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The Impact Adoption Can Have On Your Teen’s Mental Health

Posted by Sue Scheff on October 27, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Mental Health, Teen Help

Adoption and Your Teen’s Mental Health

Help Your Teens UnSplashSadTeen-198x300 The Impact Adoption Can Have On Your Teen's Mental Health The impact adoption can have on your teen’s mental health is huge. Even teens adopted by the right family with the best conditions for healthy development will still go through some form of personality changes and/or behaviors because of the transition.

You need to understand their transition and be willing to work with your teen’s individual needs. Adopting a teenager can be difficult because it is hard for them to trust, so it is important the entire family understands how they feel.

The transition to adopting a teenager might make the teen feel like an outsider because they don’t fit in with their parents, siblings, or even themselves (because teenagers try to fit in but can’t). It is important that teens are loved unconditionally and that parents should not expect too much from them until they have settled into the new family.

Learn all that you can

Since your teen is well past childhood, they will have had more than a decade of life experience under their belt. They will have their likes and dislikes, things that annoy them, and certain preferences like food choices. They will also have an entire history in regards to previous homes they might have lived, potential medical concerns, and education experience.

It’s best to try and learn everything you can about your teenager, with respect to their privacy. They are coming into the family as an outsider, so things will feel awkward at first. You should try to get to know as much as you can about your teen prior to adoption and onwards.

It helps to get acquainted with important documents like medical files and vaccination records. You should also see if you can get your teen’s adoption records. Those files will give a great insight into your teen’s original birth parents and where your teen was born.

Respect boundaries

Your teen may seem standoffish or unwilling to work with you, but they are just testing the boundaries in order to see how much trust they can put in their new parents.

During this period, it is important that parents understand when the teen needs space and when they’re just hiding in their room because they don’t know how to deal with the change. Adoption creates a whirlwind of change in addition to the crazy hormonal changes. Their mental health might struggle due to all their changes, but it’s important to not intrude on your teen’s life constantly. You need to build up trust and let them gradually open up to you if anything’s wrong.

Parents should be wary about giving too much freedom to their adopted teenagers, though. Teens still need stability and structure more than pure freedom at this point in their lives.

Don’t force them to fit in

It is also important that parents do not put too much pressure on their teens to fit in or be part of the family right away.

Trying to force your teen into their new family unit may increase their desire for independence, act defiantly, and make it harder to adjust to new feelings about themselves. This could also lead to an emotional imbalance, which can lead to a wide range of behaviors such as cutting, depression, self-harm, suicide, etc.

Parents need to understand this desire for independence is something teens work through on their own and is not resolved overnight but slowly over time. It can take years before the teen adjusts completely, especially if they’ve experienced trauma in the past.

Overall, adopting a teenager has its ups and downs, just like parenting any other child, but you can help your teen adjust to their new family over time.

It’s not easy, though. However, as a parent to an adopted teen, you owe it to them to help them get assimilated into the family for the sake of your teen’s mental health and the wellbeing of your family.

Read more about a one parent’s experience, The Ballad of an Adopted Child.

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Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen

Posted by Sue Scheff on October 25, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Book

Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen: The Essential Conversations You Need to Have with Your Kids Before They Start High School

An excellent guide for helping teens navigate the challenging times we are all facing today.

By Michelle Icard

Help Your Teens Book14 Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen

Order on Amazon

Trying to convince a middle schooler to listen to you can be exasperating. Indeed, it can feel like the best option is not to talk! But keeping kids safe—and prepared for all the times when you can’t be the angel on their shoulder—is about having the right conversations at the right time.

From a brain growth and emotional readiness perspective, there is no better time for this than their tween years, right up to when they enter high school.

Distilling Michelle Icard’s decades of experience working with families, Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen focuses on big, thorny topics such as friendship, sexuality, impulsivity, and technology, as well as unexpected conversations about creativity, hygiene, money, privilege, and contributing to the family. Icard outlines a simple, memorable, and family-tested formula for the best approach to these essential talks, the BRIEF Model:

Begin peacefully
Relate to your child
Interview to collect information
Echo what you’re hearing, and give

With wit and compassion, she also helps you get over the most common hurdles in talking to tweens, including:

• What phrases invite connection and which irritate kids or scare them off
• The best places, times, and situations in which to initiate talks
• How to keep kids interested, open, and engaged in conversation
• How to exit these chats in a way that keeps kids wanting more

Help Your Teens canstockphoto6831044-e1385335610192-300x200 Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen Like a Rosetta Stone for your tween’s confounding language, Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen is an essential communication guide to helping your child through the emotional, physical, and social challenges ahead and, ultimately, toward teenage success.


