Therapy for Children and the Adults in their Lives
Teens & Tweens
- Learning problems – ADHD
- Low self esteem
- Overly self conscious
- Eating disorders
- Anxiety and fearfulness
- Lack of motivation
- Anger management
- Substance abuse
- Handling emotions
- Poor school performance
- Trauma and loss
Is your teen or tween overwhelmed or struggling with adolescence?
Are you living in the teen battle zone?
Is your teen’s behavior disrupting your life and the life of your family?
Do you worry that he or she is at risk or already engaging in seriously unsafe behavior?
Being a teen in today’s world can be a challenge, but so can being the parent. When a teen feels isolated, depressed, angry or anxious it can affect the whole family.
The transition from child to adult can be challenging for both teens and the adults in their lives. Managing emotional and hormonal storms can be difficult, to say the least.
The teen years are filled with an explosive mix of emotional drama, hormonal changes, peer pressures and anxieties. Teens experience a large degree of expectations – both self imposed and from family, school and society. Their emotions and brains are not fully developed, and it can be easy for them to feel overwhelmed and confused. It’s easy to make bad decisions at this age. Teens need to be able to navigate driving, dating, and the temptations of drugs, alcohol and sex.
It can be hard to gauge what an appropriate level of independence is for teens. It takes a great deal of discernment, trust and courage to allow your teen enough freedom and still keep reasonable limits for safety. Teens need to be in the world and explore, but there are real dangers. The best solution is to work together to develop trust and sometimes we all need help. As a neutral third party, I can diffuse the power struggles that arise and provide structure to an otherwise overwhelming situation.
It can be difficult for parents to find out what is really going on in a teen’s mind and emotions. Teen depression and suicide are issues that need to be taken seriously. I have been able to help many teens navigate these difficult issues by establishing reasonable goals and tools for being able to handle the intensity of emotions they may be feeling.
Many teens are diagnosed with ADHD. While this is a serious issue and can be a big problem with school and family life, I have had excellent results working with this issue and helping teens cope with planning, scheduling and time management.
Modern life adds another layer of stress to the inherent problems of moving from childhood to adulthood. I often see issues and obsessions arise with electronic media – from television, gaming, texting, and online social media. While many teens resist any attempt to help them, and insist that there is no problem,technology issues can rise to the level of true addiction and need to be addressed in order for the teen to succeed in life. In addition to the quantity of media, it’s often difficult for parents to monitor the quality of what teens are consuming. In movies, on the internet and through social media, kids can be exposed to some truly disturbing content. Parents need to be aware of this, and be able to develop enough trust to discuss these issues, and set appropriate guidelines with their teens.
Teens & Self Esteem
Many teens have low self-esteem. When a teen feels poorly about him or herself, schoolwork and relationships can suffer, and tension can build at home. These issues can also lead to dangerous behaviors, and it is important for parents to see the issue and help the teen address it as soon as possible. I see teenage girls having a particularly hard time coping with the increasing sexualization of women in the media. This is actually an issue for teenage boys as well, but tends to have different manifestations. Both boys and girls can develop eating disorders as a result of challenges with self-esteem and peer pressure. What teens need is to learn to be connected to themselves, to their own values, and to their own future plans.
Increasingly younger children are beginning to adopt teenage behaviors. It’s not uncommon for much younger children to be exposed to the same challenges that we normally expect them to be protected from until at least middle or high school. If you notice that your child or tween is suffering from low self-esteem, the time for intervention is now. If you don’t have good communication with your children at this age it is vital to take action or things are likely to become much worse as they get older.
With the help and support of an experienced therapist, your child can navigate the challenges of the teenage years with more ease and greater success. Your teen can gain insight and learn valuable skills that he or she can use throughout life to ensure emotional wellbeing and success.
Although you may believe that you and your child could benefit from additional support right now, you still may have questions or concerns about teen counseling…
How can I tell if this is a normal phase of development, or if something more serious is occurring?
It’s possible that your teen is going through a phase and will grow out of it. It could also be that deeper issues are causing him/her to behave in risky and destructive ways.Ongoing issues with anger outbursts, substance abuse, promiscuity or thrill-seeking behaviors are usually an indication that a teen is struggling with larger emotional issues. Increased anxiety, withdrawal, or pressure from peer relations is also something to keep an eye on, and respond to.Attention and support in these areas can help a teen recover their balance and self-esteem, avoiding a downward spiral.
Keep in mind that it can be extremely difficult for a teen to have a reasonably healthy assessment of their own stress and anxiety level – if you are noticing that you are concerned, then this is an appropriate time to intervene and either talk with a skilled professional about your concerns, or go ahead and schedule a session for your child.
Teens are developing within a high-paced and complex world. While parents need to provide their kids with the freedom to learn and grow, they also need to intervene when necessary. The goal is support, direction, and success, rather than them (or you) having to do everything alone. If your teen has been exhibiting concerning behaviors for some time, I encourage you to be proactive and schedule a consultation. During a consultation, I can help you determine if your child is suffering from normal teenage angst or if it sounds like something more serious is occurring that should be addressed.
I am worried about my teen, and strongly believe that he or she could benefit from counseling, but my teenager refuses to go.
Regardless of your teen’s resistance, in some cases, such as self-harm, depression or drug or alcohol abuse, it’s vital to get your teen some help. Let your child know that therapy is a safe place for him or her to talk through challenging feelings and issues. While it’s your job to get your teen to therapy, it’s my job to help him or her relax. I’m here to help them open up, benefit, and learn from the process. It’s been my experience that even the most resistant teens come to enjoy the therapy process and appreciate having a neutral, supportive person to express themselves openly and freely to.The truth is that the larger concern is what will happen if something isn’t done. Avoiding or denying problems usually makes them worse, and can precipitate a regrettable, yet avoidable crisis.
Even when teens know they need support, it is not uncommon for teenagers to push back on the idea of therapy. They may believe that they are beyond help, feel uncomfortable telling their problems to a stranger, or lack the energy or willingness to try something new. Your teen may perceive the idea of seeking professional help as an admission that they are somehow “abnormal.” In cases like these, it can be helpful to explain your concerns to your teen while letting him or her know that therapy is non-negotiable. An initial meeting can alleviate teenage resistance and help your teen see therapy as a safe, valuable resource, rather than a threat.
If I have more questions, or think it would be helpful, can I meet with you before my teen begins therapy? Can I be involved in the process?
Absolutely – I’m available to meet with you before beginning to work with your teen. Parents often have important information to share that can add value to the therapy process, and it’s important for me to be aware of major life experiences and a teen’s history. Over the therapy process, I can provide you with tools to help with discernment and stress reduction. As a parent, you have to pick your battles. I can help you set appropriate boundaries and communicate with your teen more effectively.
Teens greatly benefit from knowing that they have a safe, confidential space to talk about anything and everything from relationships to school to peer pressures. Unless there are safety concerns, therapy with your teen is confidential, and he/she has this assurance.
Call me for a free phone consultation. I’m happy to discuss your teen’s specific needs and answer any questions you have about teen counseling and my practice.