Some of us will look back fondly on our teenage years and think: “Those were the best days of my life…” And others of us will attempt to bury those awkward, formative years deep inside an inaccessible region of the subconscious, only to resurface during those unbidden nightmares that people sometimes have about showing up late for your SAT’s completely unprepared—or worse yet—completely naked.
Regardless of how you reminisce about your experience, the teenage years are rough. For parents and for teens alike.
As a teenager, your body explodes with hormones, the foundation for your adulthood identity is under construction, social scrutiny is at an all-time high, and statistically, many mental health conditions that will persist into adulthood make their first appearance. Where teens are struggling to find themselves, parents struggle to relate. Bridging the generational gap and avoiding a star appearance on “Snapped” when your kids hurtle into their rebellious years? Easier said than done.
Even though all parents are former tweens and teens, it’s sometimes impossible to understand what kids are up to, much less interpret what they say or do. And let’s face it – their world doesn’t look a whole lot like ours did. Kids are growing up in an increasingly complicated world. And unfortunately, they don’t always know how to respond to the pressures and opportunities 21st-century life present.
When problems develop, parents often get stuck in power struggles or in ineffective parenting patterns.
Don’t hesitate to use one of your lifelines—We can help! Here are 10 issues that counseling for teenagers can be used to address.
Parenting a tween or teen is difficult enough even when your kid isn’t developing serious issues. But help is a phone call away. If you are struggling with your tween or teen, counseling for teens (and parents and families) can help you get unstuck!
1 – Parental boundaries: reaching a consensus between parents and teens regarding the spectrum of household rules, from establishing curfews to laying down the law about academics, extracurricular activities, dating, internet/phone use, driving privileges, chores, and more!
2 – Academic difficulties or behavioral issues at home/school: recovering from tanking grades, senioritis, absenteeism, procrastination, or perfectionism; expressing your frustrations healthily (and avoiding detentions, suspensions, or other destructive acts of rebellion—shoplifting, truancy, swearing at your parents, etc.—in the process).
3 – Sibling rivalry: Is your sibling an artistic genius, academic god, star athlete, or Victoria’s Secret model in the making? How to cope with jealousy, feeling like you don’t measure up, and parental expectation. Or maybe your sibling isn’t an unattainable standard of perfection, and you just hate each other. That happens too… Learn how to tolerate (and maybe even like) your heinous sibling.
5 – Social and relationship issues: rebuilding your life in the wake of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; navigating the gamut of teenage relationships, from breakups to bullying… and beyond; identify the “wrong” vs. the “right” crowd when forming friendships.
6 – Sexual behaviors: Help! My teenager is… wearing provocative clothing, watching pornography, sexting, or engaging in unprotected sex. What now? How to proceed, and recognizing the boundaries between normal sexual curiosity and aggressive or exploitative sexual conduct in your adolescent.
7 – Teen pregnancy: breaking the news to your parents and the father; deciding how to proceed: choosing between motherhood, adoption, or abortion; dealing with the disapproval of family, friends, or educators; developing parenting skills; and establishing the support you need to graduate.
8 – Gender & sexual orientation issues: how to clarify gender or sexual orientation confusion; coming out as LGBTQ+ to family & friends; and dealing with homophobia, bullying, depression, or hate crimes.
9 – Illegal substance use: recognizing the warning signs that your adolescent may be using drugs or alcohol; receiving appropriate levels of intervention (e.g. counseling, group therapy, 12-step, inpatient rehab, etc.) for all aspects for drug use from experimentation to addiction; supporting your teenager to maintain their sobriety during recovery.
10 – Violent behavior: pinpointing the root of and extinguishing out aggressive behaviors, including fighting at school, harming siblings, or torturing animals; keeping a watchful eye out for violent tendencies (glorifying violence in video games or movies; consuming violent pornography; or developing a fascination with weapons); raising a teenager who has a juvenile record.
Many therapeutic interventions that benefit adults will also be considered effective forms of therapy for teens – however, an acknowledgment of the complexity of this population, the Lifeologie Institute employs several counselors who specialize extensively in advising teens. When it comes to teenagers, we believe that a teenager’s bond with their therapist is particularly important in generating mutual trust, and subsequently, in advancing positive change.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: in which a counselor assists your teenager to identify destructive thought patterns and replace those cognitions with more productive coping mechanisms that lead to eventual behavior modification.
Supplemental family therapy: sessions that enable families to resolve their conflicts and practice better communication strategies to use at home
Strengths-based Therapy: which focuses on areas of personal strength that your teenager can develop to become more resilient to stress
Group therapy sessions: which allow teens to interact and form support systems with other teens who may be experiencing a similar issue, such as substance abuse or gender identity confusion
Alternative therapies: such as psychotherapeutic yoga, meditation, mindfulness, equine therapy, or expressive arts as therapy