Are you worried about your teen’s academic performance, ability to connect with peers, sudden shifts in mood or behavior or ability to manage anger, disappointment or other difficult feelings? Do you and your teen argue about everything from homework, to choice of friends to his or her rebellious behavior? Perhaps your teen skips class or refuses to go to school altogether, making every morning feel like an uphill battle. Or maybe your teen has become withdrawn, shutting you out, and spending hours alone in his or her bedroom. Are you concerned about an issue at school – be it a drop in grades, a potential learning disability or that your teen is being bullied or may actually be a bully him or herself? Does your teen seem to be struggling following a loss, trauma, divorce or another significant life transition? Do you wish you could better understand your teen’s experience and knew how to help him or her feel balanced, happy and successful?
It can be a frustrating, confusing and even seemingly helpless experience to parent a teenager who is having difficulties in school, with peer relationships or feeling good about his or herself and place in the world. As parents we want to protect our children, but many of us are not prepared or equipped to deal with some of the challenges that impact our children. Your teen may be grappling with making and keeping friends, misinterpreting social cues or becoming the subject of ridicule at school or on social media platforms. Social or other issues, such as a trauma, loss or a major life change, may be causing your child to struggle with self-esteem, self-doubt and perhaps even anxiety and/or depression. The pressure to succeed may also be impacting your teenager. You might worry that your teen has a learning disability, developed perfectionistic thinking or is simply too overwhelmed by a demanding workload. You may be concerned that he or she is at risk or currently abusing substances or is engaging in promiscuous sex or other risky behavior.
Many Teenagers Struggle Through The Ups And Downs Of Adolescence
By their very nature, the teenage years are tough. Add to that the enormous demands that are placed on today’s teenager. The pressure to succeed is rampant. Many students are taking a full schedule of classes and trying to juggle a heavy workload as well as extracurricular activities. Social media, central in most teens’ lives, presents even more complex challenges. Some students come to define their self-worth by the number of likes or followers they have. Many teens also face cyber-bullying, which can be devastating and widespread. While online gaming or forums give shy teens a social outlet, they can also prevent teens from forming deeper, more intimate relationships. In some cases, online activity can be addictive, increase social anxieties and fuel avoidant behavior.
Combine all these challenges with normal adolescent development: hormonal changes, the desire to become more independent and learning to navigate an increasingly more complex social environment. Now add to that a potential learning disability, ADHD, depression, anxiety, trouble making friends or a difficult adjustment, such as a divorce or a death, and life for your teen can feel chaotic.
While almost all teens could benefit from a little extra guidance and support during the whirlwind teenage years, there are some who really need it. If your teenager has been struggling to feel good about him or herself and/or to function well in school, with peers or at home, teen counseling can help your teen feel better, build confidence, increase self-awareness and achieve his or her goals.
Teen Counseling Can Help Your Child Manage Complex Emotions, Navigate The Social Landscape And Thrive In School
Teen counseling provides a safe space for your teenager to explore feelings, identify new ways to understand and solve problems, develop healthy coping mechanisms and feel less stuck in daily life. Developing a strong therapeutic relationship with the right professional is key. When teens feel that a therapist listens to them in a non-judgmental manner, defenses loosen, they feels understood and valued and it becomes easier to speak more openly. At this point, a teen and therapist can work together to pinpoint the dynamics that are holding him or her back academically, emotionally or socially.
In teen therapy sessions, we can help your child identify, explore and address the thoughts, feelings and issues that are causing him or her distress. Sometimes school is the cause (a learning disability, attention issue or social difficulty impacts self-esteem, for example). Some teens are faced with difficult circumstances outside of school (such as divorce, the loss of a loved one or a traumatic event), which make everyday life in school, in other social settings and at home difficult or unbearable in some cases. At other times, teenagers develop depression and/or anxiety, which can impact all aspects of their lives. Either way, teen counseling can help your child learn to manage and overcome the negative feelings associated with self-esteem, peer relationships and school.
In a safe, nonjudgmental setting, your teen can learn how to cope with difficult emotions and manage stress. Your teen can learn how to express feelings, improve social skills and identify any disruptive or unhealthy patterns. A therapist can help your teen recognize and build on his or her strengths, as well as set meaningful achievable goals, which can help build self-confidence. As your teen begins to increase confidence and self-awareness, he or she can also develop a new meaning of the world and build his or her capacity to thoughtfully reflect on experiences.
Because each teenager is different, we will tailor sessions to best support your teen and address his or her specific needs and goals. Whether it’s academics, peer relationships, anxiety or depression, his or her therapist can create a strategy that helps your child open up and develop the skills, personal insights and tools that will help him or her not only now, but also set the stage for future wellbeing and success.
You may believe that you teen could benefit from extra support, but still have some questions or concerns about teen counseling…
Many teens are ambivalent or even fearful about starting counseling. If your teen is recoiling at the idea of therapy, it can be helpful to involve your child in the process. Finding the right therapist for your teen is important, as a good fit between therapist and client is key to successful treatment. You can suggest to your teen that he or she meet the therapist and see if he or she feels comfortable. Asking your teen for input helps to establish that the therapist is there to be his or her therapist. This way, your teen can begin to “own” the process and think about his or her own goals in treatment.
I’ve heard that teen therapy can be expensive and take a long time.
We recognize that therapy is a serious commitment in both time and money. However, investing in your teenager’s mental health may prove invaluable. Seeking help for ongoing issues now may offset other or more serious circumstances down the line. It has become clear just how important it is to address mental health issues as soon as possible. Research shows that when left untreated, psychological disorders can lead to more severe illness, which can be more difficult to treat later on in life. Therapy during this critical time can also provide your teenager with useful skills that he or she can use throughout life. While Cope With School NYC does not participate on insurance panels, we can provide you with a detailed invoice that you may be able to submit to your insurance carrier for reimbursement.
How involved can I be in my teen’s therapy?
Teen counseling can help you feel supported, as well as improve the relationship between you and your teen. While ongoing collaboration is essential throughout the therapy process, your teen’s sessions are confidential (except in cases of danger of harm to self or others). That said, your teen will also understand that his or her therapist will be in regular contact with you to discuss overall progress, listen to concerns and provide updates.
You and your teen don’t have to navigate this challenging time on your own. In therapy, your teen can feel safe, understood and begin making the positive changes that can impact his or her life in positive ways. We invite you to call us for a free 10-minutes phone consultation to discuss your teen’s specific needs and to answer any questions you have about teen counseling and Cope With School NYC.