From the Directors Desk

“The Importance of Knowing What is Troubling Your Teen”

Most of us realize as our children enter their teens, our role as parents changes, and in some cases drastically. This point was driven home to me recently, when I saw the media reports that two teenagers in August were arrested by Pasadena Police for planning an attack using high powered weapons at their high school. Based on a report from school sources, police begin an undercover investigation as to what was being planned. The bottom line was that these two teenage boys, both apparently seniors had been developing an “elaborate plan ” to launch an armed attack against students and others at their high schoWe might think that we could never have something like this being planned by our teens in our home without our knowing something was up. Well is that really true? This past April marked the 15th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado. This still stands (I believe) as the worst incident of mass killings on a high school campus in U.S. history. The two teenage boys involved in this incident had done extensive research on use of weapons and the construction of explosive devices they were planning on using. Many students and faculty loss their lives that day.

Fortunately, the incident in Pasadena was discovered before a tragedy occurred, but how did this plan get as far as it did?

My point is not to place blame somewhere, but to point out that this type of behavior can happen anywhere, in homes next door to us, down the street, or even in our own homes.

We have thousands of angry and depressed teens in this country, (we see many each month in our classes) whose attitude and behavior is often explained by the people that know them best (whether that be teachers, neighbors, parents and friends) as “they’re just moody “, or “you know how teenagers can be”, “It’s their hormones, don’t you remember? “.

The real question should be what’s really going on here? We have nothing to lose but a whole lot to gain if we have a teen that’s been extremely angry for some time (with no apparent reason), or extremely depressed by trying to find out “what’s really going on “.

For many teens today, making it through adolescents is like maneuvering a mine field and one wrong step can be catastrophic. We as adults owe it to our teens to “find out “what’s going on.

If there’s a teen in your life who appears to be struggling with some issue, and their behavior has changed significantly for some time with no change or is getting worse, don’t hesitate to talk to them, if that doesn’t work talk to their teachers, your family doctor, your minister or call a program that specializes in working with troubled teens. The worst thing we can do is ignore the possibility there might be a serious problem developing.

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Each month we will cover an issue currently being addressed in the media or other relevant topics as: teen pregnancy, truancy, high school drop-outs, teens and guns and many more.

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