The teenage years can be a confusing time full of ups and downs. The challenges this age group faces, including performing well in school and extracurricular activities, making friends, peer pressure, and trying to navigate the world as a somewhat independent individual (who still needs their parents) can lead to behavior issues.
While it is common for teens to experience some emotional and behavioral changes due to puberty, in some cases there's more to it. Social issues, behavioral issues, and struggling in school may also be signs of a developmental issue that needs to be addressed by a professional.
According to a study done by the University at Buffalo, "Changes in social behavior during adolescence appear to be independent of pubertal hormones. They are not triggered by puberty, so we can't blame the hormones."
So what is happening?
Adolescence and puberty are happening at the same time. The former is a "critical period of development for individuals" that includes social, emotional, and cognitive changes, according to the study, while puberty is a "process by which individuals develop the ability to reproduce." Adolescence is also a time when mental illness and other issues tend to arise.
With so much going on with your teenager, how can you tell if it's the hormones or something else that is causing behavioral changes?
Here's a list of normal teen behavior vs behavior that should cause concern:
Normal Teenage Behavior
- Teenagers want to spend more time with friends than parents.
- They need more sleep and like to sleep in.
- Anxiety or sadness over a disagreements with friends or a breakup.
- Some risk taking with sex and drugs.
- Wanting to fit in.
- Concerned about physical appearance.
Teenage Behavior that Should Cause Concern
- Refuses to go to school.
- Severe changes in sleeping pattern and/or appetite.
- Not being able to overcome experiences of anxiety or sadness.
- Self harm like cutting.
- Complete disregard for house rules.
- Serious risky behavior concerning sex, drugs, and/or alcohol.
- Eating disorder.
Your teenager may seem like they've morphed into another species. One that went from being happy and cute to this foreboding presence of jumbled hormones and independent spirit.
However, if your teenager is experiencing any issues that leave you concerned for their health, safety, and success in school and life, seeking professional help will get to the core of the issue and help your child overcome their struggles.
At Brain Balance, we focus on the root cause of many struggles - immature connectivity in the brain impacting your child’s ability to focus and function. The good news is that the brain can change at any age! Connections in the brain can be strengthened. For over a decade, we have helped over 30,000 young people get back on track! To learn more about how our whole-child approach may help your child, contact us online or find a center near you. You can also view the research and results of the program on the website.