Check out our Library of Parenting Books for teens, parents and more.

Also tips for starting conversations with your teen.


Teen Dating Violence: How Parents Can Help

Posted by Sue Scheff on October 13, 2021  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Depression

Understanding Teen Dating Violence

Help Your Teens UnsplashTeenDating-300x220 Teen Dating Violence: How Parents Can Help Adolescence is a pivotal time in a child’s development. They begin to make decisions, develop relationships, and take on more responsibility in their lives. The lessons and habits they learn will stick with them throughout adulthood. Teens are impressionable.

The relationships they have when they’re young, both personal and romantic, can have lasting effects.  Teen dating violence is a serious issue. Not only does it harm the teen, but it also has lasting consequences that can follow them throughout adulthood. 

Teen dating violence (TVD) is the physical, sexual, and psychological abuse experienced as a teen in a dating relationship. Although abuse is more common in middle-aged women, millions of teens every year experience some form of teen dating violence. TVD can take many forms and can happen both in-person and digitally. Teens who experience dating violence are more likely to be victims of domestic violence in adulthood. Since October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it’s important to share information on these topics to help those that are victims and prevent any further abuse. 

Red Flags & Warning Signs 

Emotional Abuse 

Emotional abuse is when an abuser will bully, falsely accuse, isolate, or gaslight a victim to assert dominance and psychologically control their victim. Emotional abuse is one of the most common tactics used by abusers, and one of the first signs of teen dating violence in a relationship. Some warning signs of emotional abuse include: 

  • False accusations of cheating
  • Isolation from friends and family 
  • Belittlement, mockery, or consistent criticism  
  • Undermined emotions, opinions, and feelings  
  • Public humiliation or intentional embarrassment 
  • Held responsible for all the partner’s mistakes 
  • Manipulation through threat or blackmail 
  • Sporadic or unnecessary arguments 
  • Personal attacks and swearing towards partner 

Although emotional abuse is the most common form of teen dating violence, it can be the hardest to detect. Abusers will act friendly around friends and family, then flip a switch when they’re alone with the victim. Many victims don’t notice the signs of emotional abuse. They tell themselves that it isn’t that bad or blame themselves for the abuser’s actions. Emotional abuse can cause a victim to have low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and increased levels of guilt and shame. 

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is when money is used as a weapon to control a victim. Stealing a partner’s money, controlling how a partner spends their own money, or preventing a partner from academic success or getting a job are just some forms of teen financial abuse. Some common red flags of financial abuse include: 

  • Having to ask partner for permission to use their own money 
  • Being forced to pay for all the dates 
  • Having to give the other partner access to their money and accounts
  • Financially supporting a partner with nothing in return
  • Being prevented from attending school 
  • Not being allowed to partake in higher education and employment opportunities

Financial abuse can have detrimental long-term consequences such as dropping out of school, giving up academic and job opportunities, being financially reliant on the partner, and having little to no money to their own name. The effects of financial abuse are amplified when a teen has a debit or credit card.

Abusers can gain access to their accounts and rack up debt in their name. This can cause teens to enter adulthood with severe debt and a low credit score. Although it may not seem important to a teen now, financial abuse can make reaching milestones like attending college or making big purchases much more challenging. Things like buying a home have certain credit score requirements, that financial abuse survivors may not be able to meet. 

Physical Violence

Physical violence is the intentional hurting of a partner’s physical body. Bitting, hitting, kicking, choking, throwing, and beating are common forms of physical abuse. Many abusers will create excuses for physical violence, blame the victim, or will make the abuse seem like an accident.

This form of abuse is the easiest to identify since it often leaves victims with bruises and scars. However, many victims will cover up any signs or markings by wearing long clothing or applying makeup to their wounds. If you notice your child wearing long sleeves and pants on a hot day, it can be an indicator of physical violence. Some other red flags for physical violence are:

  • Bruises on the body 
  • Black eye or swelling around the eye and face
  • Broken glasses or personal items
  • Busted lips 
  • Sprained wrists 
  • Unexplained wounds or injuries 
  • Wearing scarves or sunglasses during unorthodox times 
  • Extra alertness or waiting for something bad to happen 
  • Flinching or putting hands up in defense at sudden movement or being touched 

Physical violence is regarded as the most dangerous TVD. Victims of physical abuse often experience PTSD, increased anxiety, trust issues, and addiction. Abusers will start controlling their victims using psychological tactics and then move into physical violence. Identifying other forms of abuse in a relationship can help prevent your teen from experiencing physical violence. However, if you notice signs of physical abuse it’s imperative that you get them the help they need before the violence escalates. 

