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Getting Help For Troubled Teens: When And Where To Go
When your teenager starts to get out of hand you have to ask yourself some hard questions. The first step is to honestly evaluate how you think you're doing when communicating with your teen. Do you feel you are sharing valuable information and time? Or do you feel there is a communication gap and he's hiding something?
Look for these warning signs:
· Low self-esteem
· Out of touch with reality
· sudden personality changes and mood swings
· Violent behavior
· Drop in grades and school performance
· self destructive actions or language (suicide threats or extreme diet & exercise)
· reclusive tendencies
· debilitating fears
Any of those behaviors done on a frequent basis can indicate a problem. At this point you should seek outside assistance. Dont be too proud to ask for help.
If you feel your efforts aren't working (or aren't good enough) first enlist the assistance of your extended circle of friends and family. Get everyone involved to bolster the spirits of your teen. Show him that he has a support system in place that he can count in. Work on building back trust in your relationship. If your child opens up to another family member better than you, keep your resentment inside, the focus should be on helping your teen.
Sometimes you need to bring in professionals. Dont wait too long on this step if your child is getting out of control. A delay can be costly. But where should you turn next? Consider these options:
· School guidance counselor - this person deals with teenagers (especially troubled ones) on a daily basis, they are an excellent resource for insight into what might be happening among the social scenes at school. They also have quick easy access to your child during the day.
· Outside counselors and psychologists - These professionals have degrees in counseling and therapy. Some specialize in therapy while others focus on testing. Its best to find someone who deals with teenagers a lot, they usually relate better to the younger generation.
· Social workers - these individuals are often called in to work with families as a group and are quite familiar with emotional problems in a social setting. They can help identify issues related to family dynamics. This can be helpful if there are frequent conflicts at home.
· Psychiatrists - these are medical doctors (yes, they went to medical school) who are allowed to prescribe medication and can hospitalize patients. Generally you would reserve this professional for a later step as licensed counselors are often a less expensive and personal approach to teen troubles.
Therapy can become expensive so check with your insurance plan to see which services are covered. Some companies impose limits on the type of services available and/or the frequency of visits. If cost is an issue don't forget that school counselors are typically free. You could also contact a local university or college, free clinics, counseling training programs, and state run offices. Some offices offer sliding scale pricing for lower income families. It's important not to let money stop you from seeking help. The wellbeing of your child and your family depend on it.
BONUS : Getting Help For Troubled Teens
Do you have troubled teens in your home? If your child is one that does not talk to you, has pulled back out of your family or is continuously ill, there is a need to talk to them. Sometimes, they will blame you. Other times, they have just dug a hole that is so large that they just can not seem to get back out. In any case, all teens that are facing life changing, life altering things need help. How can you find help for your troubled teens?
The first place to start is with your child's doctor. No matter what you are worried about, they are likely to have the first real advice for you. The first thing you need to do no matter if you are worried about drugs, alcohol or depression is to get them physically checked out to insure they are healthy. Then, talk to the doctor to determine what the next course of action is. Remember, doctors are not going to talk about you or your child to anyone else.
Talk to their school counselor. Although you can not be at school to watch them all the time, the school's counselor can help. Meet with them, become a concerned parent. In fact, one of the most powerful things that you can do is be a known presence at the school. Troubled teens stem from parents that are not aware of what they are doing or who they are with. Be knowledgeable.
Troubled teens will often need someone that is just around their age to talk to as well. Find a mentor for them. This can be someone that is in your family or friends. It can be someone from the boys and girls club. There are plenty of places to get help for your troubled teen. You need to simply reach out and get the help that they need for them.