Any of these are warning signs or situations that your girl may need the kind of help that Springboard provides...
Every day here at Springboard we take calls from parents who aren’t quite sure whether their child is in crisis or just heading that direction quickly. Some parents overreact and send their teen away when good parenting and local counseling may be the best route. Others wait until the problem is so overwhelming that their teen is in full crisis mode, or worse, hanging on the edge of the cliff between life and death.
Getting help at the right time is important. So what are the signs that your teen is troubled? Well, what does a troubled teen look like as opposed to a normal teenager and the behaviors they have? After all, parenting teens can be challenging even in the best of situations.
Parents are usually the first to detect changes and problems in their teen, but they’re also the last ones to admit that there can be a problem. You know your teenager. Watch her carefully. Recognize when her behaviors are changing; what might be alarming; what might be just her trying to navigate some of the problems that being a teenager brings with it.
Teen years are full of changes, poor communication, changes in family relationships, and plenty of hormonal changes. The good news is: to some extent, this is normal. Behavior that’s not normal can only be detected by a parent who is really paying attention.
So, here are some questions that you really need to be asking yourself...
First, have her friends changed a lot recently? Do you know her friends’ names? How about her friends’ parents? When our kids were little we knew all of their friends and we knew the friends’ parents and we’d probably even been to their homes. But as our kids grow up we become less and less involved with who our kids are friends with and the families that they belong to.
Has your teen become more of a loner? It’s pretty normal for teenagers to all feel like they’re looking from the outside in, or that they don’t fit in. That’s pretty normal. But if you are seeing that your teen is suddenly isolating herself, is becoming more and more of a loner, doesn’t have any friends, and isn’t involved in any activities, that can be a sign of trouble.
Is she having ups and downs, more than a normal teen? Is she having trouble sleeping? Is she sleeping too much? Is she not sleeping at all? How about her school performance? Has it changed? Has she lost total interest in the subjects that she really used to enjoy? Or how about activities that she used to enjoy?
Is she overly concerned with her body image? Does she think she is too fat, too thin?
Is she complaining that she’s just not feeling well? Maybe she is just feeling listless or feeling tired or maybe she’s just not feeling like herself.
Are you seeing more and more defiance at home? Is she argumentative, or is she becoming defensive when you ask a simple question? Is she becoming violent?
Teens will normally feel a lot of these things. In some measure that’s OK. But you need to know when these behaviors are becoming increasingly problematic. For example, violence may not be normal for your teen, but perhaps you notice her suddenly becoming more and more defensive, more irritable, and more aggressive in her communication. That can be a sign that you may need to get some help.
Know the signs of drug use and alcohol use. In addition to some of the things above, look at her eyes. Are her pupils larger or smaller? Are her eyes red? Be observant. Are her styles unusual? Not according to your standards, but according to the standards of all of her peers. Does she stick out as not fitting in? Or, are her styles pretty much in keeping with what this generation wears, and how they have their hair and what color their hair is and how many piercings they have?
Keep communication open with your teen. Get to know her friends and you’ll see what could be a problem and what is just normal growth.
Finally, if you’re concerned, talk to her. If you think it’s time to get help, don’t hesitate. Get her the help that she needs. Many times, teens are waiting for you to catch them. They want to know that you’ll help them even when they are having problems. Yes, she may resist you at first, and yes, she may even say that she hates you and will never forgive you. But remember your job is first to parent her into adulthood. If you do this job well, no matter how much she may hate you in the moment, she’ll appreciate how much love it took to get her the help that she really needed.
Springboard Home is a program for both intervention and interruption of behaviors as well as prevention in the growth of problems.
If you have identified some of these issues with your teen, you as parents need to address them as soon as they arise. Although some issues can certainly be addressed through weekly local counseling, others may require that your daughter participates in a residential program. A residential program offers the opportunity for the entire family to receive the counseling they need to overcome issues, not just learn to live with them. The parents are given the opportunity to learn parenting skills while their daughter is given the opportunity to receive counseling, curriculum, and 24/7 care to restore her back to her family and begin the process of complete transformation.
Let us help your daughter with a short-term program set in a safe and loving environment that is lower in cost and has a higher success rate than most therapeutic boarding schools or rehabs. We have a limited number of placements available, so call us today!
"My dreams seemed to slip away as the pain grew inside of me, darkening my existence and filling me with mixed desires. I couldn't deal with all of the chaos so I became part of it. I arrived at Springboard and they told me that it was a Christian program. I yelled at them and told them that I would not believe their religion. Two weeks later, I gave my life to Jesus Christ and I will never regret it. God delivered my need for medication and after that, a new life in me broke free. I cannot contain how much joy and peace is in me now because of Jesus Christ. The one thing that really has changed the most in my life is the hope that the Lord brings."
-Susie, Former Resident
"I speak from more than 20 years of knowledge of the organization when I tell you, Teen Challenge works."Ronald Reagan
"Teen Challenge succeeds when all of the government programs failed." Charles Colson
"I've believed in this ministry since its very beginning...Thank God for Teen Challenge!" Rev. Billy Graham
"Teen Challenge is one of the most successful programs in our country." George W. Bush
Debra J. Stevenson serves as Center Director for the Springboard Home. Holding her M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and a B.A. in Counseling and Comparative Religion, Debra understands the importance of compassionate care combined with Biblical curriculum and counseling to help transform the heart for a lifetime. As a Licensed Minister, Debra has extensive ministry experience and is dedicated to ensuring that each student is given the greatest opportunity to discover who they are in Christ and embrace a new life, hope and future in Him.
Springboard Home for Youth in Crisis
A Ministry of Teen Challenge
PO Box 69966 · Tucson, AZ 85737