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Troubled Youth - Common Problems and Ways to Help

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Growing up can be difficult, and as much as preteens go through while transitioning to the teenage years, it's no wonder many of them find themselves in the middle of some troubling challenges. Parents, teachers, and other adults can help troubled youth by being supportive, and by setting fair limits. Below are a few ways preteens can stumble into trouble, as well as some solutions to help them when they fall.

1. Risk Taking and the Tween Years

Schoolgirl being bullied in school corridor
Phil Boorman/Cultura/Getty Images

There are many ways in which troubled youth express themselves. For some it's through risk taking. Actually, it's not just troubled youth who take chances. Risk taking is common among tweens and teens, partly because they truly do believe they are invinceable. Risks taking can include binge drinking, having sex, and taking chances with their own safety. 

2. Troubled Youth and Substance Abuse

Many parents believe that the risks of smoking, underage drinking, and drugs are reserved for teenagers. Unfortunately, many preteens engage in underage drinking, smoking, or other abusive dangers, such as inhalants. Knowing the signs that your child is using alcohol, or drugs can help you combat the problem earlier rather than later.

3. Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety can strike children as well as adults, and in both cases it can be a difficult and challenging obstacle. Children who are depressed will often pull away from friends, have trouble sleeping, or they may change their eating habits, among other possible symptoms. If you suspect your child may be suffering from depression or anxiety, it would be wise to contact your child's doctor for an evaluation.

In addition, research has shown that physical activity can help with depression and anxiety symptoms - so schedule a little physical activity every day.

4. Obesity and Youth

For obese children, life can be tough and troubled. Youth with serious weight problems often face social problems and may have trouble fitting in. In addition, they have higher rates of depression and behavior problems. If your child is overweight, be aware of his or her self-esteem, and offer assistance in helping your child overcome the weight issues as well as the other issues that may come with it.

5. Troubled Kids and Self-Esteem Issues

For many troubled youth, self-esteem can be a problem. There are numerous ways to help your child build a healthy self-esteem. Be positive, and give them opportunities to both succeed and fail. And be sure you point out that you do not expect perfection from your child -- you just want him to try.

6. Kids, Trouble and Free Time

Kids can find their way to trouble in any number of ways. But when children have plenty of unsupervised free time, they can easily find ways to stumble into problems. Your child should know that you keep track of him, and that certain behaviors are off limits, no matter what. 

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