The teen years can be a confusing and difficult time in a child’s life. There can be worries about identifying a future career. A child can struggle with figuring out who they are as a person and how they fit into the world. Friendships become more and more important as a child begins to detach from the family and slowly gain independence. Social media can be fun, but also bring about comparisons with others which can chip away at self-esteem. Social media also allows bullies to go behind the scenes and become even more aggressive with peers.
Parenting a teen can be challenging for a variety of reasons. As a parent or caretaker, you need to strike a balance between allowing independence so that your child will succeed as an adult, while keeping rules and expectations in place to avoid pitfalls. Hormonal changes taking place can bring about moodiness, influencing communications. Teens can also become very private as part of the detaching process, which leaves parents in the dark about what is actually going on in their child’s life.
If you feel there has been a difference in your child lately, it may be worth having a conversation with your child to find out if there is anything you can do to help. Don’t be surprised if you get little discussion from your teen because after all, you are the parent. They can feel uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassed talking about personal matters, especially with a mother or father. The fact that they would rather not have this kind of a conversation with you does not reflect on your parenting or the relationship you have with your child. It only means that your child is simply being a teenager.
Look out for the following behaviors in your child which may indicate a need for intervention:
- Increased isolation
- Increased anger and arguing
- Dropping grades
- Lack of interest in what your child used to like to do
- Increased fears
- Becoming overly concerned with his or her appearance
- Significant changes in eating or sleeping patterns
- Increased oppositional behaviors
- Changes in self-care
If you feel your teen may be struggling, I am here to help. Teens can do quite well in therapy. It gives them a place to privately talk about difficult topics without having to divulge to family or friends what they are struggling with internally. EMDR treatment can be very effective for teens. Please see the EMDR section of this website for more information on this treatment modality.
I offer a free 15-minute phone consultation, so please contact me if you have further questions.
**I work with children ages 13 years and older. I will on occasion see children younger than 13 years old, depending upon the maturity level of the child. I feel that younger, less mature children do best in a play therapy setting. Play therapy allows children to communicate and work through issues in a manner that is much more effective and in line with where they are at developmentally.