The teenage years can be a rollercoaster of physical, emotional, and social changes. How you handle them determines whether the road ahead will be rocky, tumultuous, or smooth sailing.
The adolescent years are filled with social, emotional, and physical changes which can be confusing to navigate alone, and uncomfortable to discuss with parents. Teens often turn to their peers for support, which may or may not be the healthiest source from which to get their information. All too often, though, they try to “figure things out” on their own, feeling as if they are fumbling in the dark without knowing where to turn for guidance.
Self-esteem counseling for teenagers
A critical determinant of teenagers’ happiness and future success in life is self-esteem. Adolescence is a time when teens are developing their sense of self and their place in the world, and they may be particularly vulnerable to feeling insecure or unsure of themselves. Counseling can help your teenager identify and challenge negative thought patterns and beliefs and learn strategies for building self-confidence and their sense of self-worth.
Having positive social relationships
Social interaction with one’s peers is essential for healthy emotional development. Children and teenagers benefit immeasurably from the interpersonal skills they learn from having friends. At the same time, their peers rarely know how to guide them appropriately, and they certainly don’t have the emotional maturity to know how to best handle various uncomfortable situations as they arise. Teenagers often need help understanding and managing their feelings and interactions with others. Counseling can help your teenager develop healthy communication and boundary-setting skills, and teach them how to avoid toxic relationships and pursue positive influences.
Issues around sexuality
The biggest elephant in the room for most teenagers is of course issues relating to their changing bodies, raging hormones, and issues around their sexuality and potential sexual relationships. Many influences that your teenager is already exposed to might have drastically different values from your own, and unfortunately, teenagers are easily impressionable and misled. Unfortunately, many teenagers today find themselves in compromising situations that they’re not equipped to handle.
Very rarely do teenagers feel comfortable approaching their parents with their questions, and even if they do, the parents are often at a loss to know how to respond. So they turn to friends and social media, and end up even more confused than they were before.
The solution is specialized counseling for teenagers, in which teens can confidentially unload their burdens and gain mature insights to help them make positive, affirming decisions about their body autonomy and sexuality. These important life skills are invaluable, both now and in the future.
The importance of having good peer groups
Peer groups play a prominent role in teenagers’ lives and exert major influence over many of the decisions they make in everyday life, which can have far-reaching consequences for their future. For example, hobbies and recreational activities are usually peer-influenced and can range from reading books to playing sports, to engaging in illicit substances. Counseling can help teens understand the influence their peer group is having on them, and empower them to make positive choices about the people they spend time with.
Empowering your teen to make good decisions
The human brain doesn’t fully develop until about age 25, most notably the prefrontal cortex located in the frontal lobe (right behind the forehead), which is responsible for regulating impulsive behavior and responsible decision-making. Like everyone else, teenagers are drawn to follow temptations and satisfy desires that might not be in their best interest.
Unlike mature adults, however, they haven’t yet learned to control their impulses. Intrinsically though, they want to behave properly and make their parents proud (even if they’d never admit to it!) What this means is that with gentle coaching to guide their thought processes healthily, they can be supported to make good choices from the get-go, avoiding years or sometimes decades of poor life choices and having to pick up the pieces afterward.
Compassionate, effective therapy for teenagers
The teenage years are often considered the most difficult years to navigate, for many reasons. Counseling specifically tailored for teenagers is an effective way to support teens as they navigate the inevitable challenges of adolescence. Building good self-esteem, developing healthy relationships, choosing peer groups wisely, and making good choices are all areas where therapy can make all the difference, to maximize their chances for a happy and successful life, both during the teen years and beyond.
Reach out today
The Eastside Center for Family is based in Bellvue and offers treatment for children, teenagers, and adults. Reach out today to schedule your free consultation and learn how therapy can help your teenager.