teen boy contemplates life

There’s a fine line between normal and natural teen behaviors and something more serious. As your boy grows and enters teenhood and young adulthood, the path to a safe and happy adult life can become harder to navigate. Without your help, they may not know how to take the lead for their own future and in time, could become lost. Of course, this becomes increasingly difficult if you’re dealing with emotional, mental, and behavioral attitudes that are proving to be out of the ordinary. This changes in behavior can be aggressive and downright alarming, possibly even creating an unsafe environment for you and your teen.

What’s Changing?

As a parent, you’d never deny or ignore a broken bone or a serious fever. Yet, when it comes to mental illness, symptoms can go on, left untreated for a long stretch of time. During this period of your time, mental health and behavior issues are more likely to emerge. Whether due to the environment a teen is finding himself in, high levels of stress, or changing hormones, your child could be having a difficult or impossible time adjusting to the new. What are the potential factors that may be impacting his change in behavior?

  • Is your son undergoing high levels of stress? Stress can come from many places. Is he having trouble with school work? Is he being bullied? Is he finding stress in your home? Young men are often at odds with the amount of pressure placed on them from every which way. Between home life, school, and even church, he may find that there’s no way to get out from under that pressure. Worse yet, he may not know how to properly cope with the pressure at all.
  • Hormones are always a factor. Your son is currently going through major changes in his brain development. At this point in his life, he’s at a much higher risk of mental health and addiction problems. As your teen is changing the way he thinks and reacts, pay attention to that behavior. The mind is a fragile thing, and if these changes aren’t happening just as they’re supposed to, something could be wrong.
  • What is your son’s environment like? Environment plays a large role in how your son is likely to develop. Ask yourself honestly if there has been any trauma that has gone unchecked in his life. Is there a history of abuse? As a parent, you can only see what you see. The environments outside of your home that involve your son may have been ones you were once familiar with, and over time, those may be a mystery. 

 

Warning Signs

What we get asked often is, “how do you tell”, or “what should I look out for?”. Parent’s want to carefully identify what is a normal teen phase and what is a genuine sign of mental illness or a cry for help. Although behavioral changes and mental illness could manifest differently between your teen and the next, some warning signs you should be careful to watch for are:

    • Changes in sleep habits
    • Significant changes in academic performance
    • Lose of interest in passions and activities
    • Excessive anger
    • High levels of irritability
    • Isolation
    • Irregular weight and appetite changes

 

Mental Health is a Priority

If you see these signs in the future, or already know a few exist in your time, it’s time to talk to them about your concerns. Your teen’s mental health is important. It may feel uncomfortable to reach out to them, but the first step to helping them back to mental health is to show them that you’re there and that you care. 

If your teen’s behavior has gone beyond what you feel like you can safely mend, it’s time to speak with professional mental health sources. Finding a safe haven for your child is vitally important for the future. An escalation in these negative patterns and behaviors can put them at high risks of emotional issues in the future. If you can no longer shelter them, call Triangle Cross today. We can talk to you about our program and how we’re equipped with the tools to help your son find health and happiness once more.

Your Teen’s Mental Health