Saturday, January 31, 2009

Troubled Teen (1)

According to the National School Safety Center in Westlake Village, Calif., be concerned if your child (my comments are below each bold bullet):

* Has a history of tantrums or uncontrollable angry outbursts ---
While this might be "cute" when they're little, angry outbursts are usually signs of a serious underlying issue, including, but not necessarily limited to, depression, anger, emotional difficulty, possible addictions to a variety of items, poor relationships with peers and/or adults, etc.

When angry outbursts occur with some regularity, be quick to seek the source of anger through questioning your child, his/her Principal, teachers and other school officials, church workers, and others who are acquainted with your child.

If all else fails, get your child to a professional therapist as soon as possible, as unaddressed anger issues will continue to build and fester and then become major issues that will retard later development.

* Uses abusive language or calls people names ---
Similar to the above-referenced advice, abusive language, unless you tolerate, promote, and model such behavior, is often a call for help! My advice: Do not allow your child to engage in the use of abusive language for any purpose. Of course, parental modeling of proper language would be a big help.

However, if abusive language persists, since it is most likely a call for help, get immediate help from your support group up to and including professional help.

* Makes violent threats when angry ---
Have you ever been physically threatened by your child? I certainly hope not. However, from my years as a Principal and Teacher, I can tell you with certainty that it is not an isolated incident when a child threatens his/her parent. If your child threatens you, he/she might need to be removed from the home for a brief period or longer.

I am reminded of one particular parent who told me that she was never sure that she would awaken each morning, because she feared that her son was going to kill her while she was sleeping! He had threatened to kill her while she slept and so, instead of getting him the necessary help, she chose to sleep in fear each night.

No, no, and NO - do not tolerate this behavior. Your child (and perhaps others) needs immediate help. Do not wait for another second. Call your child's school, friends, church, etc. for professional references.

Be prepared on this one: If your child has escalated his/her intolerant behavior to the point of physically threatening one or both of the parents, the "cure" will not come soon. Rather, it might take years before the reasons for the behavior are discovered and properly weeded out!

As some have expressed in the past, I know that many of these stories can be disturbing. However, although there are multiple homes that function on a great level every single day, there are also several homes that have to deal with these issues on a continuing basis.

So, hang in there, love your kids, and use all of your resources to help them to properly be prepared to enter adulthood!!

(Please come back next week for Part 2)

Paul W. Reeves

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