Teen Angst or an Early Warning - Know the Difference

A lot of what a teenager does gets chalked up to teen angst. We all know that your teens are a trying time and that not all kids are going to be popular or enjoy their teen years as much as others. And that’s okay, right? Well, unfortunately it’s not always okay and for some teens, the pain and angst of being a teen is more than just growing pains or a longing to be popular—it’s a silent cry for help.

It has been shown that many of the teens involved in school violence showed signs that could have been early indicators that something was terribly wrong. Unfortunately these early indicators are often easily mistaken for things that some teens “just do”. For instance, a teen who is withdrawn, defiant and brooding is usually just labeled as being difficult or referred to as “just being a teenager” when these are also common signs exhibited by teens who go on to commit violent crimes or suicide. The teens who stay in and play unusual or violent video games and seem to be fascinated by war and guns and violence are often referred to as loners or geeks. They are usually not very popular with the other students and seem happy flying below the radar at school. But again, these traits are often linked to teens who have committed violent crimes in schools as a way to get revenge on those who didn’t accept them as they were or ridiculed them for not being popular.

One of the best things that you can do for a teen who seems to be exhibiting some warning signs is to talk to them and offer to listen to them. The more you can get to know the teen, the more likely that you will be able to determine whether or not you’re dealing with a teen who is simply suffering the growing pains associated with this trying time or a teen who is on the verge of despair and likely to do something dangerous. Having someone to talk to may just make all of the difference in the world to your child who may be feeling at the end of their rope. If the teen has been exposed to domestic violence during their upbringing or has expressed anger about their home or school life, or even talked about suicide or harming themselves, then you need to be especially diligent about spotting the warning signs before it’s too late.