.

Let him or her know that you are here, supportive and want to help. They may give off the impression that they don’t care what you have to say, but deep down, they do and they need to hear it.

#3 Do not let your adolescent (or their behavior) take control of your family, household, or life.

You are the parent and do not have to walk on eggshells because they are  struggling. Be consistent. You can get through this, and will, if you remain in control.

 If you have a teen who is showing signs of abnormal behaviors, call  Life Counseling Solutions for a free consultation or to schedule an appointment. Take control and call today: 407-622-1770.

 Author: DeAnn Maccloskey