The teenage years are understandably worrying and frightening for many parents. The age of 13/14 brings a lot of changes developmentally and it’s when we see most teens start to act out. But there is a difference between pushing boundaries at this age and other more serious concerns. If the school counsellor, child’s teacher or someone else has alerted you to significant changes in behaviour or personality presentation of your child, it’s time to engage a professional like an adolescent counsellor or family therapist to help.
Get help if your teenager is showing behaviours like eating problems, depression, anxiety, self-harming or suicidal ideation. Also seek help if your adolescent is school refusing, underage drinking and/or taking drugs. If left unchecked, these behaviours can lead to serious antisocial behaviours, criminal activity, running away, incarceration and even suicide or death by accident.
It often takes teamwork by skilled professionals to get an at-risk teen engaged back into the community and family in a healthy way.
It is vital that parents and other family members are engaged in the process and able to attend sessions when required.
These are some of the situations you may be facing if you are parent of a teenager:
- Your teen appears to be attracted to other teens who are not on track themselves or has gotten into the wrong crowd.
- Your adolescent will not talk to you, appears angry and resentful of you.
- Your adolescent is having panic attacks or appears depressed. Or you suspect they are being bullied.
- Your adolescent’s grades have dropped at school. And they appear to be struggling socially.
- Your teenager has become aggressive in the home and you are walking on egg shells around him/her. They have perhaps punched holes in the walls or taken doors off hinges.
- Your adolescent is self-harming and anxious and you are scared they are going to attempt suicide.
- Your adolescent is refusing to go to school and won’t leave the house or their bedroom.
- Your adolescent is fighting with other family members and is intimidating or threatening them.
- You have caught your adolescent lying and stealing from you or other family members.
- There appears to be a worrying change in your adolescent’s personality and you wonder whether there is something else going on.
- Your adolescent has started going out and not returning home on their curfew. Or running away.
- The school counsellor has been in contact with you and expressed concern about your teenager.
How family counselling can help you and your teenager:
- Parents will learn ways to manage frightening and aggressive behaviours in the home.
- Parents will learn how to set appropriate boundaries and limit setting.
- Parents will learn how to set appropriate consequences for negative behaviour.
- Parents will learn how to support their teenager who is showing depression and anxiety.
- Parents will be helped to get onto the same parenting page.
- Parents will learn how to manage suicidal ideation.
- The adolescent might be involved in both individual and family sessions to help them get back on track.
- Parents will learn skills and gain information that will make it easier to manage their adolescent’s difficult developmental stage.
- Family counselling will help repair relationships that have been affected by a teenager’s actions or behaviour.
- The Family Therapist will work with other professionals to get your adolescent back on track and attending school.
Book to make an appointment with a Family Therapist who has experience working with adolescents.