Resources for parents of at-risk and troubled teens.



January 2014

Who is At-Risk?

by Staff

Many social critics argue that today’s youth face more serious and critical risks than any previous generation. Parents are convinced that their children face a major crisis. Most experts will agree that violence in schools, deteriorating family structure, substance abuse, alarming media images, and gang activity put teens at risk.

Teenagers who have trouble coping with the stresses of life are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, engage in criminal activity, are sexually promiscuous, and attempt suicide. Many of these at-risk teens run away and eventually find themselves locked up in detention centers or living on the streets (Teens at Risk, 12).

If a teen is experiencing more than four of the following warning signs, they could be at risk.

  1. Has the teen ever been suspended, expelled, been truant, or had their grades drop?

  2. Is the teen verbally abusive?

  3. Does the teen struggle with basic family rules and expectations?

  4. Does the parent have difficulty getting the teen to do basic household chores and homework?

  5. Has the teen had problems with the law?

  6. Does the parent have to pick their words carefully when speaking to the teen, so as not to elicit a verbal attack or even rage from them?

  7. Is the teen in danger of dropping out of high school?

  8. Does the teen associate with a suspect peer group?

  9. Has the teen lost interest in former productive activities, sports, hobbies, or childhood friends?

  10. Has the teen ever displayed any evidence of suicide?

  11. Does the teen seem depressed / withdrawn?

  12. Does the teen ever display violent behavior?

  13. Is the teen sexually promiscuous?

  14. Has the teen’s appearance or personal hygiene changed?

  15. Is the teen deceitful and manipulative?

  16. Has the teen been caught stealing money or personal items from their family?

  17. Is the teen severely lacking in motivation?

  18. Does the teen sometimes lie regarding their activities?

  19. Does the teen display outbursts of temper?

  20. Does the teen lack self-worth and self-esteem?

  21. Does the teen defy established rules regardless of the consequences?

  22. When trying to deal with the teen, do the parents feel powerless?

  23. Does the teen have a problem with authority?

  24. Do the parents suspect the teen is experimenting with drugs or alcohol? Staff