r/NoStupidQuestions Sep 24 '22

Why do parents freak out if a teenager is suddenly quiet and withdrawn?



u/Howl_17 Casual Connoisseur Sep 24 '22

Cause that's a sign of depression?


u/rdrast Sep 24 '22

This here.

And for adolescents, suddenly becoming quiet and withdrawn is almost always caused by personal dissapointments (the love of your young life rejects you), or confusion over social norms (having same sex desires).

These thoughts are very embarrassing to most adolescents, and not easily sharable with parents, or other people.


u/BeaulieuA Sep 25 '22

Or you know, abuse and bullying, suicidal thoughts, more serious things than a crush or figuring out you’re gay.


u/InfernalOrgasm Sep 25 '22

I guess you've never figured out you're gay before. That's some serious shit


u/Umpteenth_zebra Sep 25 '22

"All of the above"


u/BeaulieuA Sep 25 '22

I mean I had to figure out I’m trans. Sexuality was never really a problem, I like both guys and girls. My parents are very open and I knew I could tell them anything.

Not everyone has a hard time figuring themselves out. Figuring out I’m trans wasn’t painful as much as eye opening that that’s what all this was. But having gender dysphoria does suck.

Everyone experiences things differently. And environment matters, I never felt ashamed to bring shit up to my family. I accept that it’s different for a lot of others out there, especially within the lgbt community. But I’d be a lot more worried about abuse or intimidation, than a crush or my child’s sexuality if they became quiet and withdrawn.


u/masterofyourhouse Sep 24 '22

A sudden change in behaviour is generally a concern for anyone. Specifically, becoming quiet and withdrawn is often a sign of abuse or mental illness, so of course it’s something to care about.


u/Trying-to-do_Better Sep 24 '22

I think a parent would freak out with any drastic change in a teenager for fear of mental illness. Specifically quiet and withdrawn could mean a traumatic experience or like depression.


u/VanishingAurora Sep 24 '22

I think the key word here is “sudden”. Introverts who are habitually quiet are not a cause for concern just by those actions alone.

As with anything in life….When someone’s behaviors change drastically, something has typically triggered the change. When the behavior is out-of-the-norm introversion….worst case it points to suicidal ideation, abuse, trauma or other things where intervention early is crucial. While those scenarios are not the only causes, parents tend to err on the side of caution in hopes they catch something early.


u/EvilNoobHacker Sep 24 '22

As a parent, you're worried about what you kid is doing. If they suddenly stop talking to you, you assume the worst, and are freaked out that they're hiding something from you. That can be anything from something illegal to something along the lines of depression.

Parents are usually just worried due to a sudden mood shift, is all.


u/Menulem Sep 24 '22

I think I grew up a lot when I realised my parents cared about me and mostly wanted the best but didn't really have much of a clue how to do that


u/daftvaderV2 Sep 24 '22

My stepdaughter became quiet and withdrawn. But it was because she and her friend got tongue piercings and their speech were affected.

We only found out when her friend's mother called us to tell on them.


u/FahrtrichtungLinks Sep 25 '22

Lol, don't know what to say.

I guess there are worse things they can do, I don't know, nazi tattoo or similar, but I wouldn't be happy with tongue piercing either. 🤦‍♂️


u/daftvaderV2 Sep 25 '22

Either was my wife.


u/gotdamnboottoobig Sep 25 '22

you have to be 16 with ID with no parental consent to get a tongue piercing unless she went to a really shady shop. If she went to a reputable shop she's old enough to make her own decisions


u/daftvaderV2 Sep 26 '22

In Australia?


u/gotdamnboottoobig Sep 26 '22

"In Western Australia, teenagers under 18 years can get body-piercings with their parents' permission. In Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales, teenagers under 16 years need their parents' permission for body-piercings."

Seems so-- the same or even harsher.


u/daftvaderV2 Sep 26 '22

Well she was under 16 at the time, we are in NSW.


u/Swordbreaker925 Sep 24 '22

Because a sudden change in behavior isn’t normal…


u/zDraxi Sep 24 '22

An adolescent becoming quiet, withdrawn, depressed and anxious is normal.


u/wishcrafty Sep 24 '22

Common, perhaps. Not normal.


u/Unkn0wnMachine Sep 24 '22

Is normalcy not determined by what’s common?


u/catwhowalksbyhimself Sep 24 '22

No, it's not.

A cold is common, but having one isn't normal.

These are signs of various issues, so while common, they aren't normal. They are signs of problems, which need to be addressed.

A person without any issues isn't going to suddenly change behavior like that.


u/Unkn0wnMachine Sep 25 '22

I’d argue that having a cold is normal. It’s not normal if you have a cold every other day or never, but simply just having a cold is normal as everyone has a cold sometimes.

I think it’s normal for teenagers to get distant and quiet. They’re full of hormones which can cause mood swings. It’s normal for teenagers to be like that sometimes.

