(from the National Safe Place website.)
It is easy to confuse signs of trouble and normal adolescent turmoil. When real problems are at hand, the signs outlined below usually come in clusters and can be indicators of a number of issues. Observance of these signs should cause concern but not undue alarm.
- Sleep changes: fatigue, insomnia, increased sleeping.
- Personality changes: abrupt mood swings, apathy, irritability, preoccupation with a single thought, withdrawal and growing isolation from the family.
- School problems: falling grades, cutting classes, disciplinary problems.
- Withdrawal from friends: fallouts and hostility towards former friends, making new, significantly older friends.
- Difficulty coping with family transitions: death, divorce, illness, loss of job, a move to another city, etc.
Trust those gut feelings you get when something is wrong. If you observe any of these signs, talk to your teen about what may be happening. Do not hesitate to ask for outside help for you, your teen, and your family.
To help prevent youth from running:
- Spend time with your teen and listen – this is the best way to prevent them from feeling alone and insecure.
- Take your teen seriously – do not dismiss their worries and fears.
- Be firm on central issues while bending on less critical issues.
- Permit expressions of ideas, even if they are different from your own.
- Teens have mood swings – don’t take them too personally.
- Talk with teachers and other parents if you are worried. They may have helpful insights and observations.
- If you tell your teen that he or she can talk to you about anything, mean it. Help from outside sources and counseling professionals can help you become more comfortable talking to your teen about sensitive subjects.