Often one of the many struggles parents have is recognizing what is normal teen behavior verse teen behavior they should cause them worry.
What is normal? Has your teen begun giving you one word answers to any questions you ask? Does your teen seem to text an unbelievable amount? Are you wishing you could sleep as much as your teen? Are their friends the highest priority in their life now? Is your teen always irritable? Does it seem like your child is involved with a soap opera because he or she is so emotional, always a huge crisis and their world will soon end if it doesn’t work out.
All the above – normal behavior.
What should you worry about? Worry if your child seems to be involved with drugs and alcohol. Are there brushes with police involvement? Question if your child seems to have completely changed their friends. Peers really are a huge influence on teens and if your teen’s friends are into risky behavior it will be easy for your teen to fall into the same behavior. Meet your child’s friends. Yes, it may embarrass your youth but it is a huge red flag if you are never able to interact even minimally with your child’s friends. Is there a sudden drastic change of personality such as being excessively secretive or skipping school? Look a little deeper if you start catching them in lies – what are they doing that they can’t tell you?
Trust your gut – if something really feels off – it probably is.
Any hope? Well they will grow into adults eventually. Teens are supposed to be individuating themselves from their parents and they are clarifying their identities. There are still going to be good times and family togetherness but you did your job well if your youth is trying to be independent.
What should you do? Know your kid’s friends. Pick your battles. Say yes whenever you can. Be reasonable. Stay involved. One of the hardest tasks of being a parent is being able to be hated for short periods of time. Do your best not to personalize all the irritation thrown at you.