Teen Intervention: Five Warning Signs Your Teen Needs Help

Parents often reassure themselves that their pre-adolescent or adolescent is doing fine as long as the child is not involved in dangerous behavior (alcohol use, drug use, sexual acting out) and is making good grades. In fact, the warning signs of impending trouble are actually closer to home than the more extreme behaviors just mentioned.

It is important for parents to focus on the relationship they have with their child rather than whether or not they are currently making poor choices. The parent/child relationship is the foundation for being able to navigate through the difficult adolescent years and the challenges they bring. A 12- or 13-year-old who already defies parental authority and treats parents with disrespect is setting the stage for becoming an uncontrollable 15- or 16-year-old and doing whatever pleases them.

It is important for parents to focus on the relationship they have with their child rather than whether or not they are currently making poor choices.

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It is normal for a pre-adolescent or adolescent child to push away from parents and want to assert their own authority. That is part of establishing their own identity and is developmentally appropriate. But, where do parents draw the line between developmentally appropriate behavior and inappropriate acting out?

Here are five warning signs that indicate the need for a teen intervention:

  1. Has your child become increasingly disrespectful toward you to the point of screaming at you and calling you names?
  2. Does your child consistently disregard your rules and do as they please in the home or outside the home?
  3. Does your child believe he/she is the center of your family and demonstrate blatant disregard for the feelings of family members, their time or their possessions?
  4. Does your child escalate when they do not get their way to the point that you must give in just to be able to manage the situation safely?
  5. Do you suspect, after listening to friends and relatives talk about their children, that your child’s emotional acting out in the home exceeds what other parents experience? Do your child’s friends or your friends comment to them or you about how poorly they treat you?
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If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be time to talk to a counselor about how to improve the relationship with your child. If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, you may need a more intensive intervention than counseling. Your child currently may not be making poor choices that are obvious to you, but when they do, you will have difficulty intervening because your authority has already been undermined through their continual disrespect of you and disregard for your rules.

There is nothing more frightening than watching your child spin out of control and feeling hopeless to stop that process.

At RedCliff Ascent, our priority is restoring the parent/child relationship into one of mutual respect, yet with clear lines of parental authority. Once they are at RedCliff Ascent, your teen can gain a new perspective on their behavior toward you through the stories of other students and the expectations of the staff. They will be able to learn how destructive their behavior was, not just in damaging the parent/child relationship, but also in pushing themselves head-long into choices and decisions they are ill-equipped to make. Students gain a clear understanding of how the adults in their life, including parents, are there to support them and help make decisions for and with them as they learn and grow.

If you are already experiencing many of the problems alluded to in the above questions, don’t wait for your child to start making poor choices before you act. You can change the course of your family’s future by acting now – before your child is spiraling out of control. Call RedCliff Ascent today and our friendly, caring staff will help you navigate this difficult time

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About RedCliff Ascent Wilderness Therapy Program

RedCliff Ascent offers safe, effective, and clinically-sophisticated options to treat troubled young adults and teenagers.

RedCliff Ascent’s Wilderness Adventure Therapy program was uniquely crafted to assist students and their families in creating lasting, life-long emotional changes through compassionate, intentional, research-backed, and safe outdoor adventure therapy programs. The professionals at RedCliff Ascent understand individuals don’t come with instructions, and every student is unique, capable, and amazing in their own right.

RedCliff Ascent focuses on helping at-risk youth and young adults and their families through difficulties that occur when various behavioral, cognitive, or developmental issues are present. Research shows that engaging individuals on a personal level with strategic and intentional activities will aid in developing the tools and skills necessary to engage life in a healthy and positive way.

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… RedCliff was a real turning point for John. If we had sent John to a more traditional treatment program, we would not have had these results…


… Even though sending her to RedCliff was a gut-wrenching decision, we know we did the right thing. We are thankful for the help and insight you gave to her and us…

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