Common Questions About Teen Problems
What are the most common mental health-related teen problems?
Some of the more common problems experienced by teens are depression, stress, eating disorders, substance abuse and behavior/social problems. Because the teen years are characterized by an abundance of physical, social and emotional changes, they tend to be a tumultuous time full of change. Change often brings on stress and depression, which can contribute to other problems such as substance abuse, sleeping and eating problems.
How can a parent tell if a teen is having life problems?
It's important for parents to look and listen when their children become teenagers. They need to look closely at their teen's life—what are his or her interests, who are his or her friends, where does he or she spend time, how is he or she eating and sleeping, and how is he or she coping socially. Beyond being aware of what is going on in the teen's life, parents should listen to their child. By encouraging teens to talk about their lives, parents gain invaluable clues as to how the teen is adjusting to the many changes that are occurring.
Parents should be aware of some important warning flags when it comes to their teens. Marked changes in a teen's sleeping, eating, social, hygiene or academic habits can be a cause of concern.
How can a parent help?
If a parent is concerned about a teen's habits or behavior, the first step is to address the concerns directly with the teen. Opening the lines of communication often enables both the teen and the parent to learn and share important information. Through talking and learning, parents can identify what kinds of supports the teen needs and go about providing them. This support can come in various forms, including academic tutoring, mental health assistance, physical health assistance or advice on handling peer pressure or other social situations.
Where can I get help for my teen?
If a teen is experiencing academic or other school problems, parents may want to consult with a teacher or guidance counselor coach to develop helpful strategies. Family physicians and mental health professionals can be consulted around physical, emotional and behavior issues. When seeking mental health care, parents are advised to seek out professionals who specialize in adolescent issues.