Teens are in a developmental stage in which they are gaining an understanding of their independence, consequences and emotions. It is a difficult stage that can be much more complicated when combined with depression or anxiety. Many parents do not understand the difference between everyday behavior and a child who is depressed or anxious.
Developmentally teens value true friendships above all else. Friends become a priority and your teen begins to develop the ability to think about the world in an abstract sense. Teens can feel as if they want to fit in and belong. A problem can arise if a teen has negative influences, friendships, relationships or they have a strained relationship with a family member.
Teens may test the limits and push boundaries. Remember, they want to establish independence and do not yet know how. They also do not have a full understanding as to how consequences work and have difficulty understanding some behaviors have lifelong impacts. They can be more impulsive and make decisions based on a sporadic thoughts, without fully processing their choices.
The emotions of out teens are maturing and they are learning to process and understand their own emotions. They may experience occasional mood swings, be increasingly sensitive and want to keep their distance from parents. The poor ability to understand and cope with their newly discovered emotions may lead to risky behavior, such as: self harm, drug use, alcohol use and sexual activity.
Although some behavior that your teen may exhibit are pretty standard, it can also cause confusion of what is truly typical. If your teen is exhibiting increased irritability, loneliness, sadness, guilt, worry, fear, anger, poor decision making, poor emotional stability and has little coping skills for a period of at least TWO weeks, it is important that you talk about counseling with them. Teens are individuals and they do have to be in agreement that they deserve and want something better for themselves.