Normal vs Troubled Behaviour


So how do you know if you teen is just like other teens that are on the rollercoaster which just has a few dives and loops or that your teenager has bought tickets on the rollercoaster which has many loop the loops, dive drops and gravity defying turns and rolls.

Some of the differences in behaviour are:

Mood swings

Typical teen

Teenagers will be going through the rollercoaster ride of hormones and changes that is typical for all. Parents will need to deal with mood swings,   emotional outbursts, irritable behaviour and power struggles.

Troubled teen

If you notice your teen has experience a rapid change in their behaviour or personality, accompanied by anxiety, sleeping problems, falling grades or school truancy this could indicate a health issues such as depression or anxiety, or they are experiencing bullying.

Changing appearance

Typical teen

Following fashion is normal and important for teens. To parents the fashion maybe challenge what you deem appropriate as it may be provocative or attention seeking. Your teen may also want to change the colour of their hair. This is normal, your teen is trying to fit into the crowd. This isn’t worth stressing over, sweat on the bigger issues.

Troubled teen

For a troubled teen that will just not change their appearance there can be signs of self-harm, extreme changes in weight or problems with your teen at school.

Your influence wanes

Typical teen

Friends will become a great influence on your teen’s choices and are extremely important in their life. You may experience hurt and depressed as your teen pulls away from you but remember they still love you and need you.

Troubled teen

Your teen may suddenly start to spend their time alone, change who their friends are, not comply with any of the rules you have set, or commence lying to cover these behaviours.

Disobedience and increased arguments

Typical teen

Unfortunately this is a normal part of growing a health and strong adult, you will argue with your teen frequency as they build the resilience and strength to grow into adulthood.

Troubled teen

Episodes of violence or assaults at home, contact with the police, escalation of arguments, truancy, fighting with peers, are signs this is not normal teenager behaviours.

Alcohol and Drugs

Typical teen

During their teen years most will experiment with alcohol and may even try smoking. Some will even try drugs, so it’s time to talk to your teen about the facts of these behaviours and set the boundaries around acceptable behaviours.  

Troubled teen

If your teen is habitually partaking in drinking alcohol or taking drugs which is affecting not just home life but school life as well. This could indicate substance abuse or other mental health issues.

If your teen is showing signs of being a troubled teen is does not mean that must continue on that track. Please try talking to your teen, when all parties are calm, speak to the school counsellor about the signs and symptoms you are experiencing so that can help your teen, talk to other health professionals and of course you can talk to other parents on our forum who have been there or are currently there and understanding the ride you are on.