Tween and Teen Health
Are You Struggling With Your Teen?
If you are struggling with the growing pains of raising your tween/teenage child you are not alone. There are millions of families who need answers on how to improve the condition of their children’s mental health and behaviors.
As a psychotherapist one of the most rewarding experiences I have is helping parents heal their relationships with their teenagers with improved communication and boundaries. I love helping parents connect with their children and help their children with their mental health challenges. Adolescents frequently struggle with social anxiety, generalized anxiety, depression, codependency, video gaming addiction, anger, and substance addiction. Check out my page on adolescent development and struggle areas.
Some adolescents have experienced trauma from school bullying, witnessing domestic violence, car accidents, to name a few, and they may be acting out because of those experiences. EMDR may help your teenager if they are suffering from PTSD. Trauma is subjective and everyone has a different internal way of coping with extreme circumstances. As a certified EMDR therapist, I can help your child reprocesses their negative cognitions about themselves or the world from a single traumatic event or complex events in their life.
There are countless resources on the internet to search out specific answers to your specific problems and questions. If you have tried many of your own interventions and are still struggling you can search for mental health counselors in your area to help you and your teenager.
I recommend this resource to all my parents seeking support. This will provide you countless topics and information on problem-solving strategies with your teenager. Parenting and Teenage Radio Broadcast.
Please enjoy the following 5 tips to increase harmony in your home! If you need personalized attention I am here to help your family.
The below article was contributed by the staff at the Mayo Clinic.
Parenting Skills: Tips for Raising Teens
Helping an adolescent become a caring, independent and responsible adult is no small task. Understand the parenting skills you need to help guide your teen.
Adolescence can be a confusing time of change for teens and parents alike. But while these years can be difficult, there’s plenty you can do to nurture your teen and encourage responsible behavior. Use these parenting skills to deal with the challenges of raising a teen.
Show your love
Positive attention is a must for teens. Spend time with your teen to show him or her that you care. Listen to your teen when he or she talks, and respect your teen’s feelings. Don’t assume that your teen knows how much you love him or her.
If your teen doesn’t seem interested in bonding, keep trying. Regularly eating meals together might be a good way to connect. Better yet, invite your teen to prepare the meal with you. On days when you’re having trouble talking to your teen, consider each doing your own thing in the same space. Being near each other could lead to the start of a conversation.
Set reasonable expectations
Teens tend to live up or down to parental expectations, so set your expectations high. But instead of focusing on achievements, such as getting straight A’s, expect your teen to be kind, considerate, respectful, honest and generous.
When it comes to day-to-day accomplishments, remember that teens gain confidence through success, which can prepare them for the next challenge. As your teen takes on more difficult tasks, instead of setting the bar yourself, support him or her to determine what he or she can handle. If your teen comes up short, react supportively and encourage him or her to recover and try again. It’s more important to praise your teen’s effort than the end result.
Set rules and consequences
Discipline is about teaching, not punishing or controlling your teen. To encourage your teen to behave well, discuss what behavior is acceptable and unacceptable at home, at school and elsewhere. Create fair and appropriate consequences for how your teen behaves. When setting consequences:
- Avoid ultimatums. Your teen might interpret an ultimatum as a challenge.
- Be clear and concise. Rather than telling your teen not to stay out late, set a specific curfew. Keep your rules short and to the point. Make consequences immediate and linked to your teen’s choices or actions.
- Explain your decisions. Your teen might be more likely to comply with a rule when he or she understands its purpose. There might be less to rebel against when your teen knows that a limit is being imposed for his or her safety.
- Be reasonable. Avoid setting rules your teen can’t possibly follow. A chronically messy teen might have trouble immediately maintaining a spotless bedroom.
- Be flexible. As your teen demonstrates more responsibility, grant him or her more freedom. If your teen shows poor judgment, impose more restrictions.
When enforcing consequences, reprimand your teen’s behavior — not your teen. Avoid lecturing your teen about his or her shortcomings and the abstract, far-off consequences, which can motivate your teen to prove you wrong. Don’t use a sarcastic, demeaning or disrespectful tone. Embarrassing your teen can instill a sense of shame, put him or her in a defensive position, and distract him or her from reflecting on what he or she has done wrong. Before you speak, consider asking yourself if what you’re about to say is true, necessary and nonjudgmental.
While it’s important to consistently enforce your rules, you can occasionally make exceptions when it comes to matters such as homework habits and bedtime. Prioritizing rules will give you and your teen a chance to practice negotiating and compromising.
However, consider beforehand how far you’re willing to bend. Don’t negotiate when it comes to restrictions imposed for your teen’s safety, such as substance abuse, sexual activity and reckless driving. Make sure your teen knows that you won’t tolerate tobacco, alcohol or other drug use.
Set a positive example
Teens learn how to behave by watching their parents. Your actions generally speak louder than your words. Show your teen how to cope with stress in positive ways and be resilient. Be a good model and your teen will likely follow your lead.
Call me today for a brighter tomorrow!
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