Parenting is hard, no matter how old your kids are. Each age brings unique challenges with it, as well as special, unprecedented moments of joy. Nonetheless, most parents would probably agree that the teenage years bring the most moments of strife and emotional turmoil. You never imagined that your sweet darling would slam the door in your face, or be moody and distant, but suddenly this is your reality.
Add to all of that the fact that many mental health disorders surface during adolescence and continue on throughout adulthood. If you’re worried that your adolescent or teen may be suffering from a mental health disorder and isn’t asking for help, you may need to reach out and suggest solutions. Various types of therapy and medications for mental health issues can be very helpful for teens experiencing an anxiety disorder, depression, or any other type of challenge. For more information about how therapy can help the teen that you love, keep reading.
1. Therapy provides a safe space for adolescents in turmoil.
Even though suggesting that your teen should meet with a counselor may end up being the sort of difficult conversations with your children you’d rather avoid, it also might be a critical conversation to have. Try to take a deep breath and explain to your teen that they will be able to speak to a psychologist freely, the way they wouldn’t be able to with you, or even their peers. Therapists are legally barred from giving away secrets, so they can bear their souls without worry.
2. Meeting with a psychologist or psychiatrist can get you a diagnosis.
If your adolescent is experiencing something more than just hormone shifts and mold swings, you might need a diagnosis to get the chemical help you need. Clinical depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and more are not just big words, they’re very difficult conditions to live with. That being said, they’re also very treatable with therapy and medication. If you’re concerned that your teen might need medication, get in touch with a qualified psychiatrist and set up a session.
3. Help your teen avoid lifelong challenges.
Some mental health issues that commonly surface during the teen years, like anorexia or bulimia, can persist throughout adulthood. This is especially true for teens whose symptoms aren’t treated in time. If you are concerned that your teen may be dealing with an eating disorder, getting help sooner rather than later can avoid future strife.
4. The adolescent you love can learn tools for difficult situations.
A therapist who specializes in treating conditions like anxiety disorders or OCD may be able to help your adolescent acquire skills that they can use when they encounter future challenges. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy anxiety sessions target specific thought patterns that make up the route cause of some anxieties. By spending time with a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) expert, your adolescent can learn skills that they can use. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a very hands-on approach to therapy that has many practical applications.
5. They may meet like-minded teens at support groups.
If the teen you’re concerned about doesn’t feel that one on one therapy sessions would be right for them, maybe they’d prefer group therapy or a support group. Meeting other adolescents who are dealing with similar struggles can be heartening for a teen who feels all alone, and that no one understands them. Offer this as an additional way of approaching therapy.
The truth is, teens are just regular people like us—but with a less developed frontal cortex. They need help to manage the mental health challenges that come their way, just like we do. Helping the adolescent you love to get into therapy is a great way to help them thrive.