Sexual Violence

Help Your Teens BigStockGirlOnCell-300x202 Teen Dating Violence: How Parents Can Help Sexual violence, also known as sexual assault, is when a victim is pressured physically or emotionally to engage in sexual activity. Sexual assault is not limited to intercourse. It can be any unconsented sexual touching, sexting, or sending explicit pictures of a partner to others.

Sexual violence is another way abusers control and manipulate their victims for their gain. This form of abuse is the hardest for teens to talk about. However, some warning signs to look out for include: 

  • Signs of physical abuse (bruises, wounds, scars) 
  • Unusual weight gain or weight loss
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts 
  • Abnormal changes to self-care (clothing, hygiene, appearance) 
  • Self-harm or substance abuse 
  • Panic attacks 
  • STDs or sexually transmitted infection 
  • Pregnancy or pregnancy scare 

If you notice these signs, have an open conversation with your teen. Create a safe space for them to speak their truth. Sexual violence can lead to unwanted pregnancy or a sexually transmitted infection/disease that, if not treated early on, can end severe health risks. Sexual violence also has long-term effects on a victim’s mental health. It can cause a victim to develop an eating disorder to reclaim a sense of control, PTSD,  numbness, and fear of sexual interaction or intimacy. 


Stalking is the repeated unwanted contact and attention from a partner. Some forms of stalking include an abuser showing up at the victim’s house unexpectedly, physically following a victim, sending unwanted texts and phone calls to the victim, tracking the victim through social media, and hiring or making other people follow you. Stalking is a tactic used to make the victim fearful and is often used when the victim leaves the relationship. It may not seem as dangerous but if not addressed early, can continue long after teenage years.

Some red flags of stalking include: 

  • Rumors being spread about the victim 
  • Unwanted phone calls to anyone with a connection to the victim (friends, family, employers) 
  • Abuser showing up to victim’s place of employment
  • Abuser waiting for the victim or following them 
  • Abuser monitoring or tracking victim’s location and internet use 
  • Threats to victim’s new partner 
  • Unexplainable damage is done to home, car, or personal belongings

If you suspect that your teen is being stalked it may be wise to take legal action against the abuser. Consider getting a restraining order to put a stop to this manipulation. Stalking may not seem like much, but it can implicate a child’s life, and if it persists, can lead to rather dangerous or life-threatening situations. 

What Parents Can Do 

Help Your Teens PexelSadTeen2-300x204 Teen Dating Violence: How Parents Can Help Knowing the signs of teen dating violence and educating your teen on the signs can help prevent your child from becoming a victim. If you suspect your child is experiencing teen dating violence, initiate conversation. During the conversation listen to your teen, taking note of what they need most. Be a source of comfort and guidance, but most importantly, encourage and help your teen take action. Teen dating violence is a serious issue. By talking about these red flags and warning signs, and by taking the necessary actions against abusers, we can help put a stop to teen dating violence. 

Guest contributor.

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Fault Lines: Fractured Families and How to Mend Them

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 29, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Book, Parenting Books, Parenting Teens

Family Conflict: Finding Resolutions

Real solutions to a hidden epidemic: family estrangement.

By Karl Pillemer, Ph.D.

Estrangement from a family member is one of the most painful life experiences. It is devastating not only to the individuals directly involved–collateral damage can extend upward, downward, and across generations, More than 65 million Americans suffer such rifts, yet little guidance exists on how to cope with and overcome them.

In this book, Karl Pillemer combines the advice of people who have successfully reconciled with powerful insights from social science research. The result is a unique guide to mending fractured families.

Help Your Teens BookFaultLines-198x300 Fault Lines: Fractured Families and How to Mend Them Fault Lines shares for the first time findings from Dr. Pillemer’s ten-year groundbreaking Cornell Reconciliation Project, based on the first national survey on estrangement; rich, in-depth interviews with hundreds of people who have experienced it; and insights from leading family researchers and therapists. He assures people who are estranged, and those who care about them, that they are not alone and that fissures can be bridged.

Through the wisdom of people who have “been there,” Fault Lines shows how healing is possible through clear steps that people can use right away in their own families. It addresses such questions as: How do rifts begin? What makes estrangement so painful? Why is it so often triggered by a single event? Are you ready to reconcile? How can you overcome past hurts to build a new future with a relative?

Tackling a subject that is achingly familiar to almost everyone, especially in an era when powerful outside forces such as technology and mobility are lessening family cohesion, Dr. Pillemer combines dramatic stories, science-based guidance, and practical repair tools tohelp people find the path to reconciliation.

Order on Amazon.


