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Ironwood Residential Treatment Center Offers Warning Signs for Parents of Teens


Self-defeating and self-destructive behaviors of troubled or out-of-control teens can be warning signs for parents. When viewed thoughtfully, these “warning signs” allow parents to assess available options to help correct inappropriate conduct in their child. For many parents, dealing with a troubled or out-of- control teen feels overwhelming. Where do I go? To whom can I turn for help? At Ironwood Residential Treatment Center (RTC), we have helped many parents who wondered what options exist to help a child. This article explores common changes in behaviors that are typical for the population of 13-18 year-old teenagers served at Ironwood RTC.

Declining grades: A marked decline in grades during middle school and high school often signals a change in motivation to do well academically. Students may experience a loss of caring whether good grades are as important as social status. The obvious challenge here is that the damage of poor grades will follow them long after they realize the mistake they have made.

Withdrawing/Isolating: Is your child becoming more invisible to you? Teens facing challenges of being “plugged in” as a means to obtain social gratification or to escape into the Internet or video games can be at risk of losing the experience of learning valuable social skills that will better enhance their effectiveness in relationships with others.

Quitting otherwise committed activities/interests: Teens who experience the onset of mental health issues such as depression or those who have engaged in substance abuse most typically begin to let their world replicate these challenges by detaching themselves from athletics and other interests that were once held in high regard. This creates a new world of “boredom” that has a strong negative impact on a teen’s ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Changing friendships: Do you know your child’s current friends? Has your child stopped inviting their friends to your home and is your child less apt to offer information about the peer group they associate with? It is very common for troubled teens to be holding the company of other troubled teens. Typically these relationships remain intact only as long as the unhealthy choices and behaviors continue to be the glue that holds these “friendships” together.

Behavior Changes: Is your child more disrespectful and/or defiant towards you? Have sibling relationships become more strained and contentious? Is your child refusing to attend school? Does your child keep you posted on their whereabouts? Has their sleeping or eating patterns changed? Are they generally more secretive about their lives?

What may appear as “typical adolescent behaviors”, in combination can actually be warning signs for parents to take action and seek the guidance of behavior and mental health professionals. At Ironwood, we have the experience and resources to help adolescents get back on the right track. Parents concerned about their teens that would like to learn more about Ironwood RTC, please call 1-800-476-0708, email us at, or visit

About Ironwood Residential Treatment Center - Ironwood is a one-of-a-kind combination of a traditional boarding school and therapeutic treatment program that specializes in working with teens who are struggling, underachieving, and whose behavior is often out of control. Through an extensive and customized therapeutic program and academic curriculum, we help teens find greater success than they have ever experienced. Our mission is to give hope to parents who are concerned about their children by helping their teen become healthy, happy and responsible.



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