Troubled Teenager Warning Signs

Compare Troubled Teen Signs with those of normal Teen Behavior

by Mark Gregston, Director, Heartlight Ministries

1. Your teen refuses to abide by anything you say or request, and his or her resulting behaviors put your teen or your family in danger or high risk leading to constant fear or stress in the home.

2. Your teen is displaying behavior that is a marked change from what has been normal (sleeping little or too long, forgetfulness, lack of motivation, aggression, depression, anxiety, grades slipping, hating what they once loved or loving what they once hated, always wanting to be with friends or away from home, or avoiding friends altogether and spending too much time alone).

3. Your teen has become increasingly disrespectful, dishonest, disobedient and openly displays rebellion, no longer veiling his or her feelings or caring about the consequences.

4. There is a blatant ignorance or profound rebellion toward the boundaries, belief System or rules of the home. This can be shown in passive aggressiveness or open defiance that is unusually excessive for your teen.

5. There are outright or veiled threats of suicide, or self-mutilation/cutting, excessive risk-taking, dangerous drug use or blatant sexual promiscuity�seemingly a loss of a conscience or moral compass.

6. Treatment by your teen of people, pets, or belongings is threatening or out of control.

7. Your teen thinks he or she is the center of your family and shows blatant disregard for the feelings of other family members, their time or their possessions.

8. Months of counseling is providing little or no positive progress for your teen.

9. Your teen refuses to do anything with the family and displays a growing hatred for the family.

10. You cannot keep your teen away from peers who are obviously leading a lifestyle counter to your beliefs and your teen is buying into their destructive behavior and attitudes.


If your teen exhibits 5 or more of these signs, you may want to contact us by phone: 903-668-2173 or online at: Heartlight Residential Teen Counseling Center

Contrast the above list with what would be considered more normal teenage behavior:

  • Cooperates with and cares for others
  • Thinks realistically about their need for family and other people
  • Suffers personal discomfort to accomplish positive life goals
  • Bases their actions and behavior on convictions and beliefs rather than feelings
  • Takes care of their own personal needs without imposing on others
  • Treats people, pets and things with respect
  • Has feelings of purpose and an excitement for the future
  • Maintains relationships even in difficult times
  • Defines who they are without giving in to what everyone else thinks they should be.

There is nothing worse than living with a teen spinning out of control

There is no worse feeling than the hopelessness parents experience in the process. It is difficult to know what to do and how to react when your teen daily reaches new lows in disobedience, dishonesty, and disrespect, and chooses every wrong thing.

Is your family experiencing the storms of a teenager out of control? Are you walking on pins and needles around your teen? Does it sometimes seem like he or she has suddenly been taken over by aliens (well, not literally)?

Every day we hear from dozens of frustrated parents who share how their once normal and happy child is now dangerously out of control- abusing drugs or alcohol, lying, stealing, cutting, or engaging in other destructive or disturbing behavior. They talk about how it has disrupted their home and how they fear for their child's future and very life. "My child is no longer who she used to be," is an often repeated cry from these parents.

Your teen needs you to intervene. The downward spiral can have tremendous destructive potential with lifelong consequences, or even bring a young life to a quick end. When teens spin out of control, they need a responsible adult to respond, not react, even if they do everything they can to keep you out of it. Don't wait and don't ignore the evidence that your teen is spinning out of control. Act today based on what you know is true - your faith, your own beliefs, and what you know is best for your teen.

Heartlight's therapeutic program can provide your teen with the help and mentoring he or she needs, as well as defined boundaries and a continued education. It will give time for the whole family to heal. Heartlight also provides the parents and family with seminars and weekend retreats, so it becomes a family effort to achieve success, not just the burden of your teen. And the Heartlight staff help parents learn what to expect from their teen as they move through the program, which sets minds and hearts at ease. Everyone can then look past heated emotions to focus on healing.

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