Vision Boys Academy wants parents to know that when young pre-teen boys start spinning out of control they usually exhibit many different signs of behavior.
Unfortunately, many parents often write-off these signs as normal adolescent behavior. As a result they don’t realize that their son is into drugs or other at-risk behavior until it is too late.
So how can you as a loving parent know for sure whether or not your young boy is in danger? Simple … by understanding that every child is in danger of this. The parent who says “not my kid” is the same parent who will miss all the signs that their child has started experimenting with drugs, promiscuity, illegal activities or other troubled behavior. Often they will stay in this state of denial until their son or daughter is in real trouble.
So what should you, as caring parents, look for?
1. Dramatic changes in style of clothes, hair, music — an excessive need to “fit in” with their peers
These outward signs should be obvious to a parent. Has your pre-teen boy started listening to radically different music, dressing differently, asking to get tattoos or piercings, or coloring their hair some weird color just to fit in? Maybe they dress differently, or in a provocative way to fit in with friends at school? All of these are outward signs that your son is succumbing to negative peer pressure.
2. Tardiness and/or truancies
You need to stay in touch with your boy’s school. Never assume that the school will be in touch with you if there is a problem. If your pre-teen boy is getting into drugs or alcohol, they’ll most likely start ditching class from time to time. Kids who do this tend to take off during the middle of school and get stoned somewhere near the campus. Don’t assume that their school will let you know about this kind of behavior. And you need to realize, kids are great at covering up this kind of behavior. Every pre-teen knows how to forge their parent’s signature — no joke. Call your boy’s school from time to time and ask about his attendance record. You need to take the initiative here!
3. Isolating from family
Does your pre-teen boy suddenly act distant? Do they constantly want to be with friends, get away from home, have secret sleep-overs with friends of parents you do not know? When your pre-teen has gone missing for a time and you ask what they’ve been up to, is his reply vague, defensive, or not reply at all? Does he want to eat in his room or at a friends’ house all the time instead of with the family?
Children are smart – they know that the easiest lie to tell is the one they can avoid having to tell. If your son doesn’t tell you what he’s been up to, there’s a good chance he’s hiding something.
4. Changes in attitude and personality
Does it seem like your young boy is suddenly a completely different person with a new personality which you don’t like? Has his tone become tough and disrespectful? If he’s experimenting with at-risk behavior, there’s a good chance you’ll be seeing these kinds of attitude changes. Often parents just see this as normal teenage behavior and write it off. Don’t make this mistake . . . otherwise you might overlook one of the most obvious signs.
5. Changes in sleep patterns
Sleep changes should be fairly obvious. Does your pre-teen boy stay up late (or even all night) frequently, refusing to get up in the morning at a decent time. Does he sleep way too much or way too little. If he’s not sleeping much, there’s a good chance stimulant drugs are being used.
6. Eating way too much or way too little
Here’s another obvious sign of drug experimentation or bulimia, that is often overlooked as normal teenage behavior. Does your young boy come home in the afternoon after hanging out with friends and devour everything in the refrigerator? If your pre-teen boy is smoking pot with friends, it wouldn’t be unusual to binge on more food than normal. And if he’s dealing with bulimia, he’ll eat a lot and then discretely go to the bathroom to purge.
7. Paranoia – everyone is out to get me
Does your young boy treat everybody as if they were the enemy? Does he tend to express the idea that everybody is out to get him? Is he fearful to go to school, to athletic practice, or some other activity? Are there signs of overly paranoid, anxious and fearful reactions to you? This is not normal pre-teenage behavior; you need to understand that. It could be that he’s being bullied or sexually abused, or substance usage makes your boy react that way. In any event, this warning sign means you need to get help for your son.
8. Experimenting with drugs or alcohol
Do your young boy’s eyes look funny? Are the pupils real large or real small? Does your son wear sunglasses even at night and say he’s just trying to look cool? Does he suddenly show an interest in burning incense in his room? A person’s eyes show the effects of the drugs they are using. If you think your child is experimenting with drugs, watch their eyes. Are they red all the time? Glazed? If so, there’s a real good chance your child is using drugs or alcohol.
9. Sudden bursts of anger
Has your young boy recently developed a violent side? Is he prone to sudden, uncontrollable fits of anger? This doesn’t have to mean physically violent (though that is often the case), but he can also be a young boy who is always yelling or threatening people. Any of these things should be a warning sign to you that your son could be experimenting with alcohol or drugs, or that he’s being abused or bullied.
If your pre–teen boy is experimenting with drugs, he will be telling lots of lies to cover this up. Teens tend to be very good at covering things up. If you start wondering whether or not your child is telling you the truth, there is a good chance that your instincts are right. Be persistent and learn what it is that he is trying to cover up.
11. Dramatic mood swings
Does your young pre–teen boy seem overly happy and giddy one day, then terribly depressed the next day? Do your child’s emotions go up and down constantly? This is often confused with ‘normal’ teenage behavior, but it can also be an obvious sign of emotional or substance abuse issues. Don’t simply write it off.
12. Excessive money spending or money disappearing
If your young boy keeps coming to you needing money, or if money keeps coming up missing from your purse or your wallet, you need to have a serious talk with him. Especially if he always seem to need 20 dollars or 50 dollars — round amounts — since that is often the price of drugs.
13. Hanging out with a bad crowd (a different crowd than they used to)
Your boy might try and tell you that he has new friends who are cool kids (and his old friends are not). But you need to take a close look at these ‘new’ kids. Chances are that the way these friends normally behave is the way your child also behaves when you’re not watching. Are some of your pre-teen’s new friends using drugs or alcohol, or experimenting with sexual activities? If so, your son is too. Your boy’s friends are like a mirror for him — he looks in the mirror and try to conform to what he sees there. One of the best ways to get a good idea of what your son is like is to look at his new friends.
14. Excessive use of foul or obscene language
Has your boy suddenly developed a filthy mouth? This might indicate that he’s giving into peer pressure from friends. This is a warning sign to you. If your young boy is trying to fit in with his friends by cursing, sooner or later he will probably look for other ways to gain acceptance in his peer group.
We Want to Help Your Struggling Young Boy
At Vision Boys Academy, we believe that a program of consistent daily living can help your struggling young boy learn how to make the right decisions. Some boys simply need to learn the love of Christ. Some need a more concentrated effort to catch up in school. Some need to learn the importance of respecting others–and themselves. And some just need a change of environment.
That’s why Vision Boys Academy focuses on providing a nurturing learning environment for struggling young boys, in a safe, daily structured program that promotes personal, spiritual and academic growth.
Leading at-risk boys, ages 8-12, to be Godly and upright young men–that’s our purpose!
We want to help your struggling pre-teen boy. Please call us today. (417) 246-1114