Also, just because someone isn’t normal doesn’t mean they have issues. People are just different and what’s normal for them isn’t for you. It’s an extremely boring and ignorant worldview otherwise


u/catwhowalksbyhimself Sep 25 '22

I may have phrased that wrong, but the condition of being sick is not normal for the body. Having a cold is a normal human experience, but it's still a sign of something being wrong with the body.

A sudden change in behavior like this is a sign of something being wrong with the mind, and since suicide and mass murder are two of the things that have resulted in kids with these same changes in behavior, it's not something that should ever be treated as just a normal big deal thing.


u/Unkn0wnMachine Sep 25 '22

Being quiet and distant is not a warning sign of suicide or wanting to be a mass shooter. Have never read the book “columbine”? Those stereotypes have never been true. The kids that shot up columbine were not bullied or even outcasts. Lots of times school shooters are popular and do well in school and sports. You should be worrying about those kids a whole lot more, and see those traits as dangerous as you see a kid being quiet is.

And with suicide, that’s also not true. Lots of times it seems like suicide comes out of nowhere as they seemed happy on the outside.

I’m not saying don’t talk to them or anything, but it’s definitely normal for teenagers to be like that sometimes and is not a sign of suicide or wanting to kill people. That’s moronic


u/catwhowalksbyhimself Sep 25 '22

It's a warning that something might be wrong if this is a sudden change in behavior. I could be any number of things.

Ignoring warning signs because it might be okay is stupid and irresponsible.


u/Unkn0wnMachine Sep 25 '22

I never said ignore it. I just said it’s normal.

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u/BeeBench Sep 25 '22

Just because the guys from columbine were popular doesn’t negate thousands of others who have reported symptoms of being withdrawn or pulling away… also they did withdraw into each other and fed into each other’s shitty ideas.


u/InfernalOrgasm Sep 25 '22 edited Sep 25 '22

Normal is a matter of what's valued the most by whatever culture is in question; less-so what is most common.

Using the example another poster used, a common cold isn't normal because it's common; it isn't normal because it's not a valued trait or condition to be in and generally most peoples of any culture tend to agree.


u/Unkn0wnMachine Sep 25 '22

By that logic it then depends on the individual to decide what’s normal and what isn’t because their values often differ from that of society’s, especially in America with all of its diversity, and maybe suddenly being quiet and distant actually is normal for them.


u/InfernalOrgasm Sep 25 '22

You're on to something.


u/zDraxi Sep 24 '22

You are correct.


u/Nulono Sep 24 '22

Any sudden and unexplained change of behavior could be a sign of something bad happening. Maybe the teenager is being bullied, or abused, or is suffering from some sort of mental health crisis. The people tasked with caring for the teenager are going to want to know about that sort of thing.


u/YayaGabush Sep 24 '22

In my home country it's usually a sign of mental decline and usually results in a mass murder or a school shooting.


u/zDraxi Sep 24 '22

In my home country it's usually a sign of mental decline

I wonder where it is...

and usually results in a mass murder or a school shooting.

Oh, it's America.


u/YayaGabush Sep 24 '22

Damn ya doxxed me...


u/LuckyMe-Lucky-Mud Sep 24 '22

Sudden personality shifts are always a cause for concern.


u/aidennqueen Sep 26 '22

Even when puberty with its hormonal mood swings is a perfectly plausible explanation?


u/LuckyMe-Lucky-Mud Sep 26 '22

Yes. It might just be puberty, but it might be a deeper issue.


u/23CD1 Sep 24 '22

I feel like a lot of parents were just as wild or even wilder as teenagers and they fear we'll be just like them


u/Puzzled-Barnacle-200 Sep 25 '22

A sudden change in personality is always concerning. Typically, it means something negative has happened.


u/ShuumaVT Sep 25 '22

Because it is "sudden" people don't suddenly change for no reason so of course you wondering what happend.


u/sphincterella Sep 25 '22

Because teenagers are emotional little fucking time bombs who have a terrible habit of doing stupid shit with life changing consequences and most parents want their kids to grow up and get the fuck out and be good, happy people who don’t require bail money or grandma to raise a baby


u/OhJeezItsCorrine Sep 24 '22

Parents should freak out if their depressed teenager suddenly becomes happy and optimistic.


u/HaroerHaktak Sep 24 '22

Parents spend their entire lives around their children and usually know them pretty well, so when there's a 180 in their personality overnight it tends to be concerning.


u/StrengthOfMind1989 Sep 24 '22

I don't know why. I personally think it is annoying as hell.

People no matter what age, cannot always be cheerful and talkative. Sometimes people just want to be left alone to concentrate on what's important to them.

