Whichever way you slice it, adolescents have it rough. As if hormone shifts weren’t enough, young people also have to contend with rapidly changing bodies, peer pressure, navigating the travails of romance, and trying to ace their high school classes. Is it any surprise that they sometimes exhibit negative behavior and even turn to substance abuse to relieve the stress?
Even though we may understand the pressures that young people experience, that doesn’t make it easy to be a parent to adolescents. Quite the opposite. The teen you love almost certainly has a mind of their own regarding everything from engaging in psychotherapy or counseling to the best way to achieve academic success. How can a parent contend with the teen challenge that’s before them? It takes a world of strength.
Nonetheless, depending on the needs of the adolescents in question, there are things that you can do. Whether you’re in New York City, New Jersey, or anywhere in the United States, you are probably facing similar challenges if you parent a teen. Let’s take a look at some of the things that can help you through the teen years’ mess. Remember, you may all emerge stronger on the other side.
Try to sit them down for a one on one conversation.
Depending on your relationship with the troubled teen in your life, having a one-on-one conversation may be a good starting point. A healthy relationship is one in which everyone involved can be open and vulnerable without fearing judgment. This difficult conversation may mean that you have to hear things you don’t want to or that you need to admit things about your own behavior. Even though it’s hard to admit that your actions may play a part in the behavioral issues your teen is exhibiting, it’s powerful for them to hear you be open about your own challenges. If you feel comfortable, you can share what it was like for you when you were a teenage boy or girl. Hiring about your teen challenge experience might ease the pressure they feel about their own experiences.
Speak to a school counselor or a professional psychotherapist.
If the behavioral issues are getting worse and you fear that your troubled teen may not finish the school year, it might be time to talk to someone at the school. A high school counselor can point you in the direction of New Jersey and New York psychotherapists, or psychotherapists who practice elsewhere in the United States. Maybe the answer is family therapy, or maybe your teen needs to see a psychiatrist about a mental health issue that requires medication. The right treatment plan is out there, and the right psychotherapist or psychiatrist can help your figure it out.
MLikeADHD, anxiety disorders, or OCD, mental health challenges often show during the teenage years for the first time. If your teen is exhibiting behavioral changes, it might be time to make an appointment with a clinician and do whatever you have to do to get your teen there.
If the issue is substance abuse, consider rehab or addiction treatment.
Substance use is not something that is going to go away on its own. This is true, even if we don’t want to know about it. Therefore, if you have a troubled teen who uses drugs or alcohol to get through the school year, it’s time to think about rehab. Teen rehabs are diverse in their approaches to drug addiction and anger management. Some substance abuse treatment centers are inpatient, while some drug rehab treatment programs are outpatient. If your family is religious, there are Christian rehab options and group counseling options if your teen resonates with group therapy more. Take some time to think about the unique needs of your specific teen, and there will be a treatment option that’s right for you.
Consider changing your vision for the school.
Maybe you have your heart set on a certain high school in Los Angeles or New York City for your teen. Maybe the high school that got you to adulthood is the one you always envisioned your teen going to. It’s important to remember that your teen is not you and that enrollment in a high school should, ultimately, be their own choice. The first place you imagine may not be the best place for them. Ask yourself (and them) what supports will help boost their self-esteem and passions and what framework will help them become a productive member of society. If your teen has a history of drug use, make sure you’re choosing a school that supports their sobriety. Maybe that is in Los Angeles, but maybe it’s a private Catholic high school in Holmdel, NJ. Whatever your choice, make sure that your teen is involved in the decision-making process.
Raising a teen is a challenge, that’s for sure. With these tips, you can raise your teen all the way to adulthood and be sure your kids end up wonderful young men and women.