1. StressThey are stressed whether they look like it or not. But if others see they are stressed that means there is a problem. A problem means parents need to intervene and that means change and a lack of control. Listen a lot. Assume they are stressed and give them empathy and support. Giving your kid an ear and a hug is more powerful than your advice.
2. Going to Parties and Experimenting with Drugs and AlcoholYour child goes to parties or at least wants to. He or she needs to socialize and feel like they are part of the group. It’s not a revelation that there are drugs and alcohol at these parties. Teens are very different with their friends than they are with you. Kids you would never expect to be at the party, drink, or do drugs will surprise you. Assume the worst and talk to them about the risks.
3. Boyfriends/Girlfriends or Friends You Don’t LikeYes, a certain boy or girl may be bad for your daughter or son to date, but they want to find out for themselves without someone telling them. If you forbid it they will only figure out how to date them covertly. Instead, teach them what to look out for as they make their selection. If they do choose someone less than desirable then gently tell them your concerns, but never give ultimatums.
4. Grade ProblemsThey don’t want to disappoint you, in fact, they may have even cheated. They feel foolish and guilty enough without you knowing. Make your home a safe place for them to fail. Assume school is a struggle and share areas in your life where you have failed, how you felt, and what you did to rebound.
5. Having Sex or SextingWhile girls are initiating sex more and more, the pressure to have sex still comes mainly from guys. Girls live day-to-day with the reality of guys consistently asking them for nude photos.For guys, there is pressure to have sex to keep pace with the rest of their peers. Talk to your kids early if you can (as early as age 9).
6. How They Speak and Treat PeopleTeenagers are at a stage in their development where they are starting to understand that what they do has an impact on others. However, they are still egocentric. So they know the impact their actions have, but they don’t care yet. With that in mind, if you heard how teens speak among themselves and treat others when adults are not around then you would probably be horrified. They are vulgar and profane. They use people to get what they want and say things that cause tremendous pain. Be gracious and understanding, but talk to them about the impact their actions have on others and themselves.
7. Porn Use and Other Online ActivityPorn used to be more of a guy problem, but use among girls is rising and it’s dangerous.There’s also online bullying that they may be dealing with or doing. Keep track of your internet history. A friend of mine has his cable company send reports to him each month. This has helped him have some great conversations with his kids about where they are going on the internet.