People don't want others always in their face and wondering if they are OK.


u/PatchworkGirl82 Sep 24 '22

I don't know why you're being downvoted, because that's exactly how it was for me. I am a quiet person born to a loud family, and, from my experience, I think some people just do not like being shut out of a person's private thoughts, which is basically how I survived my teen years. I just went inside myself and tuned everyone out when I couldn't escape to my room with a book.


u/BeeBench Sep 25 '22

Because it could be a sign of depression


u/Scared-March7443 Sep 25 '22

Because teenage years are prime for mental illness or drug use. It can also be a sign of the teen having been the victim of something. It can be a sign of needing help.


u/am_i_your Sep 25 '22

In my case I was being threatened by an older bigger boy at school, they noticed and forced why out of me.


u/TheSkyElf Sep 25 '22

Because they fear the worst. That their child has had something awful happen to them. That they have been threatened. That they are suffering from some illness (physical and/or mental). That they are hiding something that might be important or something the parent(s) can help with.

It stems from love (most of the time) since if they don´t freak out and pretend everything is fine, what do they do if it isn´t fine? What if them not freaking out made things worse? So they try and figure out what the reason might be, often freaking out when they do.


u/ApartRuin5962 Sep 25 '22

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for teenagers, behind accidents and homicide


u/DiggityDanksta Sep 25 '22

Mine got mad at me for it. I responded by not being sad anymore and got just as angry right back at them.

I am not your fucking self-esteem dispenser.


u/pearltx Sep 25 '22

Because they care and love their child?


u/originalBRfan Sep 25 '22

Columbine maybe


u/cfniva Sep 25 '22

Because they are worried about the thing they love most in the world


u/lazydog60 Sep 25 '22

When I (a late Boomer) was a teenager, parents were advised that such a change was probably a sign of drugs. (Ron Howard voice: in those days, everything a teenager might do or not do was a sign of drugs.)


u/bangbangracer Sep 25 '22

Because you can make sense of noise and lots of information, but a lack of information doesn't really say anything.

Oh... And war on drugs propaganda.


u/MLMLW Sep 25 '22

If a teen suddenly becomes withdrawn and is quiet but was usually very friendly, talkative, and outgoing before then a parent has to assume that something is bothering their child. It's a parent's job to take care of their children and they freak out because they love their children and don't want them hurting. It probably also partly scares a parent because they want to know what's wrong and are wondering if they'll be able to handle whatever problems their child is facing or if they'll have to get a professional involved.


u/mmohaje Sep 25 '22

Because they were teenagers too and given the benefit of hindsight know something emotional is going on even if the teenager, because of lack of experience doesn't think or know there is.


u/wizardball987 Sep 25 '22

Sudden personality changes tend to be a sign of... Well several things really, and none of them good.


u/Acceptable-Treat9474 Sep 25 '22

Mine dont Or theyve gotten used to it idk


u/jlp1janie Sep 25 '22

MENTAL HEALTH. If my son ever suddenly withdraws and becomes quiet he will definitely be getting a mental health check. Weather it's by me or a doctor


u/lewandyos Sep 25 '22

Cousin of mine have been diagnosed with Asperger at the Age of 16. It is never too late to watch your kid, help him and your relationship.


u/AzPhantomhive Sep 25 '22

My parents didn't freak out in my case. Didn't bat an eye when I started acting put either. Didn't do a damn thing when I pleaded for help. All these "changes" were just me "trying to get out of applying my self in school." It couldn't possibly have been anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, pmd, or pcos oh no no no because those are "made up to get people hooked on drugs" and "I'm just trying to get out of doing my hw" 🙄😒😮‍💨


u/deon143 Sep 25 '22

Maybe they feel like as parents they fucked up


u/cancerkaz00 Sep 25 '22

Any drastic change in behavior can be a red flag, you just need to ask questions to see why.


u/Londonforce Sep 25 '22

Because a sudden change in behavior is a sign of distress or mental illness and they love their children.


u/Er_ner Sep 25 '22

For any kids reading, here's the root of the issue. Your parents always worry about you. Even when you're not evincing unusual behaviour. It's just hard-wired in us. Parents love their kids more than life itself, so you're really the be-all and end-all.


u/Educational_Fan_6787 Sep 26 '22

they teach u to look out for this as a teacher/teaching assistant. Withdrawn students usually mean something is wrong or has gone wrong.


u/EggsSaladEggs Sep 26 '22

Because they're good parents. As apposed to the ones who let out a sigh of relief that they no longer have to be around their own offspring.

A change in behaviour, like everyone else is saying, is a cause for concern in a friend, child or family member. While it makes parents worry, it may not always be a cause for concern.

Your teenage years are when all of the hormones and changes are happening in your body and as a result you sleep more/become more tired and as tastes change you may stop doing the hobbies you did as a kid like fishing or dancing. While some may jump to thinking or saying that you need help, it often isn't caused by anything bad and will fade off over a year or so.

But without telling parents what's going on, the good ones will jump to worst case because they love you and want to help you. Even if their words don't always come out the right way.... the typical is "look who's come out of their cave". They're trying to be lighthearted in the hopes that their "cool" attitude will make you want to speak to them. It isn't always as simple as saying "I'm concerned, are you okay?"