Are You Worried That Your Teen Is Shutting Down or Acting Out?
Has your high-school or college-aged child stopped talking to you about his or her thoughts, feelings and experiences? Do you sense that something is wrong, but your teen keeps pushing you away, snapping at you or withdrawing when you ask him or her what is going on? Your teen might be acting strangely, making you wonder where your engaged, loving and happy child has gone. Maybe your teen has started doing poorly in school, avoiding social gatherings, struggling to maintain a healthy sleep pattern, making sudden dietary changes or acting reluctant to engage in extracurricular activities that you thought he or she enjoyed. Perhaps you are concerned that you have done something wrong or that your child might be struggling with something serious, such as depression, anxiety or an eating disorder. Do you wish you could help your son or daughter regain the confidence and joy that you know he or she deserves?
Perhaps your child is very involved in school, sports, theater and other activities, and you want him or her to excel in every possible way. But, your teen might suddenly seem like he or she is just going through the motions, without any real excitement, enjoyment or desire to put forth his or her best effort. Maybe your teen’s lethargy, irritability and low self-esteem are making you worry about his or her well-being and chances for success in the future. Your child may have told you that he or she feels ugly, worthless or miserable. You might feel helpless and wonder how to help your child feel happy.
Many Teens Struggle With Self-Judgment, Stress and Low Self-Confidence
The teenage years are full of challenges and changes, especially for today’s teens. So many teens face internal and societal pressures to earn the best possible grades, excel in extracurriculars and get into top colleges so that they can have a head start on their careers and the rest of their lives. Once they are in college, they find themselves balancing heavy course loads, internships and more demanding extracurricular responsibilities. In addition, they face a range of other challenges, from changes in their bodies, problems with friends and worries about romantic relationships.
It is very common for teens to feel like they have to be at the top in every area of their lives, which often means they are working twelve hours a day, neglecting sleep and other forms of physical and emotional self-care. One mistake can lead to a spiral of self-doubt and overwhelming fears about the future. When all of these pressures grow to be too much, many shut down, act out or begin behaving in self-destructive ways in order to feel in control, stable or temporarily calm. Thankfully, with help and support, your child can find the strength, security and self-awareness he or she needs to live the best possible life.
Teen Counseling Can Help Your Teen Feel Heard and Empowered
For over 25 years, I have been helping teens feel confident and capable of navigating the challenges life throws at them. I work with care and compassion, and I treat every single individual like just that – an individual with unique fears, worries, strengths and experiences. During the counseling process, I draw on my experience and tailor every session to best support your teen’s particular needs in the moment so that he or she can feel comfortable, empowered and understood.
It is very important to me that you, as a parent, feel comfortable that your child will be my priority. I will forge a bond that will enable the changes you are hoping to create and in the process develop a greater sense of self confidence for your child. I have found that working in this way results in the teen seeing and reaching their potential and tremendous satisfaction and contentment is achieved. As a parent of three children in their 20s, I know exactly how challenging raising a teenager can be, and I use my experience both as a parent and a therapist during teen counseling. You and your teenager are not alone, and with added guidance and support can help your teen overcome shame, low self-esteem and any other challenges that are holding him or her back.
In sessions, I will build a strong, trusting relationship with your child so that he or she can be vulnerable, open and honest with me. I also share my personal contact information with teens so that they can reach out to me in times of confusion or crisis. Your teen is at a very fragile moment in life, and I will connect with him or her at his or her level – with respect and by developing a partnership – in order to offer the best possible help. I will not set out to label your child with a diagnosis. Instead, I will work with your teen to resolve the critical issues that are preventing their happiness and success. Together with your child I will assist in building the confidence needed to reach his or her goals and dreams without fear or insecurity.
Through teen counseling, your child can develop confidence and identify and build upon his or her strengths. He or she can let go of the need to compare him or herself to others or be the best in every single thing. By working with empathy and commitment, I can help your teen feel capable of nurturing his or her best possible self. Your child can build a foundation for a happy, healthy future.
You may believe that teen counseling can help your teen work through tough challenges, but still have questions or concerns...
My child won’t come to teen counseling.
Many teens feel reluctant to try therapy. But, I encourage you to push your son or daughter to come to just one session. I find that after our first session, when teens learn that I am not going to force them into anything or judge them they want to continue to see me. If your child wants, he or she can call me before coming into a session. I am open, honest and here to meet your child’s needs.
I’ve tried to help my teen before, but nothing works.
You may be feeling helpless and hopeless and wondering if you have done something wrong as a parent. I want to assure you that parenting a teen is incredibly challenging, and you are not alone in feeling that way. You don’t need to feel guilty or frustrated. Counseling offers your child a way to talk about his or her feelings in a new setting where he or she can get a new perspective on life’s challenges. If your teen doesn’t respond to your suggestions or has been negative about therapy in the past, I encourage you to frame counseling as something for you. Sometimes, teens need to feel as though they aren’t being labeled or blamed. Then, personalized, nonjudgmental counseling can help your teen feel heard, acknowledged and supported.
My teen doesn’t have time for therapy.
Between school, socializing and extracurriculars, many teens have hectic lives. I am flexible with my schedule and offer phone sessions so that your teen can participate in counseling when he or she is able. While your child may be very busy, counseling can help him or her feel more confident, engaged and better equipped to make the most out of all of the opportunities in his or her life. Phone sessions become particularly beneficial while away at college, we are able to maintain progress and address new issues that arise in the new environment.
Teen Counseling Can Help Your Teen Find Relief
If you are worried about your teen and eager to offer him or her the best possible support, I invite you to call me at 908-522-9439 for a free, 30-minute phone consultation. You and/or your teen can ask any questions you may have about counseling and my practice.