Teens are in a developmental stage in which they are gaining an understanding of their independence, consequences and emotions.
It is a difficult stage that can be much more complicated when combined with depression or anxiety.
Many parents do not understand the difference between everyday behavior and a child who is depressed or anxious.
Developmentally teens value true friendships above all else.
Friends become a priority and your teen begins to develop the ability to think about the world in an abstract sense. Teens can feel as if they want to fit in and belong. A problem can arise if a teen has negative influences, friendships, relationships or they have a strained relationship with a family member.
Learning to make positive life choices, have healthier friends and grow in the right direction is very important when we are teens. Our teen years are a foundation for our adult years and the transition to college.
Does you teen test the limits or push boundaries?
Remember, they want to establish independence and do not yet know how. They also do not have a full understanding as to how consequences work and have difficulty understanding some behaviors have lifelong impacts. They can be more impulsive and make decisions based on a sporadic thoughts, without fully processing their choices.
Although they are learning what limits are, behavior associated with testing the limits may be based on depression or anxiety. Depressive and anxious thoughts may prevent your teen from rationalizing and attempting to compromise on a healthier, safer or more sound decision.
Does your teen behave negatively and is it based on uncomfortable emotions and illogical thinking vs. logical thoughts?
The emotions of out teens are maturing and they are learning to process and understand their own emotions. They may experience occasional mood swings, be increasingly sensitive and want to keep their distance from parents. The poor ability to understand and cope with their newly discovered emotions may lead to risky behavior, such as: self harm, drug use, alcohol use and sexual activity.
It is important your teen learns to connect and process uncomfortable emotions in a healthy way. By learning to cope with their anxious or depressed emotions, they can regain control over their decision making, which can impact relationships, behaviors and success.
Still not sure if how your teen is acting, is related to depression or anxiety?
Although some behavior that your teen may exhibit are pretty standard, it can also cause confusion of what is truly typical. If your teen is exhibiting increased irritability, loneliness, sadness, guilt, worry, fear, anxiety, anger, poor decision making, poor emotional stability and has little coping skills for a period of at least TWO weeks, it is important that you talk about counseling with them.
Your Teen Must Be Willing to Participate in Therapy
Not all teens want counseling. Remember that as a parent you can help guide them and point them in a better direction. If your teen is unsure of counseling, remember that it is normal. Anything new can be scary for ANYONE.
Please empathize with them, and ask them what they know about therapy? Maybe all they need is for your to normalize it and not make it a punishment. Therapy is a safe space for your teen to talk, not to punish or get in trouble. They can talk freely about any topic with no judgement.
The teens we meet with want to grow, evolve and change their thoughts. We also encourage your teen check out our blog and Social Media pages, that may help ease the anxiety of coming into therapy as well.