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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Worried About A Teen?

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If you are worried about your teen, here are some problem areas (from TeenScreen.org) to think about and mention to your teens primary care physician (PCP). Your doctor can help - talk with them.

Depression or Anxiety (Internalizing problems)
Feels sad or unhappy
Worries a lot
Feels hopeless
Seems to be having less fun
Down on him- or herself

ADHD (Attention problems)
Fidgety, unable to sit still
Distracts easily
Acts as if driven by motor
Daydreams too much
Has trouble concentrating

Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (Externalizing Problems)
Fights with others
Teases others
Does not listen to rules
Refuses to share
Does not understand other people's feelings
Blames others for troubles
Takes things

Suicidal Thinking or Behavior
Has thought of killing him- or herself
Has tried to kill him- or herself

Other important things to mention:
Complains of aches or pains
Spends more time alone
Tires easily, little energy
Has trouble with teacher
Less interested in school
Afraid of new situations
Are irritable, angry
Less interested in friends
Absent from school
Grades are dropping
Does not show feelings
Has trouble sleeping
Wants to be with parent more than before
Feels they are "bad"
Takes unnecessary risks
Gets hurt frequently
Acts younger than age

Teens can be hard to interpret and their behavior may change from day-to-day, but if a concerning pattern of behavior emerges and stays for more than two weeks, it is time to talk with someone - do not let things go too far! Teens need parents to stay connected and guide them through adolescence - there is just so much going on! Do not be afraid to bring things up - it shows you are paying attention, even if you are annoying!

Photo credit: stuartpilbrow

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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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