What causes teenagers to make choices that could destroy their future, and why do they give in to peer pressure? Could your child be headed down a dangerous path? Heed the following warning signs:
Top Five Warning Signs that Your Child is in Trouble
If your once social child starts spending an inordinate amount of time away from home or locked in his or her room, Dr. Phil says this is a red flag. If your teen starts withdrawing from you or your spouse, there's a reason. As a parent, it's your responsibility to identify what's behind the change.
Is your child garrulous and friendly one moment, then taciturn and angry the next? Don't just chalk it up to growing pains. Dr. Phil says he or she may be hanging out with the wrong crowd, or experiencing changes — hormonally, neurologically or socially.
Teens often start experimenting with drugs and/or alcohol unbeknownst to their folks. If you suspect your child is using drugs, know the signs to look for.
"There clearly is a higher incidence with teens if they've had this history in their family," Dr. Phil says. "Maybe it's genetic; maybe it's not. Maybe it's just that the modeling is there."
Don't chalk your child's truancy, vandalism or petty theft up to "teens being teens."
"When your teen just seems to throw caution to the wind, not care about consequences — all around bad sign," Dr. Phil warns. "It indicates a number of things, one of which is that they don't have the ability to connect their choices with their consequences."