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    Does My Teenager Need Counseling? Do I See the Warning Signs?

    Last weekend my son and I rode our bikes through the neighborhood park and noticed a group of young teens gathered in the grass. As we got closer, we couldn’t help but notice a large cloud of smoke above them. After riding by, I looked at my 8 year old son who had a look of surprise and curiosity on his face. At that moment, I couldn’t help but wonder as his parent if I would know the warning signs myself if my own son went down the wrong road. I questioned if these kids’ parents had the slightest idea. 

    Not only does vaping raise your blood pressure and spike your adrenaline, it also increases the likelihood of having a heart attack. It has recently flooded our news outlets that kids are dying from vaping everyday. In addition, there are many unclear side effects and long term outcomes that the chemicals in vaping have. As a parent it concerns me greatly. If teens vaping is flying by our radar what will be next? Are we as parents missing vital warning signs?
    Teens can be difficult to read, not only are hormonal imbalances heavily affecting their emotions, but social pressures and school responsibilities are impacting their behaviors and stress levels as well. It can be hard to tell if your teen is working through an issue in a healthy way or if they might need help from an expert. Even though some days your teenager may seem like a moody, scary, over-exaggerated creature, they are still your child and you know them best.

    Here are a few key signs to indicate that your child may be vaping or using illegal substances and that it might be time to seek professional advice:

    Drastic changes in attitude and behavior
    This can be directed towards home, school or community activities. 
    Is your teen exhibiting more stress than usual, being moody and miserable at home?

    Are they getting into trouble or avoiding school? 
    Are they no longer spending time with friends and becoming disengaged from activities of interest?

    Disproportionate anger or rage
    Is your teenager more irritable and quicker to anger than before?
    Is anger preventing them from functioning and affecting their overall life?
    Have outbursts occurred or is their anger extreme compared to the situation?

    Excessively overwhelmed 
    Is worry holding your teenager back or have they stopped participating out of fear?
    Are they overwhelmed to the point of becoming fatigue?
    Is constant worry affecting their mood and outlook?

    Dramatic changes in sleep habits
    Are they always tired or choosing to sleep in the middle of the day?
    Is your teen sleeping much more, or even much less?
    Are they sleeping instead of doing something fun and spending more time in bed?

    Exhibiting self-destructive behaviors
    Has your teen started to use or abuse a substance?
    Have they damaged their belongings?
    Are they physically harming themselves or others?
    Have they spoken about death or expressed hopelessness?

    If your teenager is having a difficult time coping with emotional issues, is displaying developmental problems or acting out in ways that are beyond what’s considered normal, your child would likely benefit from counseling. Being a teenager isn’t easy, but overcoming these obstacles with therapy is possible.

    At Pathways Counseling Services, our therapists are trained in helping teens overcome difficulties with unhealthy coping skills, depression, anxiety, anger, bullying, self-esteem issues, eating disorders, identity discovery, violence and abuse, grief and much more. We work hand in hand with parents to help your teenager utilize the tools they are learning in therapy.

    We invite you to explore our child and teens counseling page where you can learn more about the services we offer and the benefits of counseling in your child’s life. Feel free to schedule an appointment online or reach us at 480-235-1682 to speak with our team today.