It is becoming more evident that our children and teens find life challenging. Their problems affect how they feel, act, and cope at school. Therapy can help teens understand these problems better.
In therapy, they find a safe place to talk about the things they find difficult to share with friends and parents. It is a place to learn how to work out their problems. When your child comes for therapy, it can help them cope, communicate, and do better.
Here are eight signs your teen Needs Therapy
1. They seem isolated.
The teenage years should be an excellent opportunity to socialise and make close friendships. Of course, some students prefer to keep to themselves, but you should be concerned if your previous social teen has become very isolated. Withdrawing from friends and spending excessive time alone are common signs of depression and other mental health issues.
2. Their grades are dropping, or they’ve withdrawn from activities.
Any noticeable and unexplained change in your teen’s school performance may indicate their emotional struggle. For example, if your child was a previously strong student, you may be worried if their grades start to drop or if they stop doing their homework and handing in assignments. Although you should give your teenager
plenty of autonomy and independence, it’s also crucial that you stay up to date on how they’re doing in school so that you can notice sudden changes.
Pulling out of sports, clubs, or hobbies is another red flag. Extracurriculars are an excellent opportunity for your child to socialise and expand their horizons, but psychological or emotional issues make it challenging to find the motivation to participate.
3. The mood swings are causing severe distress.
Mood swings are common among teenagers, but this doesn’t mean they’re not painful and distressing. Hormonal changes throughout adolescence can cause intense emotions and difficulty with emotional regulation, and the stress of being a teenager may also contribute.
If your teen gets angry or upset occasionally, you may not need to rush them to therapy. However, you should be concerned about mood swings that happen multiple times per week and make you or other family members feel lost, overwhelmed, or frightened. Therapy for teens is an excellent opportunity to address these mood swings as the counsellor can teach your teenager how to acknowledge their emotions without over-responding to them.
4. They’ve been through significant trauma.
Everyone has a different level of resilience, so some people handle trauma more quickly than others. Traumatic experiences can be particularly challenging when you’re a teenager, though. If unresolved, trauma during adolescence can have a lasting impact on your behaviour later in life.
The death of a family member or friend, an assault, a car accident, and a natural disaster are all examples of traumas that may affect teenagers. Sometimes, trauma is an ongoing experience rather than a one-time event. For instance, bullying is one of the most painful and life-altering forms of long-term trauma. Therapy for teens
allows your child to work through their trauma with someone who will not judge or criticise them for their experiences.
5. They’re struggling to cope with a life transition.
Adolescence is already a time of transition, so additional life changes can be hard to cope with. If your family has recently moved, welcomed a new baby, or gone through any other significant change, you should watch for signs of mental health issues in your teenager. These transitions can cause feelings of loss of control or
other frustrations in young adults. In addition, drastic changes in mood, personality, and behaviour may indicate that they’re not adjusting well to their new normal.
Fortunately, therapy can be a helpful resource for teens going through life transitions. In counselling, your teen can safely express and process their emotions about the change and develop coping skills to adjust successfully.
6. You’re concerned about substance abuse.
Substance use disorders in teenagers are a serious concern. People who start abusing drugs or alcohol as teenagers are more likely to struggle with long-term addiction later in life. Some adolescents start drinking or using drugs recreationally with friends, but the problem can spiral out of control. In other cases, teens turn to
substances to numb their pain when facing mental health issues.
Teens can be very skilled at hiding their substance use from their parents. However, there are some warning signs to look out for when it comes to severe substance use disorder. For example, you might notice that your teen has distanced themselves from their old friends and is hanging out with a new group of people, and you may see a decline in academic performance or a change in their appearance and hygiene. In addition, they may start sleeping much more or less than usual and appear more nervous, anxious, or on edge.
7. You’ve noticed self-harm behaviour.
Self-harm is an ominous sign of a mental or emotional issue in teenagers. Adolescents may turn to self-harm when their emotions become unmanageable, and they know no other way to express their pain. Suicidal thoughts may or may not occur alongside self-harm, but anyone who self-harms puts themselves at risk of injury.
8. They’re talking about death or dying.
Teens sometimes have dark humour, but you should never assume your child is joking if they frequently talk about death. Talking about death or dying is one of the most common but overlooked signs of suicidal thoughts. So even if your teen makes these comments in a seemingly light-hearted or joking manner, it’s still a sign that
death is on their mind.
If you notice your child making concerning comments about death, you should ensure their safety and immediately contact a professional. Suicidal ideation is a painful state of mind to be in, but therapy can help your teen get their emotions under control so that they don’t feel like harming themselves is the only answer.
You should approach the subject of therapy carefully with your teen who has shown suicidal ideation. You don’t want your child to feel judged, cornered, or forced into going to therapy. Focus on your concern instead of making accusations or assumptions about their emotions. Let them know that you will love and support them no matter what and that therapy is a safe and private place for them to heal.
While all teenagers have their emotional moments, it can be particularly stressful to parent a teen who’s going through a mental health crisis. Being a teen is complex, and many young adults face immense challenges at school and home. Teen therapy may be the answer if your child hasn’t been themselves. They may hesitate to open up to you about what’s happening, but you can offer them the support and resources they need to feel better.
I invite you to contact me for a non-obligation discussion on how I can help your teen find their way back from feeling lost. Message me today.