Youth go through many stages in their adolescence, and, as a parent, it's often hard to know what to take seriously. Addressing issues early is the best way to avoid future problems, but how do you identify your youth's issues? How does a parent help prevent suicide, depression, alcohol/drug use, sexual promiscuity, running away - and many other situations youth face today - how do you know what to look for? Here are some of the signs to pay attention to:
  • Unhappiness, depression
  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, helplessness and apathy
  • Isolated behavior, secretiveness
  • Withdrawing from family
  • Drop in school performance, excessive absences, truancy, discipline problems
  • Loss of interest in activities that formerly were sources of enjoyment
  • Loss of concentration
  • Personality changes, sudden mood changes or outbursts of temper
  • Starting arguments
  • Fatigue or lack of energy or motivation
  • Change in sleep or eating habits
  • Self-neglect
  • Preoccupation with sad thoughts or death
  • Increase in physical/health complaints
  • Red and glazed eyes
  • Lasting cough
  • Sudden outbursts of temper
  • Reckless, dangerous or irresponsible behavior, poor judgment
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Negative attitude
  • Accumulation of money and possessions
  • Giving away "valued" possessions
  • New friends who make poor decisions and are not interested in school or family activities
  • Reluctance to introduce new friends to parents
  • Problems with the law
  • Changes to less conventional styles in dress and music
The warning signs listed above can signal many different problems, some very serious. Parents may often recognize signs of trouble, but should not be expected to make a diagnosis or even know what to do. Most parents have "gut" feelings that tell them something's not right. Trust your instincts and call for help. Capital City Youth Services has counselors that can help you figure out the "next steps." For help and advice, contact us.

HOTLINES
National Runaway Switchboard 1.800.RUNAWAY (1.800.786.2929)
Child Abuse Hotline 1.800.96.ABUSE (1.800.962.2873)
Missing Children Information Clearinghouse 1.888.FLMISSING (1.888.356.4774)

HELPFUL LINKS
Florida Network of Youth and Family Services
211 Big Bend Resource Directory
Big Bend Homeless Coalition
National Safe Place
National Runaway Switchboard
Job Corps
Leon County Schools, GED program
Florida Office of Drug Control
Florida Resource Directory
United Partners For Human Services
Whole Child Leon