Parenting

Jul 24
How to Know When Your Teen Needs Help By: Sheryl Gould

is my child's behavior normalTake this Assessment Test

Parenting a teenager can be confusing. Years ago, I didn’t know what to do when my oldest daughter seemed to be spinning out of control—wreaking stress and havoc in our home. At the time, I didn’t know if I was over or under-reacting. I was conflicted as to what was normal adolescent behavior and what wasn’t.

So, how do we know if their rebellious behavior is normal or not? For some of us, we may fear the worst, only to have our spouse downplay our concerns. Are we off? Are we too reactive? Or, are we ignoring the warning signs?

If you find yourself overwhelmed, scared and not sure what to do or if it seems like you have tried everything and nothing seems to be working, this assessment is for you.

The Assessment Tool will help you to discern the difference between somewhat normal teenage behaviors and when your child needs immediate help. It was developed by Heartlight, a residential counseling center for struggling teens and modeled after years of working with thousands of teenagers.

This assessment will only takes a few moments to complete and well worth your time.

Just rank the symptoms you are experiencing on a scale from 0 to 5—depending on their severity. Circle the appropriate number on the scale and ask other family members to do the same. Then, compare your notes.

THE TROUBLED TEENAGER ASSESSMENT TOOL

  • Our Family is Under Stress from Our Teen’s Behavior

Your teen refuses to abide by anything you say or request, leading to a constant high level of stress and conflict in the home as a direct result. Your stress meter goes up whenever he or she comes home or walks into the room.

0—1—2—3—4—5

Never….Often….Always

  • We’ve Seen Changes in Our Teen’s Motivation

Your child is displaying markedly different motivation from what has been normal. For instance, sleeping far too little or far too long, extreme forgetfulness, over aggression and explosiveness, depression, an uncaring attitude, anxiety or sadness, grades slipping, hating what they once loved or loving what they once hated, or spending too much time alone.

0—1—2—3—4—5

Never….Often….Always

  • Our Teenager is Increasingly Disrespectful and Uncaring

Your child has become increasingly disrespectful, dishonest, or disobedient, openly displaying rebellion, no longer hiding his or her feelings or caring about the consequences, living only for the moment and not caring about the future.

0—1—2—3—4—5

Never….Often….Always

  • We See Significant Rebellion or Defiance from Our Teenager

The teen has developed a blatant ignorance or profound rebellion toward your boundaries and rules of the home. This may appear in passive aggressiveness or open defiance that is unusually excessive for your child.

0—1—2—3—4—5

Never….Often….Always

  • Our Teenager is Threatening and Acting Out Troubling Behaviors

Your teen is making veiled or outright threats of suicide or engaging in self-mutilation, eating disorders, cutting or other self-destructive activities. Or, he or she participates in excessive risk-taking, dangerous drug use, or blatant sexual promiscuity. The teen’s once healthy conscience or moral compass is seemingly lost.

0—1—2—3—4—5

Never….Often….Always

  • We Also See Him/Her Mistreat Others

Your teen treats people, pets, or belongings in a threatening or out of control manner. You have to hide or disconnect the internet, telephone, television in order to stop your teen from blatantly and repeatedly using them inappropriately. Things of value are broken or lost by the teen with an uncaring attitude about it. You’ve had occasion to consider hiding your wallet, your keys, and anything having to do with money or valuables out of fear your teen may take them.

0—1—2—3—4—5

Never….Often….Always

  • He/She Has Unusually Selfish or Self-Centered Thinking

Your teen thinks he or she is the center of your family (or the universe), shows blatant disregard for other family members’ time, feelings, schedule, or possessions. Manipulation or threats is used as a tool to get what he or she wants.

0—1—2—3—4—5

Never….Often….Always

  • Our Teen Refuses to Participate with the Family

Your teen refuses to participate with or have anything to do with the family, or displays a growing hatred for the family. There is constant conflict between the teen and one family member or another.

0—1—2—3—4—5

Never….Often….Always

  • We’re Seeing Extreme Peer-Dependence and Peer Attitudes

Peers have become the center of your child’s life and it is seemingly impossible to keep your child away from them. You see your child adopting their attitudes and taking on their appearance, their talk, and their activities. Your teen stays up most of the night taking phone calls from friends, instant messaging them, or sneaking out to be with them.

0—1—2—3—4—5

Never….Often….Always

TOTAL SCORE: ____________ (0-45)

Assessment Scoring:  

If your assessment score totals 30 or more, counseling is recommended. Find a good local counselor specializing in teen behavioral issues.

Take immediate action if your teenager ever shows signs of drug or alcohol abuse, eating behaviors, cutting, or has threatened suicide. They will not get better on their own and every day that goes by will make it harder for them to stop these behaviors.

I am grateful to Heartlight for their wonderful resources and helping so many troubled teenagers and their families. You can find out more about Heartlight – HeartlightMinistries.org or contact them directly at (903) 668-2173.

Sheryl Gould

Hi! I'm Sheryl and I'm so glad you're here!

Are you tired of having the same arguments with your adolescent son or daughter? Scared that you’re failing as a mom? At your wit’s end and not sure what to do?

I can help. I’ve coached moms for over 12 years to become conscious, calmer and more connected parents. And I know the difference it makes when you get support and learn new ways of relating. It changes everything!

Hi! I'm Sheryl and I'm so glad you're here!

Are you tired of having the same arguments with your adolescent son or daughter? Scared that you’re failing as a mom? At your wit’s end and not sure what to do?

I can help. I’ve coached moms for over 12 years to become conscious, calmer and more connected parents. And I know the difference it makes when you get support and learn new ways of relating. It changes everything!

Categories: Parenting

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About

Hi. I’m Sheryl.

Welcome to my heart, my story, and my love for Moms of Tweens and Teens.

My passion and mission for MOTTS was born out of my personal journey – a journey that took me from a place of being fearful to show others the real me, to a place of slowly opening my heart to being authentic; a place of shame wanting to hide my challenges and struggles to experiencing the grace and love of being known and accepted; a place of not knowing what to do, to a place of experiencing the healing, wisdom, and transformation that comes from being a part of a community of women who are willing to share their hearts and allow themselves to be seen and known.

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