Counselling teenagers and young people

Updated: May 28, 2020

Being a parent of a teenager isn't always easy. There are often many emotional ups and downs. The pressure of school, social lives, and developmental changes can cause many upsets.

While emotional ups and downs are part and parcel of raising a teen sometimes teenagers need additional help and it’s helpful to talk to someone outside the family and school. Why do teenagers seek the help of a counsellor? There are many reasons teenagers come to me for counselling. Sometimes teenagers come because of events in their life that are causing them distress, such as:

  • Divorce and separation of parents

  • Bereavement of a family member or friend

  • Bullying

  • Stress at school

  • Family issues

Other times teenagers may be dealing with:

  • Anger

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Eating disorders

  • Low self-esteem

  • Self-harm

  • Stress

  • Suicidal thoughts

How do I know if my teenager is struggling? Teenagers are often difficult to read and have a tendency to internalise their feelings. This makes it difficult for a parent to know what's going on and even more difficult to know how to help. Here are a few indicators to look out for:

  • Change of behaviour. While behaviour change is normal in teenagers, if a child becomes withdrawnor aggressive when they normally have a calm nature

  •  it could be a sign that they need some extra support.

  • Sleep patterns. Sleep patterns can be affected by our mental well being. You may notice that your teen is finding it harder to sleep.

  • Eating patterns. Eating patterns and appetite often change around emotions. Is your teen eating less or more than normal or perhaps refusing to eat with the rest of the family at mealtimes.

  • School grades. A significant drop in school grades can be a key indicator that a teenager is feeling distracted or upset. Teenagers may express themselves at school in ways they wouldn’t at home so talk to your child’s teachers.

What should I do to support my child? The first thing to do is to talk to your teenager. Ask if something is wrong. If your child is struggling to talk to you, don't take it personally. This is when it can be helpful to engage a counsellor as a neutral and impartial party. If you decide that counselling may be the way forward, position it positively and don’t imply that counselling is a punishment for not talking to you. If you'd like to speak to us about how your teenager may benefit from counselling please call us.

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