Drama, lies, tears…teenage years.
Are You Concerned About Your Teen’s Behavior?
Is your teen isolating him or herself? Has he or she stopped communicating freely? Have you noticed a drastic change in attire and hygiene? Are their grades in school suffering? Do they seem apathetic toward social activities, withdrawing from their peers and unable to have fun? Do they have erratic sleeping patterns, either sleeping too much or too little? Perhaps you have noticed that they have adopted secretive behaviors and don’t share openly with you as a parent. Are you concerned with the friends that they have chosen? Have you noticed self-harming behaviors like cutting, burning or excessive scratching? Are you constantly worried about your teen? Do you have a gut feeling that something is wrong, but you can’t quite identify what is going on? Are you concerned, but feel unable to help them?
Many Teens Go Through Confusing Phases
Teenagers 13-18 years old are going through drastic changes developmentally. They are noticing physical changes with their bodies that may make them feel self-conscious or awkward. They are also developing emotionally and socially. This may be the first time that they notice the presence of romantic feelings and the desire to date. They also may be increasingly aware of and concerned with how they are perceived by their peers. All of these changes can be very confusing for your teen and for you as a parent. Your teen may be frustrated with feeling misunderstood or unable to communicate these changes. While your teen is at an age where they are starting to grow and mature toward adulthood, they may lack the emotional capabilities to express themselves fully. It is not uncommon for teens to feel lost and resort to inappropriate outlets for their unexpressed emotions, like lashing out or withdrawing completely. Articulate emotional expression is a valuable skill that many teens have a difficult time developing on their own. Fortunately, teen counseling can provide a safe environment for your teen to learn to understand his or her feelings and ways to express those feelings properly. Giving your teen guidance through counseling allows them to grow their emotional intelligence in a safe, non-judgmental environment as they establish building blocks for adulthood.
Your Teen Can Learn Valuable Life Skills Through Teen Counseling
Many times behavioral changes during teenage years are an expression of larger, perhaps more intimidating, issues. This is often the result of the teen not understanding how to articulate their feelings and fears. At Crossroads, we help your teen identify the core of what they’re feeling. This root emotion can be intimidating to address, but once we’ve brought light to the underlying issue, we can begin to build a foundation based on strong communication around the emotion. We help give teens the tools to understand why they may feel a certain way and express themselves in a logical, productive manner. The ability to feel understood is powerful and the teenage years are a great place to begin building a strong foundation that emphasizes the ability to communicate. Your teen’s ability to share openly with us is an important part of teen counseling. We understand that in order for your teen to open up to a therapist, he or she needs to feel comfortable. One of the many ways that we facilitate an open environment is by using several creative methods. These methods may include drawing, playing card games or playing with puppets. We apply these methods to help soften the emotional barrier that many teens struggle with when trying to express their emotions. The teenage years are a confusing, tumultuous time for many. However, these years are also an optimal time to develop emotional maturity as teens move closer to adulthood and independence. With openness, patience and the right therapist, we can help your teen gain confidence in their ability to communicate with the world.
But, You May Still Have Questions Or Concerns…
My teen doesn’t think they have a problem. They think that I am the problem.
Many teens are initially reluctant to come into counseling. However, firmly insisting that your teen see a therapist is often in their best interest. You can help them feel empowered and in control of the decision-making process by allowing them to choose a therapist they feel most comfortable with. When your teen agrees to come into therapy, we also like to intermittently communicate with the parent to understand what is going on both in and outside of our sessions. If your teen is still unwilling to come to therapy, we can work with you to find ways to make positive changes at home. You know your teen better than we ever will and working with you as a parent gives us valuable insights into your teen.
I think that teen counseling could be beneficial for my teen, but seeking outside help makes me feel as if I’ve failed as a parent. I should be able to handle my teen’s issues on my own.
All parents struggle with feelings of failure from time to time. Parenting is an every-changing process and doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Seeking counseling for you teen means that you care enough about them to give them the gift of emotional growth in a safe place. Oftentimes, teen counseling gives them a constructive outlet for whatever it may be that they are struggling with. This outlet along with the third-party perspective that our Crossroads therapists provide allows for the relationship between you and your teen to be more positive. We also believe strongly in including the parents in the therapy process at strategic times. As therapists, we only see your teen a limited amount of the time. We need your perspective from the home as well for the complete package, and understand the significance of your impact as a parent. That’s why we place an emphasis in including the parent within the process.
My teen has asked me if they can go to therapy, but trusting someone with my child makes me nervous.
It is completely natural to want to protect your teen from the unknown. It takes a lot of courage for you to bring your teen into counseling. That’s why we do whatever we can to make you more comfortable with the therapy process. We believe that including the parent in the counseling process at strategic points is extremely important in both the success of the therapy process as well as yours and your teen’s comfort level. We respect, honor and value your role as a parent.