Counseling for Teens
Adolescence has got to be one of the most challenging times in the life cycle of a human being. As the stage of transition between youth and adulthood, it is a time when the identity of the child crumbles, and the teen begins the arduous process of finding out who he or she wants to be in the world. What am I good at? What do I like? And most importantly, what do other people think of me?
Parents tend to have strong ideas of who they want their teens to be, and may utilize any means necessary to force those ideas upon their children. Conflict is inevitable. To intensify the problem, teens begin to care less and less what their parents think and more and more about what their peers think. Both teen and parent easily become caught in a trap between what each person wants and what others in the family system expect. The whole thing can be quite a mess.
My approach to counseling is to work toward balance between the desires and the expectations interacting in the family system. Unless the teen’s behavior needs to be immediately addressed, I prefer to meet with the family together in order to assess the situation from the broadest perspective possible. Once goals for therapy can be established, I will work with the teen to establish a relationship of trust and respect. In that environment, we can genuinely assess what behaviors are leading to greater health and happiness, and which behaviors are detracting from that sense of well-being. We will strategize to make positive changes, and work with parents and other family members when necessary to optimize the functioning of the family system.
Raising a teenager is challenging work, but there will be no task more important in the lives of parents. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!