We all know that life can get tough at times. As a parent, you may have survived your teenage years and come through the other side unscathed, but that doesn’t take away from the difficulty of growing up. You may look back on your teenage years fondly now, but can you remember how you felt at the time? It’s normal for teenagers to go through periods when they feel like the world is against them, but sometimes teenage angst actually turns out to be something more. Mental health conditions have become increasingly prevalent in boys, and every parent should be aware of the potential dangers of psychological illnesses. If you have a teenage son, here are some tips to help you spot potential warning signs:
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Changes in behavior
Most parents are familiar with situations when teenagers lose their patience, scream and shout and slam doors. It’s common for teens to have outbursts and for their behavior to change when they’re going through puberty. What isn’t normal is constant mood swings or changes that produce behavior that is completely uncharacteristic. Perhaps your son has become isolated and withdrawn when they’re usually a very sociable person, or they’re struggling to contain their anger or frustration. If you do notice changing patterns of behavior, look out for triggers and try and have an honest and open chat with your son. Encourage them to open up, and air any problems or concerns they have.
Loss of interest and enthusiasm
Boys are usually boundless balls of energy, and if your son suddenly seems to lose interest in hanging out with friends or getting involved in activities or events at school, this may indicate that they’re struggling. Conditions like anxiety and depression can contribute to a lack of motivation, and even the most enthusiastic and energetic people can become lethargic and disinterested.
It’s common for teenage boys to keep things from their parents, but look out for secretive behavior. You may notice that your son is spending a lot of time locked away in his bedroom or hanging out with people he’s not keen to share information about. As a parent, it can be very easy for your mind to wander and you may automatically assume the worst, but don’t get carried away and think about drug testing or following your child straight away. Ask them questions, try and get some answers and give them the benefit of the doubt until they give you reason to suspect that they’re up to no good. Secretive behavior is not always a sign that your child is breaking the law, skipping school or doing anything wrong. It may also be symptomatic of issues like stress and depression. It can be very tough for teenagers to handle mental health problems, and your son may simply not want you to see them when they’re down or feeling helpless.
Loss of control
It’s common for teens to throw tantrums when things aren’t going their way, but if your son is struggling to control their emotions on a regular basis, this could be a sign of deeper issues.
Every parent approaches the teenage years with apprehension. Often, it’s easy to confuse angst with something more serious, and it’s hugely beneficial to be aware of potential red flag signs.
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