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Your World with a Troubled Teen
By Amy Sherman
Chaos, confusion and conflict. These are the dimensions of a troubled teen's world. How do you know if your teen is troubled or if he/she is just going through normal adolescence? You can ask yourself the following questions to get some insight:

1. Is your teen very secretive, evasive and unwilling to share aspects of his/her personal life?

2. Does he/she display outbursts of anger that seem irrational, unreasonable and unprovoked?

3. Is there a sudden change in his/her peer relationships and are you unfamiliar with this new group?

4. Does he/she act out in school, get in trouble with police or defy authority figures?

5. Has there been a change in grades or has your child lost interest in activities once enjoyed?

6. Do you suspect drug/alcohol use based on his/her extreme erratic behavior or bizarre appearance?

7. Is there noticeable weight gain or loss or changes in eating habits?

A positive answer to any of these does not mean your child is in trouble. However, if these signs and symptoms persist, you may want to educate yourself about one or more of the following disorders: depression, oppositional defiance, eating disorders and mood disorders.

As the parent of a troubled teen, you need to be extremely responsible and attentive. Do not let someone else teach your child "the ropes," especially if it's someone who may not have their best interest in mind. Familiarize yourself with their language, the websites they frequent (My Space, Face Book), so you can be alert to any negative influences or even sites that may put them in danger.

Do not give up on them. Teens tend to test your patience until they wear you out. Be aware that you are often manipulated by their creative ways of getting what they want. Teens really want your attention, whether positive or negative, but they also need your guidance. You are always the parent, but your approach should not alienate or shut yourself out of your child's life. Speak to your teen in a fair, but firm tone, while redefining the expectations and consequences for breaching the rules. This will offer consistency and structure and help them be responsible for their actions, attitudes and emotions.

Amy Sherman, LMHC, is a licensed mental health counselor in private practice. Amy is the author of the ebook, "Distress-Free Aging: A Boomer's Guide to Creating a Fulfilled and Purposeful Life." She specializes in issues specific to the 40+ generation and is available for telephone coaching, face-to-face therapy, teleseminars, radio and TV interviews. For more information, go to, sign up for her free newsletter and receive a Special Report on Overcoming Adversity. She can be reached by email at or by phone at 561) 281-2975.

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A Healthy Breakfast For Your Child
By Carolyn Joana

Breakfast is usually the time when you're busiest - what with packing your kids off to school, looking after the house and rushing to work too. Often moms give a ready-to-serve breakfast with sweet cereals and cereal bars which do not have much of a nutrition profile to boast of.  Read more...
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