Welcome to 4 Troubled Teens, where we focus on the special needs of parents who are struggling with an adolescent. If you are the parent of a troubled teen who is showing signs of behavioral, emotional, or academic problems, you will find great articles on how to assess your troubled teenager and how to help them.
It is a normal part of the teen years to have some conflict with parents - they are starting to crave more independence and they will want to make their own decisions more and more. However, if your teen appears to be doing self-destructive things, you should not write this off as "normal teen behavior." If your teen's behavior has resulted in dropping grades, complaints from teachers, or other negative consequences it's important to intervene as soon as possible.
Teens tend to respond better to intervention when behavioral problems are caught early and dealt with quickly. Parents often find it difficult to identify when a troubled teen is at risk for dropping out of school, drug or alcohol use, suicide, and other dangerous or self-defeating behaviors. Our goal is to connect parents of troubled teens to the information and resources they need to quickly identify risk factors and take appropriate action to help their troubled teenager.
Your once well-behaved teen has started getting into trouble and you don't know who to blame - is it the influence of their favorite celebrity? Or perhaps that risqué television show or foul-mouthed rapper they spend so many hours listening to? More likely, a sudden change in behavior, dress or attitude can be traced to the friends your teen is hanging out with.
Adolescents are heavily influenced by the opinions of their peers, says Marty Ormond, program director at Turn-About Ranch, a residential treatment center for teens ages 13 to 17 that is located on a real horse and cattle ranch.
"Humans need to be connected with other humans," he says. "When teens see a group, they gravitate toward that group and shift their behavior, whether positive or negative, in order to be accepted."
Studies confirm that peers have a strong influence on adolescents, which can be extremely healthy (in the case of a positive peer group), or extremely unhealthy (in the case of a negative peer group).
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