Adolescence – that period of life that can be as tumultuous for a child as it is for his or her parents. In the struggle towards adulthood, adolescents today face a myriad of issues that can cause not only stress, but troubling issues that can cause pain and fear.
Some teens may struggle with low self-esteem, depression, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, drug and alcohol abuse. Others may question their sexuality, or have suicidal or self-injurious thoughts and impulses. Adolescents also may have issues that revolve around academic pressures, transitioning to college or changes at home. Their stressors may come from within as they deal with their own perfectionism and feelings of inadequacy.
It is the rare teen who wants to go to therapy, but when they won’t talk to you, or that just isn’t doing the trick, it is important that the parent reaches out to a professional that their teen can talk to. A therapist who is experienced in working with adolescents will know how to break down the barriers and provide the help that is needed.
In addition to providing your teen with the compassion, support and guidance they need, the therapist can help improve communication and rebuild relationships that have been strained or damaged. A qualified mental health professional is an excellent resource for the parents as well during these trying times. The therapist can help the parents understand why their child acts out with rebellious, willful behavior and how they can help their child to express their needs and wants in a more productive way. When parents allow the process of re-forging the lines of communication, they dramatically improve their relationship with their teenager and create an environment where positive behavioral change is possible.
Eventually we all make the transition from a child to an adult, and with professional assistance in times of trouble, your adolescent can make this journey successfully.