Sign: Dropping Out of Usual Activities

“Josh always found time to practice the saxophone. He loved it. He started a band when he was only 12 years old. They weren’t very good, but he loved it. Well, one day I found out he’d SOLD his sax. He said he didn’t like it anymore. He said he’d spent the money on sneakers, but I didn’t buy it. I just started to notice that everything he once loved meant nothing to him. All he cared about was hanging out with this nasty looking bunch of kids who seemed to be doing nothing with their lives.”

If your teen suddenly starts to quit doing the things he or she once loved to do, this can be a sign of other problems. The more dramatic this change, the more concerned you should be. If your daughter was once in student council, drama club, and the school band, and now spends her after-school time “hanging out” with friends, this is a major change in focus and priorities.

Extracurricular activities have been shown to be very important in keeping teens out of trouble. Teens who have too much free time – especially during hours when parents are still at work – have many more opportunities to get into trouble. Be especially concerned if your teen not only dropped out of his or her normal extracurricular activities, but also dropped all his or her friends associated witih that activity – a sudden switch in peer groups is rarely a good sign.