If your adolescent child is experiencing trials and tribulations, take a few moments and answer the following questionnaire. This can serve as a point of reference to understand the severity of the problems your teen is experiencing.
Sometimes teenage problems are so severe, they can only be addressed by a professional in a controlled environment, such as a residential centre and/or therapy programme. However most rites of passage problems can be resolved at home by tightening family rules and discipline.
After completing the questionnaire, count how many questions you have ticked ‘Yes’ and refer to the scoring guide, which offers suggestions and recommendations based on your responses.
1. Are you concerned about your child’s well-being and future? YES/NO
2. Are you concerned that your teen may be sexually promiscuous? YES/NO
3. Are you exhausted by your teen’s defiant and/or destructive behaviour and choices? YES/NO
4. Are you worried that your teen may not complete high school? YES/NO
5. Do you find yourself choosing words carefully when speaking to your teen out of fear of a verbal attack from her? YES/NO
6. Do you lack trust in your teen? YES/NO
7. Do you have trouble getting your teen to do simple household chores or homework? YES/NO
8. Do you suspect at times that money or other valuables have been stolen from your home? YES/NO
9. Do you suspect that sometimes your teen lies or is dishonest with you? YES/NO
10. Do you suspect your teen is using or experimenting with drugs/alcohol? YES/NO
11. Does your teen hang out with an anti-social group? YES/NO
12. Does your teen engage in activities you don’t approve of? YES/NO
13. Does your teen ever display violent behaviour? YES/NO
14. Does your teen have problems with authority? YES/NO
15. Does your teen seem depressed/withdrawn? YES/NO
16. Does your teen seem to be in constant opposition to your family values? YES/NO
17. Does your teen seem to demonstrate lack of motivation? YES/NO
18. Does your teen seem to lack self-esteem and self-worth? YES/NO
19. Does she struggle with basic family rules and expectations? YES/NO
20. Has she ever been suspended, expelled, truant, or experienced a drop in school grades? YES/NO
21. Does her behaviour raise concerns for her safety? YES/NO
22. Has your teen ever displayed any evidence of suicide ideation? YES/NO
23. Has she had problems with the law? YES/NO
24. Has she lost interest in former productive activities, hobbies or sports? YES/NO
25. Has your teen’s visual appeal and/or personal hygiene changed? YES/NO
26. Is your teen angry or displaying temper outbursts? YES/NO
27. Is she manipulative and/or deceitful? YES/NO
28. Is she verbally abusive? YES/NO
29. No matter what rules and consequences are set, do you feel that your teen will defy them? YES/NO
30. When dealing with your teen, do you often feel that you are powerless? YES/NO
What do your responses indicate?
18+ Yes responses: High risk.
Get professional help! A residential treatment programme/therapy is strongly recommended.
9-17 Yeses: Borderline risk.
It is possible that the problems can be resolved by tightening up family rules and discipline. However, there’s a possibility that your child is at-risk and you may need to consult a mental health professional.
Up to 8 Yeses: Moderate risk.
Tighten family rules/agreements, and be consistent in disciplining and monitoring your children.
(Excerpted and adapted from www.centerforparentingeducation.org — questionnaire provided by Help for Troubled Teens)