Intervention for Struggling Teens

Interventions for teens is a way to show that you care for them and you won't stand by while they hurt themselves. To get through high school, teens need to be consistently watched by their parents to ensure any problems are remedied before they get out of control. This is where teen intervention by parents comes into play.

Observing your teen’s behavior daily is important for detecting problems. Things to look for are: changes in sleeping habits; joining a new group of friends you don’t approve of; failure or refusal to help out or spend time with the family; a recent and significant drop in school work, attendance, or grades; and deception, lying, or keeping their activities a secret. If you neglect to watch your teen, these changes can go unnoticed and turn into bigger problems.

There are more critical signs to be aware of as well. If you notice your teen doing any of the following it’s time to take immediate action: neglecting his/her personal hygiene; possessing drugs, drug paraphernalia, or weapons; abrupt changes in attitude, personality, or emotional stability; reckless, destructive, or threatening behavior; or becoming violent, expressing intentions of self-harm, or threatening suicide.

Parents of a trouble teen tend to try to solve the problem themselves. They may consider books on teen help or self help, but understanding the content and carrying out the actions as directed can be a daunting task. Talk shows convey a high level of emotional power and inspire parents to act on their advice, but still are too generalized or simplified not addressing all issues. Lacking professional expertise, parents get confused, frustrated, deal with their child harshly, or if one parent disagrees with the other, they argue or fight. If both parents oppose each other, the teen forms his own opinions and loses trust in them.

If the parents aren’t successful they’ll consider counseling sessions for him/her. These sessions usually are 50 minutes a week for 6 to 8 weeks. Therapists are not always successful since they aim to relieve the symptoms rather than addressing and fixing the underlying cause. Insurance companies may decide not to cover session incurred expenses since therapists are not researched and the sessions may have a harmful, lasting effect on the teen. After 2 or 3 visits to a therapist, teens can form their own beliefs that the therapy isn’t helping and protest not to go back. One-on-one therapy may also be ineffective since not all family members are interviewed or involved.

Spending time with your teenager in their environment rather than in yours will be more effective. Emphasize with them and let them know that you’re aware of how they feel. Encourage them to open up and allow give you their personal feedback. Ask them what’s bothering them and get their feedback. Remember, if they feel they’re being neglected, they’re likely to seek support and comfort from other teens who feel the same way they do. They’re also prone to abandon the professional care and advice they received and go back to their old habits or even engage in more harmful activities with their peers.