I think most people would agree that the modern world is a fairly stressful place to live.
I know, even as an adult, that there are always issues and situations that come up that present challenges, and that’s just the things we have some control over.
Most adults have pretty good coping skills and strategies that help them maneuver through challenges. These protective factors can include good lifestyle habits and strong social networks.
For teenagers, it can be a quite different story, not just because they sometimes just haven’t really established themselves securely in life and society.
But also because they’re often still trying to establish who they actually are.
Also, physiologically, teenagers are also just starting to develop the reasoning part of their brain, and this can mean most decisions are based more frequently on emotion, rather than the common sense that you and I might use.
We’re also pre-wired to want to break away from our parents and establish our own identity and independence in our teen years.
Teenagers today also appear to be much more exposed to “real life” than generations before, and that’s not even taking into account social media exposure.
What teens learn about and experience today, especially in earlier teen years, can be quite different from what was placed before previous generations.
So, it can all be a real minefield for teens and parents alike.
Our teenagers today really do need more support.
Yes, social workers, counsellors, and psychologists deployed in our school system do a wonderful job, but it can be limited by time, resources, and the scope of support given.
Supporting your teenager through some external counselling can bring some key advantages, especially the firm bond that can be built between your teen and a private counsellor.
In addition, it minimises the fear of being judged by their peers for needing a little extra support.
This can then hopefully flow through to a better bond between you and your teen.
I believe it does take a little time to build up a strong rapport with a client, sometimes, this is especially true with a young person.
Now that I’m in my mid-20s, I realize that the support I had external to my family and friend networks, helped me better navigate the challenges that I faced in my formative years.
But, I admit, I was a bit reticent early on to “open up” to a stranger.
My own counselling journey as a teenager inspired me to want to dedicate my career to trying to make a difference for others.
Why is Counselling important for teenagers?
Well, I thought I would just highlight some external findings that might indicate the differences between adults and teens, especially around decision-making and communication.
A recent study found adolescents are more likely than children or adults to engage in risky and impulsive behaviors such as reckless driving, binge drinking, unprotected sex, and experimenting with drugs.
Sometimes issues between parents and teenagers come from parents trying to problem solve for their teens, a strategy which can be quite invalidating for the young person.
While there’s even been research that has found the adolescent brain is hard-wired to tune out their mothers’ voices.
So, maybe what you’ve been trying to do as a parent, just hasn’t quite hit the target?
Don’t give up. Other research, perhaps not at all surprisingly, found strong parental relationships are linked to higher levels of self-control in teenagers, as well as higher self-esteem.
Here’s an interesting video from Professor Dan Siegel discussing the changes occurring within the adolescent brain if you would like a little more insight.
I hope to be able to provide a safe place for your teenager to come to. Somewhere they can talk and be validated, without expectation.
Helping young people better deal with the challenges they face in an environment that fosters their uniqueness and growing independence will hopefully help build not only a happier and more resilient person but also help you build deeper links with your teen.
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