For many parents of teenagers, you may often find yourself questioning their behavior and wondering if what they are doing is a “big deal” or not. The changes in their mood and attitude may seem to change with wind. It can be a scary and frustrating time in your relationship with your child. Michael Nichols, author of Inside Family Therapy, provides good insight for you to use to examine what your teen and family may be experiencing.
“The time for parents to worry about their teenagers is when psychological impairment becomes persistent, predictable, and pervasive. Transient adjustment reactions rarely last more than three months. Usually the distress is obvious. There is decreased pleasure in all areas, antagonism with parents, poor grades in school, loneliness, and isolation. A child is in trouble if he or she doesn’t have at least one close friend. Another ominous sign is the child who no longer has dreams for the future. Physical symptoms – such as persistent headaches, stomachaches, sleep disturbances, and appetite problems – are cause for alarm, if they become chronic. These children can’t seem to get relief from persistent stress, or they rely on external means of feeling better. Food, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, or caffeine become necessary crutches.” Michael Nichols, Inside Family Therapy