Are You Worried That Your Teen Is Feeling Bad or Engaging in Risky Behavior?
Being a teen these days can be hard! As children move into the teen years they begin to put more emphasis on relationships with their peers in order to begin determining who they are as individuals. Teens struggle with their identify and how they fit in. These days, this process is more demanding and complex than ever. Oftentimes, too, teens lack positive role models or may be experiencing changes in their families due to divorce, loss or other issues. They have to make choices about friends, their appearance, their schoolwork, and interests both now and for the future. They may feel confused and pressured. Often, family conflicts tend to increase, as well.
Raising a teenager is also difficult! Watching your child struggle, make bad decisions or rebel can leave you feeling a great deal of anxiety, frustration and fear. You may also feels sad when your teen starts to pull away, spend more time with friends and have less time for the family. During this time, you may notice that you are struggling with communication, boundaries and routines that no longer work. These challenges are even more difficult to manage when your teen may be experiencing a mood disorder, a behavior disorder, a learning disability or ADHD. You may often wonder if what your teen is experiencing is normal or if there is something deeper going on.
Almost all teens experience insecurity, family conflict and a roller coaster of emotions to some degree. It is normal to rebel a little, seek independence, and put more focus on their image and their peer relationships. However, it is not normal when your teen's behavior becomes destructive, when your teen is severely struggling in one area of their life or when issues begin to impact your teen's ability to function at school, home or in their relationships.
Teen counseling can offer the support and guidance you need. Dealing with these issues now rather than later can prevent problems from getting worse and prevent new problems from developing. Together, we can set realistic expectations for your teen, develop a system of consequences and rewards and learn how to have effective and open communications about rules and boundaries. Also, if necessary, we can work with your school to find creative and collaborative strategies to help your teen succeed. As a team, you will be able to overcome difficult issues, establish trust and enable your teen to mature and realize their potential. Also, in working with your teen, I can help your teen set and meet realistic goals and help your teen identify and address the root causes of his or her struggles. I can help them make better decisions and understand who they are and who they want to be. Your teen also will develop better awareness about how his or her actions affect others, learn better ways to communicate and deepen his or her ability for self-reflection and self-awareness.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is counseling for my teen expensive and does it take a lot of time? Is it even worthwhile?
Therapy is an investment in the well-being of your child and family. By investing in your teen now, you are creating an opportunity for him or her to feel better and function better. Therapy can also alleviate conflicts between you and your teen and promote harmony in your home.
Intense and misunderstood feelings can negatively impact your family and increase stress. Also, you are making an investment in your teen's future by addressing problems while you still have the ability to do so. In a few short years, your teen will be an adult and by that time, you as their parent will have more difficulty addressing these difficulties, if you are able to at all. Therapy is covered by your insurance plan and your therapist will bill your insurance, if you would like to use this.
2. My teen refuses to go to counseling.
This is a common issue but can feel difficult to know how to overcome. Let your teen know that seeing a therapist is not negotiable. However, empower your teen to choose his or her therapist. Explain to your teen that you are committed to helping finding the right fit for him or her and that he or she should see the therapist as an ally, not a threat.
3. How much time and what kind of commitment will this take?
Every teen and family is different and is a difficult question to answer. Progress largely depends on how committed everyone is to the healing and discovery process. Once your teen is feeling and functioning better and has learned some tools, strategies and information about their difficulties, therapy will no longer needed. Also, if you feel that therapy is not progressing fast enough or in the way you would like, be as open as possible about this, so that we can work together to address this.