The breakdown of your family unit can mean the destruction of each individual emotionally. Is your teen controlling your household? Do you feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells? Have you exhausted your local resources? Is this tearing your family apart? It might be time to consider outside resources.

Contact us today for more information on therapeutic boarding schools.

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How to Resolve Family Conflict with Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 28, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Are you struggling with family conflict in your home?

Does your teen make you feel like your walking on eggshells?

You’re not alone!

Help Your Teens BigstockAngerTeen-300x194 How to Resolve Family Conflict with Teens Conflict can happen when family members, especially teenagers, have different views (wants or needs) or beliefs that clash. Sometimes conflict can occur when people misunderstand each other and jump to the wrong conclusion. Issues of conflict that are not resolved peacefully can lead to arguments and resentment.

It is normal to disagree with each other from time to time. Occasional conflict is part of family life. However, ongoing conflict can be stressful and damaging to relationships. Some people find it difficult to manage their feelings and become intentionally hurtful, aggressive or even violent.

Communicating in a positive way with your teen can help reduce conflict so that family members can reach a peaceful resolution. This usually means that everyone agrees to a compromise or agrees to disagree.

Sometimes, strong emotions or the power imbalances that can be present in relationships are difficult to resolve and can only be addressed in a counselling situation.

Common causes of family conflict

It is well recognized that some of the stages a family goes through can cause conflict. These may include:

  • Learning to live as a new couple (new step-parents)
  • Birth of a baby (new siblings)
  • Birth of other children
  • A child going to school (changing schools)
  • A child becoming a young person (puberty)
  • A young person becoming an adult.

Each of these stages can create new and different stresses and potential conflict.

Changes in the family situation can also take a toll on the family and contribute to conflict.

This may include events such as:

  • Separation or divorce
  • Moving to a new house or country
  • Travelling long distances to work
  • Commuting interstate for work.
  • Change in financial circumstances.

All of these common events can impact a teen’s young emotional life as much as a parent will try to make the transistion seamless.

Agreeing to negotiate

Help Your Teens BigStockMomTeenConcern-300x207 How to Resolve Family Conflict with Teens Usually, our first angry impulse is to push the point that we are right and win the argument at any cost. Finding a peaceful resolution can be difficult, if not impossible, when both parties stubbornly stick to their guns. It helps if everyone decides as a family to try listening to each other and negotiating instead.

Suggestions include:

  • Work out if the issue is worth fighting over.
  • Try to separate the problem from the person.
  • Try to cool off first if you feel too angry to talk calmly.
  • Keep in mind that the idea is to resolve the conflict, not win the argument.
  • Remember that the other party isn’t obliged to always agree with you on everything.
  • Define the problem and stick to the topic.
  • Respect the other person’s point of view by paying attention and listening.
  • Talk clearly and reasonably.
  • Try to find points of common ground.
  • Agree to disagree (within reason with a teen).

Try to listen

Conflict can escalate when the people involved are too angry to listen to each other. Misunderstandings fuel arguments. Suggestions include:

  • Try to stay calm.
  • Try to put emotions aside.
  • Don’t interrupt the other person while they are speaking.
  • Actively listen to what they are saying and what they mean.
  • Check that you understand them by asking questions.
  • Communicate your side of the story clearly and honestly.
  • Resist the urge to bring up other unresolved but unrelated issues.

Work as a team

Once both parents and teen understand the views and feelings of the other, you hopefully can work out a solution together.

Suggestions include:

  • Come up with as many possible solutions as you can.
  • Be willing to compromise.
  • Make sure everyone clearly understands the chosen solution.
  • Once the solution is decided on, stick to it.
  • Write it down as a ‘contract’, if necessary.

Professional advice

There are services available to help family members work through difficult issues of conflict. Seek professional advice if you think you need some assistance. A local therapist through your insurance provider or a referral from a friend or family doctor could help get you started.

If your teen continues to cause contention and conflict in your home, it might be time to consider resources such as residential therapy to determine where their anger is stemming from.

Order the new best selling book on family conflict, Fault Lines.

Contact us for more information.

Source: BetterHealth

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How Instagram Could Be Damaging to Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 21, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Parenting Teens

Facebook Knew Instagram Could Be Damaging to Teens

Help Your Teens PexelGirlOnlineCellPhone-195x300 How Instagram Could Be Damaging to Teens The tech giant has studied how the app affects youth.

  • An article in The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook’s own documents found Instagram to be damaging to teens.
  • A 2017 survey, published by the U.K.’s Royal Society for Public Health, found Instagram to be “worst social media network for mental health.”
  • Seeing others “edited to perfection” can be challenging for teens who may struggle with self-esteem or are vulnerable to social approval.

