Does Your Teen Seem Sad or Distant?
-Has your teen been behaving in ways that are causing you concern about his or her emotional health?
-Do you worry that your teen isn’t being open and honest with you about his or her problems?
-Do you wish, more than anything, that you knew how to help your teen live a happy and healthy life?
Raising a teenager can be tough work. Many adolescents struggle as they navigate schoolwork, new relationships, and their ever-changing hormones and emotions. Some teens seem to lose interest in friends or activities that they once enjoyed. You may have noticed a decline in grades. Perhaps you worry that your teen is not engaging fully with the world and/or not reaching his or her full potential.
Perhaps your family has recently experienced a significant change, such as the death of a loved one, a long-distance move, or a divorce. You may wonder how you can help your teen adjust to change as well as address the challenges of everyday teenage life.
You may feel as though your teen doesn’t want to share his or her thoughts and emotions with you. You may feel frustrated and helpless. But, you and your teen are not alone.
The Teenage Years Are Tough
Many teens struggle with school and/or social issues, often caused by depression or, more commonly, anxiety. Teens often feel overwhelmed by academic demands or find it difficult to motivate themselves to study or do homework. Some teenagers act out in class or at home, challenging the authority of the adults around them. Others feel self-conscious around their peers and avoid situations that might embarrass them, such as parties or school events.
The teenage years are difficult. Teenagers are charged with trying to navigate bigger and broader social environments, surges in hormones, and the stresses of trying to fit in. And, many teens feel as though they can’t adequately express their emotions. They may worry that their thoughts and feelings are too strange to be talked about, or feel pressured to figure things out on their own. They may know they aren’t happy, but lack the vocabulary to describe what is happening in their minds, bodies, and emotions. Your teen may not realize that his or her problems are fixable, and that he or she can wake up feeling happy and excited to face the day. But, with the help of an experienced therapist, your teen can learn to identify his or her problems, work through them, and feel confident again.
Give Your Teen the Opportunity to Grow
The qualified therapists at Ann Arbor Counseling Associates have helped many parents and teenagers work through common teen issues. By listening without judgment, we can help your teen identify the physical, mental, emotional, and academic stressors that may be causing him or her to avoid schoolwork or social interactions. Most often, we help teens understand and manage anxiety. If your teen, like many others, is struggling with anxiety or heightened stress, a highly trained and skilled Ann Arbor Counseling therapist can help your teen develop relaxation techniques to use in moments of worry or panic.
We offer a safe environment for your teen to share his or her thoughts, fears, and hopes. We understand that many teens may resist therapy or may not know where to begin. If your teen struggles to talk openly and honestly while sitting still, our therapists can encourage him or her to open up by using age-appropriate theraputic approaches, such as creative play therapy. For example, we may try a modified board game that prompts your teen to discuss various emotions.
At Ann Arbor Counseling Associates, we work to gain your teen’s trust. Once your teen opens up and begins sharing, your teen’s skilled therapist can listen for patterns and signs of potential issues. There is no such things as talking about “nothing.” Years of training and experience give us the knowledge and understanding needed to uncover what your teen is trying to express. Once your teen feels comfortable and ready to talk, we can identify, explore, and address your teen’s issues and begin to help your teen find happiness and balance.
Although you may feel that therapy could be right for your teen, you may still have questions or concerns…
Therapy Hasn’t Helped My Teen in the Past…
Perhaps you have tried teen therapy before and saw no positive results. Remember that every therapist is different, just as every teen has a unique mind and personality. A good fit is essential for therapy to work, and your teen’s previous therapist may have been the wrong fit for your teen. If traditional talk therapy did not help your teen, our play therapy approach might.
What if My Teen Doesn’t Want Therapy?
It can be tough to convince your teen to give therapy a try. He or she may resist and think that therapy will be a waste of time. However, people can do anything for an hour. Talk to your teen and explain that therapy is a safe, non-judgmental space for open, honest communication. Our therapists are here to listen and to help.
If My Teen Doesn’t Talk to Me, He/She Won’t Talk to a Stranger…
Many teens have trouble expressing their thoughts and emotions. Some worry that they might be judged or shunned if they open up to a close friend or family member. But, your teen’s therapist is a non-judgmental and removed third party skilled in earning adolescents’ trust. Therapy may give your teen the opportunity to begin sharing openly and honestly.
Your Teen Can Develop Healthy Mental and Emotional Habits
If you are overwhelmed and worried about your teen, it may be time to seek help. At Ann Arbor Counseling Associates, we can help to crack the shell your teen has constructed. Our therapists understand the issues that today’s teens face in school, amongst friends, and in their own hearts, bodies, and minds. We can help your teen develop skills to adjust to change and address issues happily, healthily, and openly.
Some of the reasons parents bring their teen into counseling include:
- Symptoms associated with ADD/ADHD
- Defiance or behavioral issues
- Bullying other kids or getting bullied
- Struggles with gender identity
- Engaging in self-harm behaviors
- Grief and loss
- Family conflict
-Trauma including sexual, emotional, or physical abuse
-Symptoms associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Worrisome substance use or addictive behaviors
- Difficulty succeeding in school
- Concern over choices the teen is making within their social circle or social isolation
- Engaging in risky behaviors