is your teen heading for turmoil

Copyright 2001 Carol Maxym, Ph.D.
All rights reserved

Distinguishing "normal" teenage behavior-including some defiance, some argument, some lack of communication-from that of a teen in turmoil is not an exact science. It is natural for parents to want to see their teen's behavior and attitudes as just a stage, part of growing up, or just the way teens are today. And often parents and professionals confuse one or more symptoms for the problem. For example, parents will blame a new set of friends for leading their teen into bad directions rather than recognizing that their own child is choosing the new friends because they are doing and saying what appeals to your teen. Similarly, parents can blame drugs for their teen's problems, without recognizing that drugs are a symptom of an underlying problem.

The best way to determine if your teen may be in or heading towards turmoil is to use your own feelings as a guide. Start by asking yourself why you clicked to this part of the Web site and what's going on in your family. No teen lives in turmoil without creating some level of turmoil in the world around him or her. Trust your gut! Most parents really do know their teen.

Use the following questionnaire to help you assess your feelings and your teen's behavior. Complete it online, then generate a report with expert guidance and advice geared specifically to your concerns.

I have a feeling that somehow I just don't know my teen any longer.
I find fault with all my teen's friends, but I excuse my teen.
I realize that I have begun to accept language, standards, attitudes, and behaviors I don't like just because it's become too hard to try to maintain what I believe.
Most times, I decide it's just easier to do the chore myself than to ask, remind, or nag my teen.
Sometimes I feel as though I have become the resident drill sergeant or nag.
I often have a sort of scared, angry, or even just stressed or depressed feeling when I need to ask my teen what ought to be a simple question.
I'm always second-guessing and questioning myself - other parents don't seem to have the same problems as I do!
I feel angry, hurt, embarrassed, hopeless, and sometimes even helpless in relation to my teen.
I'm worried that my teen may use drugs or alcohol.
And the hardest questions of all:
Do you trust your teen? Do you trust your teen to keep herself or himself safe?

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