Your child has always been sweet and accommodating, but ever since they hit their teen years, they have begun to wreak havoc on your household. Be aware that there are warning signs that even more difficult issues may begin to appear on the horizon. These warning signs may include:
All of a sudden, your teen doesn't want to have anything to do with you or the rest of the family. Family reunions, church activities, and weekend outings may no longer interest them the way they used to. Their room becomes a refuge and they only come out to shower and eat. They may refuse to attend family events, stay up very late at night and sleep all day, and listen to music constantly.
Rebellious or Moody Behavior
When asked to perform a household task or given simple instructions to clean their room, they may respond in a very surly and unfriendly manner. They may be sweet and pleasant one minute and then hate you the next. They may deliberately refuse to follow your rules and proceed to do exactly the opposite, sometimes very blatantly. Outside behaviors may include shoplifting, speeding, or drug usage, so it may be necessary to enlist the aid of a misdemeanor attorney to help you through these situations.
Poor Hygiene and Disorganized Behavior
Their room may become a disaster area and showers may become very intermittent. It may be a struggle to get them to dress up for a special occasion and for their laundry to make it to the washing machine. Patiently reminding them to take care of their hygiene and supplying them with basics such as teen brands of shampoo, deodorant, soap, and other necessities may eventually entice them to pay closer attention to their appearance and cleanliness. If their bedroom is a disaster area, you can encourage them to clean it. If they won't clean, take it upon yourself just one time. If your child isn't used to you cleaning up for them, the shock from your cleaning their room might inspire them to clean on their own simply to keep you out of their room.
One of the worst aspects of declining teen behavior is truancy. Out of the blue, you may begin receiving campus reports that your child has been skipping class and going off property for unknown reasons and to unknown destinations. They may skip entire days of school or just those classes they don’t enjoy. They may also be truant from after school activities, Sunday school, and other appointments that you have made for them. Many school districts will take parents to court if truancy in a student gets out of hand, and it may be necessary, again, to hire an attorney to assist with this issue.
Watching for these warning signs will allow you to intervene early. Make a point of paying special attention to your child and to their needs, bring them to a therapist if necessary, but most importantly, continue to love and care for them as you always have. That safe, secure environment they have been raised in will be the main thing that grounds them and eventually brings them back to earth and home to you.