How to Tell If Your Teen Is Doing Bad Stuff

You might expect that your teenager is occasionally up to no good simply because he is a teenager. You remember what you were like as a teen, and perhaps you weren’t perfect. You might remember lying to your parents on occasion and even hiding things from them. At the time, you thought nothing of it because you were sure you were old enough and mature enough to make your own decisions, but if you suspect your own teen is up to no good, you probably now have a different opinion on the matter. If you suspect your teen is hiding something from you, start by looking for the warning signs.

Think back to your teen’s recent behavior or mood. If she seems to have suddenly gone from being a vivacious, friendly and respectful person to withdrawn, moody or even rude, she might be doing things you wouldn’t approve of. According to Dr. Phil McGraw's website, this is a sign that your teen could be spending time with people who are bad influences and participating in behavior that you would frown upon.

Consider your teen’s presence and absence. Dr. Phil's site points out that teenagers who begin spending a large amount of time away from the family locked in their bedrooms or with new friends that they've never spent time with before are likely up to no good. Sudden isolation from family is often a warning sign of bad behavior.

Check into whom your teen is spending time with outside of your home. If it appears that she is spending less time with her old friends who you know and more time with new friends who seem questionable -- in that they don’t perform well in school, participate in team sports or are in trouble frequently -- it could be a sign that your teen is engaging in negative behavior.

Look into his grades, advises Judge Glenda Hatchett. If your teen is a good student whose grades have suddenly plummeted, he might be engaging in less-than-stellar activity. Something else you can check into is his attendance in school and his behavior in class. It’s a good idea to speak to his teachers to find out if he is turning in homework on time, showing up for classes and behaving appropriately. If not, it might be indicative of a negative change in his behavior and activities.

Talk to your teen yourself 1. She may not be forthcoming with information, but it doesn't hurt to start a dialogue. Ask if anything has been bothering her or there's anything she'd like to discuss with you. Ask how her old friends are doing and whether she'd like to introduce you to her new friends. Make it known that your door is always open, so to speak, and that she can feel comfortable coming to you for advice, to answer questions or just to talk. Even if she doesn't say much, your teen will be aware that you've been paying attention to her and that you'll be there for her when she needs you.


Look for other signs, such as your teen suddenly having a lot of money that you did not give him or a sudden onslaught of expensive new items you did not purchase.