Change isn’t always easy to make sense of or adjust to. The disruption of familiar patterns can be confusing to navigate, and it requires you to be resilient and highly adaptable to cope. The adolescent years are characterized by several things happening all at once, but those mostly boil down to one thing: change. These years are a time of transition toward adulthood and gaining deeper self-understanding and identity. They can be a difficult time.

As one can imagine, being a teen can immerse one in all sorts of tumultuous changes, whether physical, emotional, mental, or social changes. Counseling for teens can play a positive role in the lives of teens as they try to navigate these various changes successfully.

The kinds of issues teens are dealing with

The teen years mark the beginnings of adulthood, and teens undergo a lot of change and development during those critical years. Their bodies mature, with various physiological changes occurring such as hair growth or the development of their sexual organs.

Not only do they undergo these physical changes, but as they are growing in independence, the teen years are marked by seeking out new experiences, taking risks, different kinds of social interactions, and so on.

Additionally, the adolescent years also bring with them the continued development of one’s critical reasoning skills. However, as their brains are still developing, teens may also have underdeveloped impulse control, which makes them vulnerable to intense emotions and risk-taking behaviors such as experimentation with sex, drugs, and alcohol. These years can thus be quite challenging, but they can also provide growth opportunities.

Being a teen can be a stressful time of life, between concerns such as schoolwork, extracurricular activities, building a resume for college, peer interactions, and all the ups and downs that accompany being a teen in the 21st century. It’s a sad reality that the number of teenagers battling with mental health concerns has escalated in recent years, with issues such as anxiety, depression, stress, self-harm, and suicide on the rise.

The stresses that come with being a teen mean that some benefits can be derived from counseling for all teens. However, some teenagers go through issues that require the support and guidance of a mental health professional such as a therapist or counselor. Below are some of the common concerns and challenges that teens face. With the help of a counselor or therapist, these concerns can be managed or overcome:

  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Peer pressure.
  • Issues with home life.
  • Academic pressures and other stresses.
  • Losing motivation or interest in school.
  • Experiencing bullying, whether in school or online on social media.
  • Stress from social media.
  • Experiencing significant life changes such as moving house, parents getting a divorce, or preparing to leave home for college.
  • Sexuality and gender identity issues.
  • Grief and loss.
  • Learning difficulties.
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Sexual and emotional abuse.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Trauma.
  • Social anxiety.
  • Loneliness.
  • Body image issues.
  • Eating disorders.
  • Substance abuse issues.
  • Acting out of control and other behavioral issues.
  • Anger management issues.

These and other issues can be addressed through counseling. However, your teen doesn’t need to be undergoing a crisis or experiencing significant difficulties for them to benefit from counseling. Your teen may want to take advantage of counseling simply to talk about delicate matters with someone other than a family member, such as issues of sexuality, racial or cultural discrimination, or romantic relationships.

How counseling for teens helps

One of the key things that counseling for teens provides is a space for them to talk freely about whatever stressors and issues they may be grappling with. During the session, your teen will talk with the licensed counselor, sharing their concerns and the questions they may have about particular issues. The counselor will help your teen by providing them with skills to apply in everyday situations, and strategies to cope with difficult emotions and experiences.

Life throws difficult situations in everyone’s way, including your teenager. Counseling helps your teen to not only understand and know how to use their strengths, but it builds their confidence and ability to accept and love themselves. Counseling helps them to handle and resolve difficult feelings in a healthy way, and how to grow into the resilient, compassionate, and capable people that God wants them to be.

It’s often not enough to simply handle situations when they come up. It also helps to understand the root cause of the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that shape us. Counseling is all about coming to grips with how you function and giving you the tools to work through issues toward a healthy resolution. This is some of what counseling provides to teens who choose to participate.

Therefore, counseling for teens helps by improving your teen’s self-esteem and confidence as a result of developing the coping skills necessary to deal with various life situations. By helping your teen learn how to deal with stress and nurture their emotional health, counseling helps to improve their mental health.

This will often result in positive gains like improved school performance, healthier interpersonal relationships, and self-understanding. Through the support of a trained and licensed counselor, your teen will be better able to express themselves, have deeper and healthier self-understanding, become more assertive and empathetic, as well as become better equipped to make good life choices now and into the future.

Signs that your teenager might benefit from counseling for teens

Counseling has many benefits, but that path often begins with a parent noticing that something isn’t quite right with their child. Counseling and calling for the help of a mental health professional isn’t a tool in a parents’ toolbelt that need only be used when a child is in crisis or is experiencing earth-shattering events. Seeing a counselor has the effect of nipping issues in the bud and preventing minor issues from devolving into major problems.

Each child is different, and each parent or caregiver will have a gut response toward the changes going on in their child’s life. There are many signs to suggest that your teenager is struggling in one way or another, and if you see these, take them seriously and consider professional counseling as an option to make use of. Trust yourself and your instincts and seek help sooner than later.

If you find your child experiencing a loss of interest in activities they once loved, or they have extreme mood swings, or there are sudden and significant changes in their friendship groups, or if you find that they are feeling sadness or hopelessness or feelings of worthlessness, you should consider finding help for them. Additionally, if their grades drop or they start skipping school and having behavioral issues, those may also be signs to look out for.

Further, look out for changes in their appetite or significant changes in their weight, as well as disrupted sleep patterns, increased irritable and angry behaviors, concerns with body image, drug and alcohol use or abuse, if they are thinking about or have attempted suicide or self-harm, and if they’re engaged in risky behaviors like drunk driving or unprotected sex with multiple partners, or if they get in trouble with the law, these are also signs to take seriously.

How parents can help their teens

For parents who see these or other signs in their teen that something is not right, the main thing is to pay attention and to be aware of what’s going on in their child’s life. If you think that your teen could benefit from counseling, schedule an appointment with a counselor. Just one or a few sessions could make a world of difference to your teen’s well-being. You can take them for sessions or join them in family counseling where that is needed.

It may be that your teenager isn’t interested in counseling for teens. There’s no need to worry since teens, just like other people, may be hesitant to talk about their concerns with someone.

Your teen can try just one or a few sessions to start with, to see what it’s like and if they’d like to continue. If they refuse to go for counseling in whatever shape or form, you can speak with a counselor so that you can be better equipped to help your teen deal with their concerns.

Contact us to set up a risk-free initial appointment with a faith-based professional today.

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