Difficult Teenage Boys and Girls

The teenage years are often ones filled with conflicts and testing as teens go from being children toward that of being an adult that must make decisions on their own and be responsible for their behavior in life without the constant guidance and monitoring of their parents. While struggles between the teen and parents are common, there are often issues that go beyond the typical struggles. A teen alcohol rehab program can help them. These can include things such as:

  • Defiance and authority issues
  • Legal problems
  • Problems with school performance
  • Anger management
  • Peer groups that influence poor decisions
  • Mental health issues, such as depression, alcohol or substance abuse, anxiety disorders, etc.

While each teen is different and unique in behaviors that present and cause problems, there are some “symptoms” that are typically seen more in boys or in girls, and it can be helpful for parents to be aware of these as they interact with and try to shape their teenager.

Difficult Teenage Boys

Boys will often tend to act out in physical ways or have more obvious attitude changes than girls. The problem behaviors of boys can include:

  • Physical behaviors – boys that are having issues will often get into more physical fights with peers or siblings. They can begin to experience more violent outbursts and even get involved in the destruction or stealing of property belonging to family, peers or even strangers or other behaviors that are against the law. This is the stereotypical out of control boy that is all about hurting others in some way and that will resist any type of authority figure or control.
  • Anger and attitude issues – along with physically violent behavior, boys will often experience attitude changes that involve displays of anger or violent outbursts that seem to come out of nowhere at times. The teen can become belligerent, defiant and surly toward parents, siblings, teachers or other adults in their lives, particularly those in an authority role.
  • Substance abuse – boys that are having trouble will often turn to alcohol or drugs in order to cope. This can fuel the physical and anger issues or those behaviors can be a result of the substance abuse, depending on which symptom comes first. Those involved with substance abuse can also become withdrawn or quiet at times as well.

Difficult Teenage Girls

  • Attitude issues– while girls will be defiant and angry as well, they also typically tend to become withdrawn, moody or depressed more often then boys. They often spend a great deal of time in their room or talking on the phone with friends to the exclusion of any interaction or time with families. They may display secretive behavior and not want to talk with parents about anything that is going on in their lives.
  • Dating behaviors – girls will often tend to act out in sexual or promiscuous ways. This may include choosing boys that parents disapprove off or going further sexually than parents want them to, sneaking out, lying about where they are going and with whom, missing curfew, having cover stories with friends, etc.
  • Changes in physical appearance – girls that are experiencing problems may show it in changes to their physical appearance, including style of dress, amount or type of make-up used, or jewelry worn.
  • Low self-esteem – teenage girls often have a low self-esteem as they compare themselves to peers or images in the media and find themselves lacking in some way. This can also lead to mental health issues, such as depression or eating disorders that stem from this low self-esteem.

Again, these are somewhat stereotypical categories and either a girl or boy can experience any of the above, but we have shown them in ways that often manifest in a teen girl or boy’s behavior. There are also some behaviors that occur more equally between the sexes and that can signal a problem, such as grades in school dropping suddenly or the teen losing interest in their usual activities.

The important thing for parents is to know their teen’s typical behavior and be able to recognize changes in that behavior or attitude/behavioral changes that seem to go beyond reasonable for the struggles and situations that the teen and family may be experiencing.

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