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Abby Penson, Phd Adolescent Behavior Image


To schedule an appointment or for more information, please contact
Dr. Penson at 323-580-3383 or by email
Adolescent Behavior
Other Issues >> Adolescent Behavior Problems

At the onset of adolescence many kids exhibit a dramatic change in behavior around their parents. They begin to separate from Mom and Dad and to become more independent. At the same time, kids this age are increasingly aware of how others, especially their peers, see them and are desperately trying to fit in.

Kids often start "trying on" different looks and identities, and they become acutely aware of how they differ from their peers, which can result in episodes of distress and conflict with parents.

A certain amount of change may be normal during the teen years, but too drastic or long-lasting a switch in personality or behavior may signal real trouble — the kind that needs professional help.

Watch for one or more of these warning signs:
  • extreme weight gain or loss
  • sleep problems
  • rapid, drastic changes in personality
  • sudden change in friends
  • skipping school continually
  • falling grades
  • talk or even jokes about suicide
  • signs of tobacco, alcohol, or drug use
  • run-ins with the law
Any other inappropriate behavior that lasts for more than 6 weeks can be a sign of underlying trouble, too. You may expect a glitch or two in your teen's behavior or grades during this time, but your A/B student shouldn't suddenly be failing, and your normally outgoing kid shouldn't suddenly become constantly withdrawn.

Parents should seek assistance if they see their child's behavior becoming increasingly more challenging and negative. If a child repeatedly defies or breaks rules, parents may feel they have little control over their child's behavior and become increasingly concerned for their child's welfare. Some adolescent behaviors that indicate problems are failure to respond to consequences for negative behaviors, experimentation with substances, engaging in sexual activity, poor school performance, running away, and aggression.

It is sometimes difficult for parents to tell the difference between normal adolescent behavior and that which may be a warning sign of something more serious. If you are concerned about your adolescent or unsure if what he or she is experiencing may be serious or related to an underlying cause, please contact Dr. Penson for assistance @ 323-580-3383.

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