When one of my daughters was about 13 years old, I took her to a Teen Vogue event at our local mall. Afterward, she started getting a Teen Vogue magazine in the mail each month. One Saturday morning she walked into the kitchen with a stack of them and asked, “Will you please take these away? I don’t think looking at pictures of perfect girls is good for me.”

This incident predates Instagram, the social media network owned by Facebook that enjoys 500 million+ active users daily and is used by 76 percent of U.S. teens. Whereas my daughter was troubled by perhaps a few dozen images in a magazine she might have leafed through once or twice a month, today’s teens are literally barraged with such images daily—some even spend hours a day using this app.

What brought the memory of my daughter back was a recent article in The Wall Street Journal titled, “Facebook Knows Instagram Is Toxic for Teen Girls, Company Documents Show.” The article reports that “(f)or the past three years, Facebook has been conducting studies into how its photo-sharing app affects its millions of young users.” Facebook’s own researchers “found that Instagram is harmful for a sizable percentage of them, most notably teenage girls.”

By reviewing internal documents produced by Instagram (Facebook), The Wall Street Journal‘s reporters found these statements in a company slide presentation from 2019: “We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls” and “Teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression… This reaction was unprompted and consistent across all groups.”

Perhaps the most disturbing revelation in the WSJ article was this:

“Among teens who reported suicidal thoughts, 13 percent of British users and 6 percent of American users traced the desire to kill themselves to Instagram, one presentation showed.”

This News is Not New

To me, what’s most irritating about this revelation is that it’s old news. While writing my book a few years ago, I referenced a 2017 #StatusOfMind survey, published by the United Kingdom’s Royal Society for Public Health, that predates and mirrors Facebook’s own findings. Surveying almost 1,500 teens and young adults, the study found Instagram (along with Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter) to be associated with high levels of depression, bullying, and FOMO, the “fear of missing out.”

Instagram, where personal photos or selfies (often carefully staged or touched up) rule, was discovered to be “the worst social media network for mental health and well-being.” A teen respondent to the survey wrote, “Instagram easily makes girls and women feel as if their bodies aren’t good enough, as people add filters and edit their pictures in order for them to look ‘perfect.’”

“Instagram culture creates an environment that rewards perfection,” says Dr. Pamela Rutledge, Director of the Media Psychology Research Center. According to Rutledge:

“The trouble is, when people look, they forget that many of these images are not real and it creates unattainable expectations and beauty ideals. Our brains are wired to react as if virtual images were real. We are hardwired to compare ourselves to others. This had some evolutionary benefit as it was how people learned to navigate the social environment. It has little benefit on social media when we use it to judge ourselves against imaginary, often unattainable goals. This is particularly harmful to teens who already struggle with self-esteem and are vulnerable to social approval.”

Photoshop is So Five Minutes Ago

Today, a digitally perfect body or face is just a few clicks away, thanks to the ubiquity and ease of use of new “editing” apps. One of the most popular is “Facetune.” According to its own website, Facetune is the #1 self-editing app in the world, used by over 100 million worldwide. With this app, users can “(s)mooth skin, whiten teeth, swipe away blemishes, contour features, add makeup…” and more.

Facetune, which experienced a 20 percent increase in usage at the start of the pandemic, sees 1 million to 1.5 million retouched photos exported every single day. It is so widely used that the word itself is used interchangeably with “edit… in much the same way “Photoshop” was used by the generation before.

According to the study “Selfies-Living in the Era of Filtered Photographs,” a direct correlation exists between the proliferation of digitally manipulated selfies and body dysmorphic disorder, an under-diagnosed mental health condition causing sufferers to obsess over minor or imagined defects in their appearance.

Researchers at Boston University who conducted the study warn that Facetune and similar apps “are making us lose touch with reality because we expect to look perfectly primped and filtered in real life as well,” which can cause serious psychological harm.

What exacerbates the situation further is the Instagram (Facebook) algorithm. It feeds users more of what it thinks they like or have expressed interest in. In other words, if a teen looks at health, beauty, diet, or similar posts, they are likely to be bombarded with more of the same kinds of posts every time they open the app.

What Can Parents Do?

Help Your Teens BigFatherDaughterOnline2-300x198 How Instagram Could Be Damaging to Teens Don’t wait for your daughter (or son) to walk into the kitchen asking you to take Instagram away. Chances are that’s not going to happen because the app isn’t just feeding them images that might promote self-loathing—teens are also using it in a myriad of (and sometimes really awesome) ways. They might be communicating with friends, sharing life updates, learning about current events, sharing inspiring or funny images, or advocating for causes they care about.

