How Do I Know If My Teenager Needs Counseling?
When your children go through the teenage years, this can be challenging for both teens and parents. Your teen will face many new pressures and may not react in the healthiest ways. In some cases, teens may need counseling to help them cope with their problems. Parents should know the danger signs to look for and how to find a counselor if their teen needs one.
However, some of the teen struggles are a normal part of this developmental stage, like dealing with peer groups, experimenting with new ideas, and going through changes in mood, identity, and interests.
You may want to consider bringing your teen into counseling during the following life changes or situations:
- Changes in family life, like moving, divorce, or a death or serious illness in the family
- The loss of a close friend or girl or boyfriend through death, a breakup of the relationship, or moving
- Developing an illness or disability
- Any kind of substance abuse or addiction
- Bullying or abuse
- Teen pregnancy
- Tragic events in the community or the world
Sometimes a teen’s behavior will indicate that there is a serious problem that requires teen therapy.
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors. These may include talking, joking, drawing, or writing about suicide or death, giving away cherished possessions, or expressing feelings that they are worthless or that things would be better without them. If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, call 911, a suicide hotline or get medical help immediately.
- Symptoms of depression, like being withdrawn, lack of appetite, sleeping very little or more than 9 hours per night, loss of interest in things they once enjoyed, neglecting personal hygiene, or crying for no reason or seeming sad for longer than two weeks.
- Violent behavior, harming or threatening to harm themselves or others, including animals
- Suddenly gaining or losing a lot of weight, which could indicate a life-threatening eating disorder
- Extreme, rapid changes in moods or personality, or drastic changes that last more than six weeks
- Running away from home
- Illegal activities
- Behavior problems at school
- Using tobacco, drugs, or alcohol
- A sudden change in friends
- Risky sexual behavior or sexual promiscuity
- Other risky or dangerous behavior
- Noticeable changes in school performance or attendance
What can I expect my teen to learn from counseling?
- Understand why their behaviors are negative, and how to cope better
- Recognize and change negative thoughts that may cause or trigger their behaviors
- Find better ways to solve problems
- Learn better social skills
Read More about Teens and “Body Image” Click Here