Should my adolescent have a therapist?
Having your adolescent come to therapy can provide a safe place to explore the frustrations, confusion, awkwardness, and emotional turmoil that many go through. If you’d like to schedule a counseling appointment for your adolescent, click here. But first, let’s talk about some key realities of adolescence…
Adolescence is weird
Adolescence is this awkward, uncomfortable, stressful stage of life in which the body is beginning to develop into an adult, however the mind is not yet fully developed.
Adolescents are growing a mature body that is connected to a not yet fully mature brain. It makes sense, then, why so many adolescents have problems at school, difficulty making healthy decisions, and often feel as if they can’t control their emotions.
Adolescence is special
Think of how you felt that first time someone kissed you. Think about how intense your emotions were when your heart was broken for the first time. Adolescents are often experiencing betrayal, love, passion, and a certain degree of independence for the first time. These experiences during adolescence serve as our baseline for intense emotion. After adolescence, we measure our experiences off of that original baseline. This is why when your adolescent child tells you they are completely devastated over their recent break-up, we should take them seriously.
Adolescence is difficult
Trying to navigate the world with limited independence in a body that feels foreign can be scary and difficult. Adolescents often experience anxiety, depression, ADHD, and even trauma. It can be critical for an adolescent to have a counselor or therapist to be the impartial 3rd party that can help them navigate the complexities of the physical, social, spiritual world around them.
Adolescence is formative
It may be easy for us as adults to minimize the emotional turmoil of a seemingly insignificant issue in an adolescent’s life, but that’s because we are comparing it to adult issues, like not being able to pay the mortgage or going through a divorce. The struggle that the adolescent goes through may be the most difficult struggle she has been through in her entire life. In this sense, adolescent issues are even more of a big deal than adult issues. How adolescents grow and expand through this time of their lives lays the foundation for how they cope with adversity during adulthood.
Adolescents are also beginning to be exposed to varying world views and belief systems for the first time (especially if they grow up somewhere like Ann Arbor, MI). Realizing that not everyone thinks the way that they, or their family, thinks can be confusing for an adolescent.
Adolescence is defining
Adolescence is often where we truly begin to form our identity. It’s often where we start thinking about things like finding meaning. Up until adolescence, we don’t really have a lot of say in what we do, where we go, whom we hang out with, or what our options are. Adolescents begin to ask questions like, “What is the point of doing this math homework? How is this going to help me in the long run?” Trying to answer these questions genuinely can be difficult and can leave parents frustrated.
How can counseling help adolescents?
As parents, we want to do everything we can to help our kids remain safe and to promote their personal growth. Because of this, parents often struggle with realizing that there is only so much they can do while their child is growing through adolescence. It is common for parents to feel powerless when it comes to their adolescent. You may ask yourself questions like, “When did my child stop listening to me? When did I become the bad guy? How come they don’t listen to what I’m saying anymore?” The good news is that they are still listening to what you are saying, but the scary news is that they are truly listening to what you are saying and are now doing it with a more critical ear. If you feel this way as a parent, know that it is normal!
Counseling can provide a safe place for your adolescent to explore the various challenges that they’ll be presented with during this important season of their life. Having a therapist for your adolescent can allow them to have an impartial 3rd party that they trust. Therapy can help adolescents with behavior changes, emotion regulation, methods for building healthy relationships, and more. Establishing a healthy working counselor-client relationship will allow the adolescent to add a new and important layer to their support system.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment for you and your adolescent.