There is even an ever-growing community of Instagram users with huge followings who are calling attention to touched-up content and unattainable images of beauty. One of my favorites is @beauty.false who has over 1.2M followers. If you have an Instagram-using teen, ask them if they have heard of or follow this or similar accounts.

Finally, if you need a checklist to help you address this problem, here’s a very short and easy-to-follow list:

  1. Spend a little time exploring Instagram yourself, but remember what you see has been curated specifically for you.
  2. Talk to your teen about Instagram.
  3. Listen (non-judgmentally) to what your teen has to say about Instagram.

By Diana Graber, founder of CyberCivics author of Raising Humans in a Digital World.

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How to Help Teens Cope with Stress and Uncertainies in Life

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 16, 2021  /   Posted in Teen Depression, Teen Help

How to Guide Your Teen Through Uncertainties About the Future

Help Your Teens PexelSadTeen-300x199 How to Help Teens Cope with Stress and Uncertainies in Life Teenagers today are subject to a lot of pressure as they plan for their future in these uncertain times. Saving up for college, part-time work, and the pressure to achieve can be emotionally taxing for your high schooler.

As a parent, you can guide your teen through these challenges and put their minds at ease as they prepare for adulthood. 

The Impact of Stress on Teens

In a 2018 survey, the American Psychological Association reported that teenagers experience more anxiety and depression than adults. The pandemic has made this situation much worse. Isolation caused by school closures, worry about getting sick, and related issues have put adolescents at greater risk for mental health issues.

How can you help your teenage child with anxiety? The first step is discovering if your child has a problem. Teens may not answer questions about their mental health adequately. Look for telltale signs of stress and depression such as:

  • Physical symptoms including headaches, stomach aches, or exhaustion
  • Loss of interest in activities or loss of appetite
  • Irregular sleep habits
  • Difficulty focusing or making decisions
  • Withdrawal, seclusion, or apathy

Teach Your Child to Manage Stress

Help Your Teens BigstockFatherSon-300x200 How to Help Teens Cope with Stress and Uncertainies in Life If your child seems to be struggling with these issues, you can employ several strategies to help them manage their stress. One of the most important is to create a peaceful environment in your home. Even the most functional families can overreact in stressful times. However, you can choose to react calmly when in times of crisis.

When you feel the urge to lose your temper because of your teen’s behavior or actions, take a step back and breathe for a few moments before engaging them. Show how to handle a difficult situation instead of telling them to calm down when they are angry.

Another key is to communicate openly and frequently with your child. Invite them to offer their opinions, input, and ideas on everything from planning family traditions to current events. Be honest with them about your feelings as well. And when you see them accomplish their goals or share their experiences, take the time to acknowledge and encourage their efforts.

Another way to reduce their stress is to help your teens take ownership of their health. Exercise, proper sleep, and nutritious food choices can reduce anxiety. When these habits improve how they feel, they will make them part of their routine. 

The next step is to help them plan for their future to reduce the pressure they experience today.

Planning for a Career Path

The goal of high school is to guide your child onto a career path, which can lead to a great deal of tension. They may suffer performance anxiety in academics or athletics, worry about college admission or tuition expenses, and stress over a high school career that will help them achieve their goals.

Choosing a career path can be confusing. Sit down with your teen to explore different options. Review their strengths and interests but keep in mind that these alone will not always help them find the best options.

If they are concerned about employment opportunities in the future, have them look at jobs or industries that are in need or are growing. For example, there is a shortage of medical doctors and other health providers in the U.S. This shortage is expected to increase over the next 20 years as older physicians retire. Pursuing a degree in medicine, nursing, or other healthcare disciplines will be valuable in times to come.

Finally, remember to tell your teen that they need not stress too much over future career paths. Their early college years have basic electives and introductory courses in their chosen profession, allowing them to get a taste of their potential career. There is enough time to change their path before advancing too far. 

Connect your teens with professionals in the field to get an idea of what the job entails. They should also talk to successful professionals who changed their major in college. 

Teens are not just worried about their careers. Financial security in today’s economy is another anxiety-inducing concern.

Planning for Financial Security

Your child may be worried about their financial future. Tuition costs are one concern. They may even be aware that many millennials struggle to buy a home thanks to outstanding college debt. Another worry they have is figuring out how to build good credit for a future mortgage.

Even if buying a home is far off for your teens, they may be considering other expenses, like traveling to Europe or buying a car. 

Help your teen reduce stress about the future by teaching them the basics of financial security. You can cover budgeting, saving, and investing topics in a more practical way than a school course. Teach your teens savvy financial habits such as these:

  • Put money aside every week once they have a job or from their allowance.
  • Have them set a small goal for some of their savings, such as a new phone.
  • Get them to track their spending to achieve this goal. Teach them to set up an income and expenditures spreadsheet.
  • If your child is very responsible, you can add them to your credit card as an authorized user to help them establish a credit history and score.

