"The worst years of your life when enemies are your friends your friends are your family and your family is your enemy ... when everything is a mess ... friends are backstabbers and your life is a living hell, so you make your life seem so perfect by partying every weekend and getting high." - Urban Dictionary
Adolescents and Young-Adults
What are some of the issues?
Teenagers and young-adults who are struggling with their mental health can present in different ways. Hiding in their room all day and playing on their phone instead of completing homework and then explaining they don't have any time. Going from calm to angry and screaming or crying in the blink of an eye. Constant ups and downs with friends. Silence at the dinner table, sneaking out, making poor, impulsive choices. Actually, this sounds like most adolescents. So, how do you know when it is typical or atypical and what can you do?
How therapy Can help ...
The hard truth is, parents don't always get to know. Your child can text and snap their friends all day long, but often crash and burn when it comes to communicating with their parents. Maybe, their overwhelmed with AP classes and extracurriculars. Maybe, their trying to navigate their sexual or gender identity. Whatever their going through, they just don't seem to want your help. Instead, they express their pain in often ineffective and confusing ways. Isolation, self-harm, suicidal thinking, eating disorders, substance use, panic attacks, and putting up a wall are ways for them to get relief from intense emotions and difficult dynamics. Another hard truth, they do it because it works, but they have a hard time recognizing that these solutions are only temporary and often make things worse.
Imagine if your teen was able to create a follow a daily routine to reduce emotional vulnerability, ask for what they need in a constructive way, spend more time with their family, complete assignments on-time, communicate why their phones are helping them to distract from distress and feel less alone, use tools to get relief without harming themselves or others. Sounds nice, right?
Next Steps ...
Give yourself a break, from what feels like you trying harder, and get them set-up with a counselor who can provide the safe space they need to help themselves. Talking to a neutral person who is on their side, learning triggers and cues to distress, practicing and applying alternative techniques for relief can make all the difference. If you are interested in learning more about support for teens/young-adults and their unique issues, about how to call for a consult, or how to schedule an appointment