Dealing with a teenager can be difficult at the best of times. The problem is knowing when your teenager is suffering from more than normal teenage moodiness. At our private psychiatrist London-based clinic we are experienced dealing with a range of issues impacting teenagers. Read on to find more signs of teen trouble in part 2 of our series.
Often parents worry about children, particularly their daughters, wearing clothes that are too mature for their age or too revealing. While this can be concerning, what you might not think to notice is clothing that covers up more, not less. Baggy clothes could be stylish but they can also be used to disguise weight loss. Long sleeves worn even in hot weather could cover up marks from self-harm when children are cutting themselves. Be aware if your teenager remains covered up in layers all the time or if it is simply a style choice when they are spending time with friends. Changes in clothing patterns can also be signs of low self-esteem.
Does your child have friends or has he or she stopped socialising? Bullying and peer pressure have become greater problems for teenagers. While these have always been an issue, in the past teens were generally able to avoid bullies when they were away from school or sports. Now social media can enable bullies to attack other children 24 hours per day. As we’ve all seen on the news, bullying on social media has been linked to a number of suicides. Severe bullying has become a problem at even younger ages, as well. Unlike the hours spent in school or activities where there are generally adults within earshot to limit bullying behaviour, on the internet there are often no limits. While you want to allow your children some privacy, you should still remain aware of what they are posting on social media and if they are experiencing problems with online bullies.
Keep in mind that “traditional” types of bullying are still problems. For boys the bullying is often physical like pushing or shoving or stealing personal items, in addition to verbal insults. Physical fights happen but often the bullying is more of a constant harassment than the type of physical abuse that would cause significant physical damage. This makes it more difficult to tell if your child is being bullied than if he or she appeared with a black eye or other bruises.
Don’t underestimate bullying when it comes to girls. People often think about boys bullying each other but bullying among girls can be hurtful, as well. Long-time friends may suddenly become enemies and use personal information against each other. Rather than physical altercations girls are more likely to be bullied by being shunned or becoming the target of rumours and cruel comments. Social media has become a particularly popular place for these types of attacks and rumours to be spread. This is why it is so important to be aware of these factors and activity on digital media.
If you have concerns about your child, it is important to consult with a professional. A psychiatrist or psychologist can determine whether or not there are serious issues that need to be addressed. Even if there isn’t a serious problem, giving teenagers someone to talk to (other that you) can help them get perspective on things that are bothering them like bullying or the pressure to achieve in school.
Don’t miss part 1 of our series to learn more about the warning signs of the serious problems teenagers can experience. Remember to seek help if you are concerned about your child. A psychologist or psychiatrist can evaluate your child and provide assistance if needed.