Meals on Wheels NWA
Teen Drug Advocacy
Self Harm Awareness: Signs That Your Teen May Have A Problem
As the parent of a teen, it can be hard to know when your child is struggling. Drugs and self harm issues run rampant in the middle and high school ages, and it's important to be aware of signs that your child is going through something and may need your help. Teen drug advocacy and teen self harm advocacy groups recommend that you look for the following signs that your teen may need you to reach out to them with a listening ear, an open heart, and an offer of professional help.
Withdrawal from normal activities. One of the signs that your teen may be dealing with depression, anxiety, or another mental health issue and may be self-medicating with drugs or self harm is withdrawal from activities that they used to enjoy. If you notice that your once lively teen no longer wants to hang out with their friends, or if your once athletic teen has decided they don't want to play sports anymore, it's worth having a chat about whether something deeper could be going on. It's important to note that if your teen is normally introverted and shy, this doesn't mean that there's a problem - you want to keep an eye out for a stark change from their usual behavior.
Change in peer group. If you notice that your child is suddenly dropping their old friends and hanging with a new crowd, take notice, and don't be afraid to ask questions. While a new social group isn't necessarily a sign of a problem, it can be an indicator that there's something that's not quite right with your teen. Get to know their new friends - offer to have them over for a pizza and movie night, or invite one of your child's new friends along when your family goes out for dinner.
Change in clothing. Teen drug advocacy and teen self harm advocacy groups recommend keeping an eye out for a change in your teen's usual dress. Often, teens who self harm do so in areas that are normally covered by clothing, so keep an eye out if your teen doesn't want to wear a bathing suit or a tank top as the summer comes around. Teens who use drugs may experience significant weight loss, and may suddenly begin to dress in baggy clothes in order to hide their physique. If you're concerned about a change in your teen's clothing, talk with them about why they've decided to change their style, and pay attention to their explanation and body language during your conversation.
Decline in school performance. If your once high performing teen suddenly starts to slip in their academics, it's a sign that something may be wrong. A decline in performance doesn't necessarily mean that alcohol, drugs, or self harm are at play, but it could mean that your teen is struggling with a mental health issue and needs help before things take a turn for the worse. If you notice that your teen's grades are slipping, talk to them about what's going on.
Drug and self harm awareness are important for parents, and the more that you know, the more you're able to keep an eye out for indicators that something is wrong. Talking with your teen is the best way to keep drug and self harm awareness at the forefront of your mind as a parent. Let your teen know that you're always there to offer a nonjudgmental ear.