Because being a teenager is really, really hard sometimes.
Your teen is going through that time in life that most of us would never want to live though again! This is a huge time of change and transition. Your teen is trying to make sense of their changing body and hormones, figure out what their personal values are, become their own person while still needing their parents, manage pressure from peers, and do well in school. These are normal issues that every teen faces. But then add in an anxiety disorder, depression, self-harm, bullying, eating disorders, or substance use, and things become much more difficult. This is the time to equip your teen with coping skills, as well as provide a safe space with an adult who isn't their parent.
Studies show that over a large number of female teens are trying to lose weight, and 95% of eating disorders begin in adolescence.
During or after puberty, girls' bodies go through a lot of changes. Because of the messages society sends females, it's tempting for them to resort to dangerous dieting methods to lose weight. Sometimes, your teen can feel like things are out of control in their life, and they may cope by undereating, overeating, calorie counting, or purging. This can help them feel more in control, but is unhealthy and dangerous. Unfortunately, eating disorders have a really high death rate, which is why it's so important to nip unhealthy eating issues in the bud.
1 in 5 adolescents struggle with serious mental health illnesses.
This means that your teen is not alone in their hurt. It also means that you are not a bad parent because your teen is struggling. As a parent, you want to protect your teen from pain and it can feel really difficult to watch them go through difficult times. You can play a huge part in their recovery by telling them that it's okay to be sad, angry, or scared, and it's okay to talk to someone.
Even though your support and love is big enough for your teen, sometimes they need to talk to someone that isn't their parent.
This can be hard for parents! You want your teen to come to you with all their problems, but realistically, that may not happen all the time. It doesn't mean you've failed as a parent, it just means your teen might want to process their thoughts and feelings with a neutral 3rd party. And, one of the potential outcomes of counseling is that teens learn to have more healthy communication with their parents.
How does counseling with teens work?
The caregiver, teen, and myself will decide together how much the caregiver will be involved in the counseling process. I usually end the last 5-10 minutes of sessions with the teen and the caregiver together.
Information shared by your teen in session will be kept confidential, but you may rest assured that I will tell you if there are any life-threatening safety concerns.