As a Parent you like to think that you are able to help your teen with whatever problems they face in their world. But as teens grow, sometimes parents are unable to meet all of the teen’s needs. Sometimes the world comes crashing in, situations change and your teens need a kind of help that no matter how much you love them you are unable to give. It is at those times that teens need professional help.
The first steps in making the decision to seek help for your teen is taking a look inside and acknowledging that sometimes it is very hard to seek support.
Perhaps you feel you've made mistakes along the way that didn't help the situation or in hindsight you understand more now and wish you hadn't reacted the way you did when your teen was acting out. These are all very normal feelings! But unless you have a crystal ball in your home that you forgot to gaze into, blaming yourself for what is going on won’t help. It is time to move forward and find out what is troubling your Teen.
How do you know if your teen needs professional help?
There are signs that will tell you if your teen needs professional help. They start by recognizing if your teen is getting along ok with friends and peers? Are they finding school and other activities difficult or not wanting to attend. Can you talk to your teen on a regular basis? If you've said 'no' to any of these questions you need to look at the reasons why.
Is this a normal phase your teen is going through that an everyday responsibility and discipline conversation would help your teen with, or is it something more that you can't quite put your finger on? If you are unsure, family counselling is a good place to help you make the decision. Often taking this route creates a feeling of relief as the pressure of puzzling out what is going on is taken away from you, but as the parent you are still in control. As a counsellor I will give you the options of what I see is going on. However you, as the parent, will still have the responsibility of making the decision of what help your teen should get, if needed.
I understand that Counselling can be a stressful situation for you as a parent, all that 'stuff' you and your teens are struggling with comes along to the Counselling session. It's often not fun. But it will work for you, your teen and the rest of your family.
There are warning signs of troubled teen behaviour that should make you as a parent aware that your teen needs help immediately - no puzzling needed.
These signs are different; they are more like big red flags. It is common that these signs are ignored at first by parents. Then, they get bigger and bigger and cause other problems in the teen's life. That is the time most parents get involved and wonder if they should seek outside help.
The answer is Yes! If your teen is exhibiting these signs, seek professional help right away:
Signs of depression
Participating in illegal activities
Failing school - If this is the only problem, tutoring is a start but talk to the guidance officer as well. If there are other problems and this is just a symptom, seek counselling for your teen especially if bullying or peer group pressure is identified or suspected.
Sexual acting out
Changes in friends or activities - especially if the friends are into drugs or other illicit activities.
Eating problems - have you noticed your teen not eating, over eating or have they shown signs of purging after a meal?
Inappropriate anger - aiming angry feelings towards you or exhibiting violent behaviour is cause for great concern.
Significant changes in mood or behaviour
Sometime teen's whilst they may exhibit a few of the behaviours above are struggling more with self-identity and role confusion (who am I, what is my role in my family and society, am I able to give and receive love) often these developmental concerns are better resolved 1:1 with your teen. With occasional parental involvement.
During the counselling process, your teen's uncomfortable feelings and emotions can be explored and expressed in a safe environment. Unspoken and unshared feelings can become very powerful and lead to long term problems. Counselling offers a safe place for your teen to talk about difficult things without the fear of rejection or negative reactions.
You don't have to cope with your or your teens difficulties alone. To contact me Ph 0481 326 858 or leave your details on my contact page and I will contact you.
I am here to help