You raise your child, instill in them your values and morals, and watch them grow into an adolescent. When the teenage years seep in, changes in this young child you’ve grown to know well can be expected. However, there are times when changes in behavior, outlook, and attitude are so drastic and potentially damaging that you may feel you don’t know this person at all.
It is at times like this when parents must focus their attention and try to determine if the teen is in crisis. While something like residential treatment centers (RTC) or therapeutic boarding schools are often the last resort, there can be times when parental intervention and commitment to a good program are imperative to protect the teen and save their future.
Things That Can Lead to a Teen Crisis
All teens face different challenges and know how to cope with different situations, and the things each teen finds stressful enough to push them into crisis mode can vary. A teenager in crisis is in a situation of extreme difficulty, trouble, or even danger. Typically, a teen in crisis does not stem from a singular event; rather, a series of events or factors will lead to a catastrophic situation.
For some adolescents, a crisis can stem from factors like a life change like parents getting divorced, struggles with schoolwork or meeting expectations, or even physical changes. For others, a crisis can radiate from seemingly simple things, such as a friend moving away or not making it on a team.
On a deeper level, some kind of issue or condition could be internally driving crisis situations. Unfortunately, these issues oftentimes get overlooked by parents trying to determine what’s going on, such as:
· Psychological issues, such as anxiety or mood disorders
· Prior or current trauma, such as past abuse or current bullying
· Drug or alcohol use or abuse
7 Signs Is Time To Intervene
When you realize your teen’s behavior is deeper than just typical erraticness and adolescent angst, you’ll be questioning when it’s time to intervene. Certain telltale behaviors should be taken as direct signs it’s time to step in, make some immediate decisions, and consider if something like residential treatment centers or therapeutic boarding schools can help.
1. Social Isolation – Social isolation is never healthy behavior for a teen, and it can be a sign of an emotional crisis. Pay attention to things like too much time spent on electronics as well, especially if these behaviors prevent your teen from being with the family or their friends.
2. Promiscuous Behavior – More than half of teens are sexually active by the age of 18, but there is a difference between typical sexual exploration and promiscuity. Promiscuity is having sexual encounters with multiple partners or not being discriminant about sexual partners, which could lead to pregnancy, shame and guilt, and even sexually transmitted diseases.
3. Violent Outbursts or Abusive Behaviors – Violent outbursts are associated with a teen in crisis. Violence could be directed to peers (such as fighting at school), but it could also emerge at home with siblings or even you. Abusive behaviors on ay level are a sign that it is time for an intervention.
4. Ongoing Drug or Alcohol Use – Teens may experiment with drugs or alcohol out of curiosity, but any ongoing use or abuse must be addressed as it could be a sign of a bigger problem.
5. Disregard of Self Care and Hygiene – Extreme changes in eating or sleeping patterns, weight gain or weight loss, and lack of grooming are all things to pay attention to. Things like not showering, not changing clothes, and generally not caring about outward appearance, is not typical teen behavior, and this can be linked to severe depression.
6. Self-Harm or Suicide Talk – Romanticizing death or mentioning suicide must be taken seriously. Suicide is the leading cause of death for teens, and self-harm may be connected to suicidal tendencies.
7. Changes in Grades or Commitment to School – Commitment to school is a big deal as it paves the way to future goals. Falling grades, cutting classes, and generally not caring about succeeding can be a sign of crisis.
How Therapeutic Boarding or a Residential Treatment Center Helps a Teen in Crisis
Something like a residential treatment center (RTC) or therapeutic boarding school can be one of the best decisions you ever make as a parent for a teen in crisis. These programs offer intense therapy, ongoing counseling, and programs designed to empower a troubled teen so they can get away from destructive outlooks and behaviors. These programs can be the lifeline for a teen that is headed in the wrong direction in life. To find out more about residential treatment programs for teens, reach out to us at Zion Educational Systems for advice.