For a parent, the teenage years can be an area of dread for many, due to its significance as a period of great growth and change. Even those teenagers who somehow manage to avoid most teen problems will still be expected to face challenges, personality changes, and big decisions which result in a lot of stress or extra support needed from a parent.

Here are some of the key issues to watch out for as your teen grows and changes. It’s important to pay attention to any warning signs so that you can work with your teen to overcome obstacles.

Fluctuations in Weight and Diet

Due to this period of intense growth, your teen may run into weight problems. This could be because their metabolism hasn’t yet settled and is causing them either to not put on weight or to gain too much weight. Stresses of change could also mean that your teen is overeating, or skipping meals.

Warning Signs:

  • You notice your teen has lost or gained weight
  • They have told you their weight has changed significantly
  • They are constantly eating unhealthily or snacking between meals
  • They are skipping meals at home
  • They aren’t eating school lunches

Skipping School or Bad Grades

The school will be able to inform you of any issues regarding attendance, and you will receive report cards and updates from the school at the necessary times to inform you of their grades. It’s important to take the time to understand why your teen is choosing to skip school, and you can also work with your teen (and the teachers) to understand the reason for bad grades. Often, bad grades can be a struggle with work rather than simply choosing not to do the work.

Mental Health Issues: Depression and Anxiety

Mental health issues are prevalent in teenagers, due to this intense period offering a high amount of stress and pressure, not to mention extra pressure such as social and pending employment. Nevertheless, depression and anxiety can arise at any time, even in the most model and stress-free teenagers.

Warning Signs:

  • Becoming withdrawn
  • Becoming angry or irritable
  • Avoiding social situations
  • Change in sleeping pattern
  • Openly speaking of negative thoughts, or even harmful thoughts
  • Persistent low mood

Signs of depression and anxiety should never be ignored. Be sure to support your teenager, as well as seek professional options, like a teen rehab center.

Substance Abuse

Teen years are a time for experimenting, and unfortunately due to social expectations and pressures, this may see your teen becoming addicted to alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes (or all of the above).

Warning Signs:

  • Finding evidence in their room or around the house
  • Smelling alcohol on them
  • Noticing physical changes, such as red eyes and pale skin
  • Correlating rebellious behavior, such as skipping school
  • Change in mood (being withdrawn, aggressive, etc.)

You should educate your teen properly about substance abuse and talk openly with them to get the support they need. Disciplining them or becoming angry without offering support may push them into the bad habit further.

Issues of Uncertainty

Teenage years are years when important decisions about education, employment, friends, and life, in general, are at their peak. This can cause a lot of pressure and uncertainty for your teen, and one big issue could be your teen not knowing or understanding what the next step should be.

This period of uncertainty, if severe, could also cause your teen to turn to any of the issues listed above.

Be sure to talk through your teen’s options with them, offer life advice as much as you can, and gain their school’s support with areas such as career advice and working opportunities.