What is normal teenage behavior? – Changes to lookout for
There are many changes and developments that take place during the teenage years of a person. These are not only in terms of physical appearance; they also affect teenager’s mental and emotional health. However, as a parent, you should know that there is still a limit to the level of changes that your teen is going to experience. In other words, there are changes that are considered normal and there are some that are not. So what is normal teenage behavior and what are changes that parents should be aware of?
Drastic and Dramatic Changes
If the changes in your teen’s behavior and personality seem to be too drastic and dramatic, it is possible that your child is already having a serious problem. This is also true if the changes seem to be permanent in nature. If this is the case, then it may already be a sign that your child already needs professional help.
Some of the drastic and dramatic changes that you should look out for and consider as warning signs are the following:
• Extreme changes in weight – Too much weight loss or weight gain.
• Problems related to sleeping habits – Difficulties in sleeping, staying asleep, severe sleepiness, or insomnia
• Rapid and drastic personality changes
• Sudden changes in the people he/she hangs out with
• Missing classes on a regular basis
• Failing in school
• Brings up the subject of suicide, even if it is just through a joke
• Signs of using tobacco, drugs, and/or alcohol
• Having run-ins with the law
How Long is Long?
According to medical experts, changes in behavior and personality that are still considered to be normal are those that do not last for more than 6 weeks. However, if your child’s risky or bad attitude has already gone for more than this, it can already be a sign of a more serious problem. If such is the case, you should not hesitate to contact your primary health care provider for counselling and advice. Your doctor may also recommend you to seek the help of a psychologist or a psychiatrist.
Respecting Your Teen’s Private Life
Many parents often have a hard time doing this, something that is still understandable. It is common for parents to think that everything their teens do should also be their business. A lot of parents have this need to know everything going on in the life of their children, or they can end up becoming really worried and concerned.
While it is only normal for parents to be concerned about what their children do, it is important for them to also give their teens the right level of privacy and respect. Unless, of course, that the above-mentioned warning signs are already being exhibited by the teenager. Otherwise, the most advisable thing for parents to do is to grant their children with enough privacy.
So what does this mean for you as a parent? It means that you should consider your teen’s email messages, text messages, and phone calls private. Do not just go in and out of his/her room. Knocking before entering should always be implemented, as you would want our teen to do the same with you. In addition, you should not also expect that your kid is going to tell you everything about his/her life. Of course, you should still ask him/her, but do not prod and insist that he/she tell you about it.
It is a must though, that you know exactly where your teenager is going, especially if it is going to be overnight. You should also ask your teen who they are going to be with, what they are going to do, and what time you can expect them to get back home. These are the most important details you need to know.
It is also important for you to tell your teenager that you trust him/her. This is going to make it easier for him/her to tell you straight up the answers to your questions. Just remind your teen in a gentle, but firm manner, that, in the event he/she does something that breaks this trust, fewer freedoms can be expected until he/she is able to put back together these broken pieces of trust.
Always keeping the lines of communication stable and open is a key to having a successful and problem-less life with a teenager. Of course, conflicts are still going to happen, but your home does not have to suffer from every day fights and arguments with your teenager. As long as you are able to keep in mind and implement the above mentioned tips, your chances of having a great relationship with your teen are higher.