English Composition II
June 16th, 2006
Teenage Survival Guide
It's not even 8 a.m. and you and your teenager are already in the middle of the day's first heated argument. This time the commotion is over his perceived right to hang his pants from his hips. Last night you squabbled about his curfew. Before the day is over, you'll probably bicker over something else. Desperate, you ask yourself, what happened to that sweet child I brought home 16 years ago? What happened to the little kid who thought the sun rose and set when I smiled? Why has his innocence been replaced with defiance?
Mental health experts agree that a certain amount of teenage defiance is normal. But how do you figure out if what your teenager is going through is ordinary rebellion or cause for concern? What are the most common danger signals that your child is headed for trouble? And if you can identify the signals in your youngster, what's a concerned parent to do?
Many parents are rightfully concerned when their children reach puberty and, virtually overnight, seem to change personalities. Teenagers feel a strong need to separate - emotionally, spiritually, philosophically and eventually physically - from their parents (Where's Your Head?: Psychology for Teenagers Carlson, Dale). That can be upsetting to parents. Unwilling, perhaps unable, to look to their families, many teenagers rely on their peers for the support they need.
Parents should become alarmed, however, if their child is seeking support from known troublemakers. If you think your child is running with the wrong crowd, confront him or her about it immediately. Do what parents need to do, ask who is this person you're dating, who are the people you’re hanging out with? Who are their parents? What kind of work do they do? I think we really have to get back to some of the basics.
Likewise, a parent should become concerned if a child starts receiving strange telephone calls from people...