5 steps to identify if your teen is getting into bad company
Dr Paula Goel , Pediatrician & adolescent physician , Fayth Clinic
Has your sweet adorable child suddenly metamorphosed into an individual who is constantly at loggerheads with you ? Is having a regular normal conversation difficult on a day to day basis ? And do you find complete change in behavior ?
Many of these could be just normal for this age group (10-19 yrs ) , however if the symptoms last for more than 2 weeks at a stretch and is associated with disturbance in the family structure , it is time to probe deeper . There might be a solid reason to feel concerned about your child and his/her changed behaviour. A parent’s instincts about their child is right in most cases.
So , what are the red flag signs which should alert you if your teen is getting into bad company which may get in the way of his/her studies or pose a threat to his/her safety, then you must address the issue ASAP!
1. Fall in school or college grades is the first sign .On many occasions, the child will even hide the marks , so tracking whether examination has occurred and what are the grades is necessary . If the child has performed poorly , it is imperative not to blame the child but provide a nurturing and caring environment which will allow the child to feel safe and not victimized . It is necessary for parents to understand that if the child has fallen into bad company , the child will tend to gravitate more because he/she gets the comfort which is somehow lacking at home ( strict parents ). There have been repeated complaints from school or college authorities regarding grades aand behaviour issues.
2.Teens between ages of 13 – 18 years, tend to develop an impulsive attitude and a reckless behaviour, which may lead them into doing certain things that are not desirable. Peer pressure, the desire to “fit in” with the so called “cool” kids of their age, may lead a teenager to take some decisions that may affect their academics, health and life in general. Smoking, drinking, drug use, indulging in unprotected sex, etccan be indulged in , hence parent need to crucial to recognise certain signs like generalized fatigue , chronic cough , red glazed eyes , repeated respiratory infections , abdominal pain , chronic headaches
- Your child who was once quite obedient and nice has suddenly started to back answer and is extremely rude and mannerless. They become tightlipped or fight back , when asked questions about their friends and activities. Most of the time , the door to their room is closed and in extreme situations , you even have to take their permission to enter the room . They will not take any phone calls or work on the computer in front of you . Any questions asked will be met with resistance to answer .They refuse to bring friends home to meet you, when you ask for it. They do it because they know that the company they hang out with is not an ideal one and their parents would never approve of it.
4. Your teenager spends a lot of time outside and returns home only after you call him/her multiple times and he/she refuses to tell you about his/her whereabouts. There are times when they have not come back home and returned home in the morning . While going out , their dress sense has become unconventional and music and lifestyle has also become unconventional . You may find them sporting expensive gadgets or clothes and when asked , there will be no answer or expensive gadgets and clothes may also be hidden and not shown to parents.
5. Your teen refuses to be a part of family outings, dinners, etc, and never bothers coming out of the room. He/ she has no connection or refuses to maintain with other family members .Your teen constantly lies to you about everything like school timings, their whereabouts, grades, etc. Large amounts of pocket money may be required and if not given , may be associated with either fights or stealing money from you . At a later stage , stealing may also progress to stealing and selling mothers jewellery , household items .
These are some of the red flag signs to alert and warn you . It is best to identify and deal with the issue early . It is also imperative for parents and caretakers to hve an empathetic attitude and refrain from finger pointing and punishing .Counseling for both teenager and caretaker is necessary to deal with the issues .
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