Teens have a lot of pressure on them to succeed today. You can model and teach good habits to manage that stress. In addition, helping them for a career and financial security will ensure a successful future.

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What is Conduct Disorder in Teens?

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 13, 2021  /   Posted in Teen Help, Troubled Teens

Is My Teen Struggling with Conduct Disorder?

Help Your Teens ParentsTeens-300x204 What is Conduct Disorder in Teens? What is conduct disorder?

We hear so many labels these days with teenagers, ADD, ADHD, ODD, bipolar – there is always family conflict and I frequently am asked about conduct disorder.

Conduct disorder is a set of ongoing emotional and behavioral problems that occurs in children and teens. Problems may involve defiant or impulsive behavior, drug use, or criminal activity.

What causes conduct disorder?

Conduct disorder has been linked to:

  • Child abuse
  • Drug or alcohol abuse in the parents
  • Family conflicts
  • Genetic defects
  • Poverty

The diagnosis is more common among boys.

It is hard to know how common the disorder is. This is because many of the qualities for diagnosis, such as “defiance” and “rule breaking,” are hard to define. For a diagnosis of conduct disorder, the behavior must be much more extreme than is socially acceptable.

Conduct disorder is often linked to attention-deficit disorder. Conduct disorder also can be an early sign of depression or bipolar disorder.

Help Your Teens ConductDisorder-197x300 What is Conduct Disorder in Teens? What are some of the symptoms?

Children with conduct disorder tend to be impulsive, hard to control, and not concerned about the feelings of other people.

Symptoms may include:

  • Breaking rules without clear reason
  • Cruel or aggressive behavior toward people or animals (for example: bullying, fighting, using dangerous weapons, forcing sexual activity, and stealing)
  • Not going to school (truancy — beginning before age 13)
  • Heavy drinking and/or heavy drug abuse
  • Intentionally setting fires
  • Lying to get a favor or avoid things they have to do
  • Running away
  • Vandalizing or destroying property

These children often make no effort to hide their aggressive behaviors. They may have a hard time making real friends.

How can parents treat conduct disorder?

Treatment for conduct disorder is based on many factors, including the child’s age, the severity of symptoms, as well as the child’s ability to participate in and tolerate specific therapies. Treatment usually consists of a combination of the following:

  • Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy (a type of counseling) is aimed at helping the child learn to express and control anger in more appropriate ways. A type of therapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy aims to reshape the child’s thinking (cognition) to improve problem solving skills, anger management, moral reasoning skills, and impulse control. Family therapy may be used to help improve family interactions and communication among family members. A specialized therapy technique called parent management training (PMT) teaches parents ways to positively alter their child’s behavior in the home.
  • Medication: Although there is no medication formally approved to treat conduct disorder, various drugs may be used to treat some of its distressing symptoms, as well as any other mental illnesses that may be present, such as ADHD or major depression.
Sources: A.D.A.M. Health, WedMD

If you feel you have exhausted your local resources, your teen is shutting down in therapy, out-patient isn’t working, please contact us for information regarding quality residential therapy.

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Rates of Teen Suicide and Suicidal Ideation Surge –Tied to Pandemic

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 11, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Teen Depression, Teen Help, Teen Suicide Prevention

Parents, teens and mental health: Suicide ideation rates nearly double since the pandemic


Help Your Teens PexelsSadGirl-211x300 Rates of Teen Suicide and Suicidal Ideation Surge –Tied to Pandemic Suicide is the second leading cause of death for teens and young adults, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teens are of growing concern with rates of suicidal ideation and attempts nearly twice as high compared to pre- pandemic times.

ComPsych, the world’s largest provider of integrated behavioral health and well-being services, has seen a double-digit increase in calls related to anxiety and depression worries with their teens and a 35% spike in corporate requests for employee suicide awareness and prevention training.

“The teen mental health crisis is one of the most pressing challenges of our time and as the pandemic continues, we can see the confluence of crisis exacerbate anxiety, depression and thoughts of suicide,” said Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz, Founder, Chairman and CEO of ComPsych. “Resources are key in helping support people and preventing tragedy.”

A recent ComPsych Tell it Now ℠ poll reveals 49% of parents are concerned about the pressure, stress and anxiety their child is experiencing and don’t know how to help. Throughout September, National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, ComPsych will host interactive customer trainings and share digital suicide prevention toolkits and resources to amplify the conversation, break stigma and highlight warning signs and ways to help those who may be suffering.

