Parenting is a full-time job that many will struggle with to find the right balance of discipline for their child so that they still feel loved and secure. As they become teens, the process becomes even more complicated with more and more elements in the world that entice them. But there are ways that parents can be aware of the signs of risky behavior and get help.
Nowadays, teens are exposed to drinking at a younger age, and many of them keep it a secret from their parents. Beyond just being more aware of the activities of your teen and where they are at all times, a parent can become more involved by doing the following:
- Talk to your teen about peer pressure and saying “no” when a friend wants to drink and bring open alcohol in the vehicle and the consequences of this type of activity.
- Don’t drink and drive around your teen; modeling bad behavior gives them an excuse to do the same thing.
- Let them talk to someone who has been in a drunk-driving accident or had a drunk driving arrest—sometimes a reality check about actual consequences is a strong deterrent.
- Make sure your teen understands that you will always be there for them if they do drink too much and you can be the one that they call for help without judgment
There are definite warning signs when a teen is contemplating hurting themselves. According to healthychildren.org, suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people from the age of 10 through their mid-20s. Parents can help by doing the following:
Open a dialogue with your child
Just asking your child if they are depressed and WHY they are depressed will not make them contemplate suicide; this is a myth. In fact, some teens will attempt suicide hoping that they will be found and saved so that they can get help. Speak to your child without a tone that makes them feel they are in trouble or may be punished if they admit to feeling unhappy. Let them know you are there for them and may seek professional help if they are comfortable with speaking to someone about their feelings.
Look for clear warning signs
You know your child better than anyone, so if a consistent pattern of the following behavior occurs, then talk to your teen:
- Fits of rage
- Overeating or not eating at all
- Sleeping for endless hours or staying up all the time
- Friends are not around
- Hiding in their room or not coming home at all
- Problems with bullying
Extreme Risk Taking
Even though a teen may know they are putting themselves at risk, the consequences of not being accepted by their peers, for some teens, is even more dangerous to them than the risky behavior. That is why it is so important for parents to be aware of signs of risky behavior and take action:
Modeling Positive Behavior
When they are in the moment and making a choice between walking away from trying drugs, drinking alcohol, or any other types of risky behavior that even may just wearing a seatbelt, they will think twice if they remember that their parents model good behavior in those areas, so they cannot rationalize not doing the right thing based on seeing their parents do the same thing.
Opportunities to Practice Positive Behavior
Parents need to take the time to create scenarios for their teens that reflect real-world issues that will put them in a position where they have to choose between doing something risky and doing something right. This will breed responsibility for their own actions and give them confidence in making the right decision when the time comes because they have already thought it through with parental guidance.
Drug / Alcohol Overdoses
Parents need to look for signs of addiction in consistently uncharacteristic behavior that is exhibited by their teen. This means that the teen begins to show extremes in both physical and mental makeup. This may include the following:
- Trouble making a decision
- Appearing confused all the time
- Shaking or sweating
- Missing items in the house or being caught stealing
- Avoiding family dinners or family members in general
- A “new” group of friends
- Looking disheveled or dirty all the time
- Glassy or red eyes
- A runny nose or constant sniffling
- Unusual marks on the arms or wearing long sleeves in warm weather
Addiction can occur very quickly with alcohol or drugs in a young person, so it is imperative that parents look for all these general signs and take immediate action and try to deter them from continuing with this type of risky behavior. If parents feel it is beyond their control and the teen is exhibiting signs of severe addiction, then it is probably time to seek professional help.
Diamond Ranch Academy can help parents save their teens from addiction and other types of risky behavior that could lead to tragic consequences. With the therapeutic approach that Diamond Ranch Academy has to offer teens, it teaches them the life skills and necessary tools to make positive decisions that will affect them now and throughout their future course in life.