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A day in the life of a teen or a parent of a teen is not easy. It wasn’t for you and it’s not for them. walk in the park. Teens face unique challenges, drama, and new stressors every day. Many teens have good intentions and mean well but the delivery is rough. Sometimes they just need support and mentoring to succeed. At some point in your child’s education they may struggle academically, socially, and emotionally. If a struggle or problem at school, work, or home does not go away, it’s time to meet with a teen counseling expert.
As a parent I’m sure you remember your teenage years. Things were different for you then. Remember it is different for them too. All things considered your teen years were different than theirs. However, there are a lot of normal teen behaviors that you both showed some (listed below) that we think are normal are listed below.
- being moody and secretive
- spending time alone in their room
- getting frustrated easily and storms out of the room
- impatient and short tempered especially with parents
- wants to spend time with everyone else but family
- says things like “you don’t understand,” “I wish I didn’t live here,” “You don’t respect me”
- frequently complaining and restless
It may be easy to think your teen is out of control when they are showing some of the normal teen behaviors we’ve listed above. However, that’s not necessarily being out of control. When we think of out of control we really mean those behaviors that really can cause harm to the teen or others.
As a general rule the behaviors listed below are not normal and counseling is strongly recommended:
- destroying property that belongs to you or others
- physically abusing others
- being verbally abusive, threatening, or using intimidation
- coming home drunk or high
- not following curfew and staying out all night
- getting arrested or having encounters with the law
- self-harm behaviors like cutting, binge eating, restricted eating,
- having multiple sexual partners without concern for pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections
First, please do not mistake the out of control behaviors as ‘normal.’ When these behaviors are not addressed you and your teen will get a wake up call that is not going to be pleasant.
Second, the earlier you let your teen know what is acceptable and what is not the better. If you’re not sure how to do that it’s ok we can help you with that. Teen counseling can better equip you and your teen for success.
Finally, just understand that all kids and teens need to feel in control. So do parents. Teens who act out are trying to tell you they want some control over their life. That’s good. They just need to know and be shown how to do that in ways that are helpful not hurtful. Our Jenison teen counseling experts can help!
First, want you to know the Great Lakes Wellness Counseling teen counseling and therapy experts look at the whole person. This includes their physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs. We consider physical changes such as bodyweight, hormone levels, the menstrual cycle, and developments in their brains.
Second, our teen therapists use evidenced based practices. Your teen will learn to control their emotions better and communicate more. Other awesome side effects include better decision making, increased motivation, studying more, respecting you and other authority figures, making new friends, and the creation and maintenance of healthy habits. We’re watching out for you and your teen’s wellbeing, it’s our priority!
Teen therapy can also address identity changes, decision making skills, motivation issues, and how they view life. Peer pressures, friend group changes, high academic work loads, new responsibilities, and social media use are just a few of the areas teen therapy can help manage.
First, we will collaborate with both the parent/guardian and the teen. Sessions will usually be one-on-one between the teen therapist or teen mental health provider. This may be frustrating to you as a parent but trust us, this boundary works wonders in helping teens feel in control and invested in the process.
Then, some information may be given to you with teen’s consent. If harm to self or others is disclosed (e.g., self harm or suicidal thinking) we will share this with you to help keep your teen safe. When your teen knows their privacy is kept, it’s helpful to the progress you’re looking to have happen.
After a few sessions changes will show up. As a parent we know that you want to see changes right away so life at home will calm down more. That is an unrealistic expectation. Things will settle down but probably slower than you think and that’s OK. It’s ok for you to be nervous about that. Above all, we understand what you’re going through and need you to trust the process. There’s a time period where your teen will decide if they want to be real with themselves and the teen therapy expert. They test us just like they test you. This just takes time. When they trust the therapist the work really takes off.
Start today! Get the peace and happiness back in the life of you and your teen.