Identifying Problem Behavior

When faced with raising an adolescent boy, it is likely that you have questioned your sanity as well as your son's normality. Trying to figure out what is normal and what isn't can be a difficult task for any parent. For the parents of teens it is even more difficult.

Normal Behavior of Teens

The teen years are hard on your son. He is experiencing great changes in his body as well as his mind and emotions. This is a time of turmoil for him, and it makes him more volatile in general.


Sometimes you may find yourself constantly looking out for problems or negative behavior, but your son needs to know when he is doing something right. Find some easy ways to tell him when he's doing a good job, and reward him with something that shows you care.

Your son's job is to assert his independence to define himself. This is usually shown as defiance. He may also show himself to be less capable than he expects, which may lead to some periods of time where he is worried or concerned. He will usually react to these situations with defiance as well.

By being available for your son, you can help him through these rough periods. It also allows you to watch, even from a distance, what he is doing. You can pick up on any clues that he is at risk for greater problems.

Abnormal Behavior of Teens

It can be easy as a parent to bury your head in the sand when your son is behaving unpleasantly. The problem is that when you stop paying attention you can miss some of the signs that your son needs help. These signs might include:

  • Defiance to all authority

  • Lack of friends

  • Withdrawal from all social activity

  • Focus on violent books, shows, or characters

  • Persistent refusal to do chores and other simple tasks

  • Lack of dreams and goals for the future

The difference between normal and not normal can basically be defined as a persistence of the problematic behaviors. You will fight and disagree with your son. This is a given. But if it is a constant battle, there may be some underlying issues going on and you need to seek help. Sometimes it is depression, other times it is a medical condition or even drug abuse. The watchful eye of a parent will pick up these differences and be able to respond and seek care.

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