Experts agree increased mental health challenges influenced by disruptions in daily life, social isolation and changes in peer interactions have had a significant impact on adolescents and young adults. According to the CDC, even before the pandemic began, the youth suicide rate in the United States was the highest in recorded history. While progress has been made in raising awareness around mental health and suicide prevention in the past few years, unfortunately, suicide is still heavily stigmatized.

“Suicide prevention does not start in the emergency room, it starts at home, and at work,” said Chaifetz. “Employers play an increasingly important role in supporting the mental health and well-being of their employees – and destigmatizing mental health is critical to addressing challenges and reversing the trend,” said Chaifetz.

Warning Signs

  • Behaving in a depressed manner
  • Having a peer who has committed suicide
  • Threatening or talking about killing oneself or others
  • Expressing no hope for the future
  • Being bullied by an individual or group of peers
  • Talking or behaving like no one cares or that life is hopeless
  • Making final preparations, such as giving away possessions, saying goodbyes
  • Abusing drugs or alcohol
  • Neglecting school performance
  • Being preoccupied with songs, movies or video games with violent or suicidal content

How to Help

Be sure to take action immediately if you suspect someone is suicidal. If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.

About ComPsych
ComPsych® Corporation is the world’s largest provider of employee assistance programs (EAP) and is the pioneer and worldwide leader of fully integrated EAP, behavioral health, wellness, work-life, HR, FMLA and absence management services under its GuidanceResources® brand. ComPsych provides services to more than 56,000 organizations covering more than 127 million individuals throughout the U.S. and 190 countries. By creating “Build-to-Suit” programs, ComPsych helps employers attract and retain employees, increase employee productivity and improve overall health and well-being. For more information, visit www.compsych.com and follow us @ComPsych on Twitter.
View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210910005289/en/
CONTACT: Jamie Stein
ComPsych Corporation
SOURCE: ComPsych
Copyright Business Wire 2021.
PUB: 09/10/2021 08:35 AM/DISC: 09/10/2021 08:36 AM

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The Depression Workbook for Teens: Tools to Improve Your Mood, Build Self-Esteem, and Stay Motivated

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 10, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Book, Teen Depression, Troubled Teens

Teen Depression, Anxiety and Stress

Help Your Teens PexelsTeenAnxiety-202x300 The Depression Workbook for Teens: Tools to Improve Your Mood, Build Self-Esteem, and Stay Motivated The mental health crisis with young people is extremely concerning. With almost a year of remote learning, students have become more withdrawn, isolated and dependent upon their electronics.

We have seen a rise in youth depression, stress and anxiety which is causing parents to experience behaviors such as defiance, self-harm, eating disorders, hyenine issues and possibly suicide ideation.

Is your teen struggling emotionally?

Considered our featured teen book:

The Depression Workbook for Teens: Tools to Improve Your Mood, Build Self-Esteem, and Stay Motivated

By Katie Hurley, LCSW

Don’t face depression alone―advanced tools for teens.

You can feel better and The Depression Workbook for Teens is going to help you do it. Drawing on the most effective and up-to-date techniques―including cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness―this depression workbook is filled with helpful exercises designed specifically for teens that will help you conquer depression. Develop the skills you need to manage your emotional well-being and bring happiness back into your life.

Get information all about depression―its symptoms, causes, and risk factors―so you can identify the differences between normal stress and depression. There is a light at the end of the tunnel―The Depression Workbook for Teens will show you the way.

Help Your Teens DepressionWorkbook The Depression Workbook for Teens: Tools to Improve Your Mood, Build Self-Esteem, and Stay Motivated The Depression Workbook for Teens includes:

  • Just for teens―Tackle your depression head-on using a depression workbook filled with strategies written with your unique needs (and time constraints) in mind.
  • Useful tools―With quizzes, journaling prompts, conversation starters, and more, you’ll discover simple skill-building exercises to improve your mood and build your self-esteem.
  • Practical problem solving―Find ways to work through the challenges you’re facing―including fighting with your parents, getting up in the morning, struggling with homework, and more.

The Depression Workbook for Teens gives you the helping hand you need to get through this difficult time.


About Katie Hurley: Katie is a child and adolescent psychotherapist, parenting expert, and writer. Hurley is the author of No More Mean Girls and The Happy Kid Handbook. Her work can be found in The Washington Post, PBS Parents, US News and World Report, and Psychology Today.

During this time of uncertainty, The Depression Workbook has been a tremendous asset to many young people. Studies are revealing the impact COVID is having on mental health with our young people.

Have you exhausted your local resources?

Therapy isn’t working? Contact us to learn more about residential therapy for your teenager.


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