Red Flags for Teens
Certain feelings or observations lead you to worry about your child. In her book “Teens in Turmoil: A Path to Change for Parents, Adolescents, and Their Families” (Viking, 2000, $23.95). Carol Maxym lists some warning signs that raise a red flag.
If any one of these signs describes or suggests your child, don’t ignore it, she said, and immediately seek professional advice. Among the items on her list:
If your teen:
Suddenly changes friends, and you get a bad feeling about them, or your teen won’t let you meet them.
Loses all interest in school and his/her grades plummet.
Runs away frequently, sometimes for days at a time.
Significantly changes his or her sleeping and/or eating patterns.
Suddenly loses interest in everything.
Displays sudden bursts of violence or rage.
Changes his or her behavior toward the family pet or other animals.
Procures a weapon. Begins self-mutilation (cigarette burns, cuts, carving words or symbols on his or her body, self-tattoos, self-pierces), which he or she may attempt to hide with long-sleeved clothing, even in warm weather.
Engages in suicidal and or criminal ideation, talk or action.