Being a teenager is tough. Sure, adulting isn’t great either, but at least we get some of the benefits that teens don’t get. After years of working in the field, this is what a teen might say if asked to describe their world:
- I’m not yet an adult and no longer a child. I’m told to grow up and act more mature then I’m reminded that I am not an adult, I don’t own anything and I owe my parents for everything they give me.
- At school I’m told I’m just a paycheck to the teacher. They don’t care about me like my parents think they do. And at home my parents aren’t willing to help me with my schoolwork. I feel like my parents want my teachers to do something they aren’t and at school it feels like my teachers want my parents to do something they aren’t. And I’m stuck in the middle.
- My body is doing weird things. I’m tired all the time. I’m either too tall or too short, too thin or too thick. I feel all of those in the same day. I’m thinking about sex, and who I like and don’t like. If people knew some of my thoughts they would think I was gross.
- I have to be perfect or at least entertaining or else I’m not going to be followed or liked. If I’m not followed or liked, then who will want to be with me?
- I have no idea what I want for dinner let alone what to do for the rest of my life. There is so much pressure to be planning out all of that now. Where to go to school, what to study, how to make it all happen.
You think reading that is hard? Try living it now, in the age of social media, in the age of shame, in the age of ruthless pandemic. That sounds anxiety provoking huh? And we think you probably wouldn’t be the most engaging bubbly person if all of this was running through your mind either.
We also know this can also be a time of great tension with those that love a teenager. The child you planned for and raised isn’t what you have now. You begin to question where you’ve gone wrong, why this person doesn’t appreciate your great sacrifice.
We’ve heard parents cries for help too:
- How do I go about supporting my teenager?
- How do I do this without enabling unwanted behavior?
- How do I keep them accountable without pushing them away?
- Why are they so difficult
Teens and their loved ones, we hear your struggles. We see your pain and dissatisfaction. And we know it doesn’t have to continue. In an ideal world counseling would proceed with 3 parts: 1) We, the counselors, invite the teen client into our offices first. Allow them the space to unfold, and experience the relationship of an understanding adult with minimal expectations. 2) Another counselor, invite the parent/guardian in separately to navigate their feelings of disrespect and grief to be explored. Grief from what you dreamt of 15 years ago that is different from what you sit eye to eye with today. 3) Once both parties have information to communicate to the other, a joint session is scheduled with 1 or both of the counselors.
We hope by outlining treatment in this way, both parties are heard by someone that can actually hear them- a trained therapist. Initially parents/guardians cannot hear their teens and teens cannot hear their parents/guardians. After each party has found the deeper words they want to share with the other, then those words can be exchanged. Its really a beautiful and life changing experience for both parties.
If you are ready to change your relationship with a teen that you love, give us a call.
- Young adults (more information coming soon)
- Matriarchs (more information coming soon)
- Substance use (more information coming soon)
- Maternal mental health (more information coming soon)
- Oppressed minorities(more information coming soon)
- Cancer survivors (more information coming soon)