How to spot that your teen may be struggling

12 - 18 years
Frustrated student

Teenagers are notoriously tight-lipped, especially with their parents. So not surprisingly, you may be the last person to know when your teen is struggling at secondary school. That is why it pays to keep an eye for these common warning signs.

Not talking about school

If your teen is having problems at school, their first reaction is usually to avoid the issue completely. They will fidget, change the subject, even leave the room to avoid a discussion about school.

Increased aggression

When something is irritating a teen, it often manifests itself in more aggressive behaviour. They might be argumentative, difficult and moody—especially before they leave for, or after they arrive home from school.

Distant behaviour

If you notice your teen’s energy levels are down or their behaviour is more detached and distant than usual, investigate the situation. It could be a sign that they are struggling in school.

Things you can do to help your teen:

  • Talk to your teen about your observations and ask if they have an issue they would like to discuss.
  • Keep the lines of communication open with your teen’s pastoral care teacher and encourage them to talk to you about any concerns they have about your teen’s schooling.
  • Organise a meeting with the school counsellor for both you and your teen to openly discuss any problems.
  • If you are still concerned, it is worthwhile contacting an independent counsellor to talk about the issues your teen is experiencing. If your teen will not attend with you, make an appointment for yourself.

Please note, when teens experience significant troubles, there are many services out there for support. You can contact eheadspace (call 1800 650 890) or Kids Helpline (call 1800 551 800). Each service provides private and confidential telephone and online counselling service to young people and their families.

Print iconPrint
Last modified
26 February 2020