You just hung up the phone with the school counselor and feel stunned. You knew that your teen seemed “off” lately, but you had no idea how bad things had gotten. You’ve been told that your child should see a therapist outside of school, and you are feeling apprehensive about where to even start.
Let’s start by taking you off the hook for the fact your child is struggling right now.
It’s actually perfectly common for the teenage years to erupt in emotional chaos…even if you did everything “just right.”
You are in great company of many other parents who have done their absolute best and are still in this exact same boat of finding a therapist to help your child.
As children grow into tweens and teens, they tend to pull away from their parents. They talk way more their friends on the phone than they do at the dinner table. You’re doing your best to keep up with all of the different apps that occupy so much of your child’s time so that you can relate.
Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram (Finsta and Rinsta), texts and Facetime calls are always demanding your teen’s time and attention. You are trying not to be “that strict parent,” but you you can also see how much stress your child is under as a result of constantly being on their phone.
You feel left out and unsure about how to be helpful to your child. You are here because you know your teen is struggling, but you aren’t sure what to do to help with being told that you’re “SO annoying.”
Parenting a teenager with anxiety is one of the hardest jobs out there.
There are many factors that cause teens to develop anxiety and other mental health issues. Bullying, social media, academic pressure, and hearing about increased violence on the evening news can lead kids to feel stressed, anxious, and scared.
Appropriate fears turn into big fears that become difficult to manage, even when you are trying your hardest to protect your child and help them feel safe.
Teens are often not forthcoming in sharing about their stress with their parents. They feel embarrassed or they don’t want to worry you. It is helpful to invite a therapist into the equation to help normalize what they are feeling.
I let kids know I’ve heard just about every awkward, embarrassing, scary, or strange thought that a person can have, and we can put it all on the table in here.
Here are some common fears and worries I hear about:
- Anxiety about schoolwork and academic pressure
- Social anxiety at school or at big family gatherings
- Having a panic attack or fainting in public
- Public speaking
- Obsessing about illness or becoming sick
- Intrusive thoughts that make no sense to you, but you can’t seem to get out of your head
- Making decisions about the future
- Measuring up, being “enough,” or people-pleasing
You can count on me to roll up my sleeves and jump right into the trenches with you and your family.
In therapy, I work with adolescents and their families to learn skills to communicate better and feel better.
My primary focus is to work individually with your teen. I provide a space for them to say all of the hard things that have been bothering them; teach them skills to help them feel better; and ultimately, help them talk to you about how they feel so you can feel more included in their life.
It can be helpful to invite parents into sessions to support their teen’s work in therapy, or to work through any specific issues affecting the family as a whole.
Another part of my practice is working individually with parents seeking support in managing the stress of parenting a child with mental health needs. If your child already has a therapist, it can be helpful for parents to seek their own space to talk things through and receive coaching about different parenting strategies. I am happy to collaborate with other providers or therapists you work with.
Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.J.K. Rowling