Parenting wild teens can be a worrisome, stressful and challenging experience. Wild teens are not only free spirited, open minded, and risk taking, but all too often they don't realize the consequences of their own actions and end up in a world of trouble and misfortune.
Many wild teens face peer pressure as well as the underlying conflict of wanting to please their parents. When hanging with the wild cliques on the school campus, negative peer pressure is inevitable, and it causes many teens to take a walk on the wild side.
Study the Symptoms
If you are parenting wild teens or if you are a teen wondering if your outlook has become bleak, worrisome and/or spiraling out of control, it helps to know some of the symptoms associated with wild teens and their behavior.
Although wild teens cannot be categorized into one basic genre, there are several key characteristics and symptoms that may present themselves in a wild and carefree adolescent:
- Risk taking; desire to be extreme without boundaries
- Excessive partying
- Drinking or abusing drugs
- Promiscuous behavior
- Stealing, lying and cheating
- Driving vehicles or operating machinery in a risk-taking manner
- Missing school, failing grades and trouble on campus
- Hanging with an older crowd of a rebellious clique at school
- Smoking cigarettes
- Staying up late at night, sleeping in
- Arguing with family members, rebelling against household rules
Many of the same traits that mark a wild teen are present in a person who is experiencing depression.
The following symptoms are indicative of a depressed individual who needs counseling and treatment.
- Sadness, extensive crying and emotional distress
- Feelings of guilt and low confidence
- Negative outlook towards life
- Loss of interest in previous activities or hobbies such as sports, music, hanging with friends
- Desire to be left alone
- Easily irritated, with frequent loss of temper
- Lack of concentration, impaired decision-making abilities
- Changes in sleep patterns: sleeping more or experiencing difficulties sleeping at night
- Change in eating habits; lack of appetite or increased appetite
- Experiencing both restlessness and fatigue
- Thoughts of death, dying, or contemplating suicide
Wild Teens: Taking Control
Before your wild teen hits the open road as a teen hitchhiker it may be time for some good old fashioned intervention.
The first step in helping a troubled and wild teen should be family discussion. Share your concerns with your teen and offer advice about dealing with peer pressure and destructive situations. If family discussions don't do the trick and your teen continues their downward spiral, it may be necessary to seek professional counseling and treatment.
Girls Gone Wild
In addition to risky behavior such as drinking, drug abusing and school ditching, many parents end up facing promiscuous sexual behavior, especially when raising or parenting teenage girls.
If your teenager is dressing sexually or participating in sexual activity, it's time to have the talk.
Look for these signs of sexual activity:
- Wardrobe has become sexy and lingerie inspired
- Short shorts, tiny skirts, halter-tops
- Excessive makeup
- Staying out late, lying about whereabouts
- Frequent home or cellular phone calls from boys
- Boys in the home when parents or guardians aren't present
- Love notes
- Additional wild behaviors (see above)
Keep an open ear around town if you suspect your teenage girl is engaging in sexual behavior. Often, small town rumors have some truth to them. If you hear parents or other teens discussing your daughter's behavior in a sexual manner, take heed.
Teens end up in early pregnancy situations from taking part in sexual behaviors, along with risking transmission of an STD or date rape situation.
Speak with the school nurse about sexual behavior and be prepared to offer sexual protection advice and tips to prepare your teen, down the road, for safe sexual intercourse.
In addition to traditional counseling services, many parents enroll their teen in a behavioral boot camp or boarding school for treatment. The following websites offer assistance and referrals for adolescent behavioral problems.