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Teen Help

Born to Be Wild: Why Teens Take Risks, and How We Can Help Keep Them Safe

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 26, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Book, Parenting Books, Parenting Teens

Born to Be Wild: Why Teens Take Risk, and How We Can Help Keep Them Safe

By Jess Shatkin

A groundbreaking, research-based guide that sheds new light on why young people make dangerous choices–and offers solutions that work

Help Your Teens BookBorntobeWild-196x300 Born to Be Wild: Why Teens Take Risks, and How We Can Help Keep Them Safe Texting while driving. Binge-drinking. Unprotected sex. There are plenty of reasons for parents to worry about getting a late-night call about their teen. But most of the advice parents and educators hear about teens is outdated and unscientific–and simply doesn’t work.

Acclaimed adolescent psychiatrist and educator Jess Shatkin brings more than two decades’ worth of research and clinical experience to the subject, along with cutting-edge findings from brain science, evolutionary psychology, game theory, and other disciplines — plus a widely curious mind and the perspective of a concerned dad himself.

Using science and stories, fresh analogies, clinical anecdotes, and research-based observations, Shatkin explains:

* Why “scared straight,” adult logic, and draconian punishment don’t work

* Why the teen brain is “born to be wild”–shaped by evolution to explore and take risks

* The surprising role of brain development, hormones, peer pressure, screen time, and other key factors

* What parents and teachers can do–in everyday interactions, teachable moments, and specially chosen activities and outings–to work with teens’ need for risk, rewards and social acceptance, not against it.

Order Born to Be Wild today on Amazon.

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Managing and Reducing School Stress for Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 25, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Ways to Help Teenagers Reduce and Manage School Stress

Help Your Teens PexelsTeenStress-300x200 Managing and Reducing School Stress for Teens Middle and high school students are under more stress than ever before. The number of U.S. high school students who experience academic pressure increased by 62 percent over seven years even though performance improved only modestly.

The number of students who spend more than 10 hours per week doing homework rose from 12 percent to 21 percent over three years.

Increasing Concerns About Academic Stress

Some schools are experimenting with turning down the heat on students. A few have taken such measures as eliminating advanced placement classes, reducing the emphasis on textbook learning, and administering fewer tests. However, others worry that such measures are too extreme and will hurt a college-bound student’s chance of competing for spots in the nation’s best colleges.

Many schools and parents are focusing, instead, on giving students the tools for coping with the constant demands of school. This might include more counseling, yoga classes, breathing techniques, or designated homework-free days.

Helping Teenagers Cope with School Stress

All of this increased pressure to perform academically can leave young adults feeling hopeless and parents feeling helpless. However, many experts agree that there are definitive steps parents can take to help their teenagers cope. The American Academy of Pediatrics, for instance, stresses teaching children resilience through such methods building confidence, strengthening family connections, and instilling character.

Here are some specific ways in which parents can help teens become more resilient:

Teaching Organization Skills

Perhaps the only thing more stressful for a student than having to complete homework assignments in several subjects is having to complete the work in an environment full of scattered papers and misplaced supplies. The fact that a child needs special knowledge for advanced mathematics is widely known, but both parents and students often take organization skills for granted.

Just like calculus, the organization is something that has to be learned. Children should be taught as early as elementary school to keep their workspaces and backpacks well-stocked and orderly. However, it is not too late for even the most disorganized teen to learn the basics of organization.

Parents who have not mastered this themselves may face the added challenge of learning along with their teens. Depending on the situation, a teen may need guidance in one or more of the following: removing excess clutter, arranging a desk into a workable space, storing supplies, sorting school papers into folders, or writing organized notes. Some great organization tips can be found in the book Organizing from the Inside Out for Teenagers.

Teaching Time Management Skills

Help Your Teens PexelTimeMgt-300x203 Managing and Reducing School Stress for Teens Time Management skills are a subset of organization skills. However, since time is less tangible than papers in a folder, its management can be a little harder to grasp.

Teen stress due to over-scheduling has often been the subject of discussion in parent circles, but the lack of scheduling can sometimes be a source of even greater pressures. Having multiple assignments, projects, and tests in the works with no study plan can lead to several major stressors, including cramming, late assignments, and poor performance.

Parents can help teens to develop the habit of keeping track of all assignments on a calendar, school planner, chart, or computer. They can also stress the importance of making a checklist of tasks to be completed and demonstrate how to quickly prioritize responsibilities.

Showing teens how to form a schedule for long-term projects or daily study plans for tests can prevent work from piling up and leading to stressful late-night cram sessions. In his book Fighting Invisible Tigers: Stress Management for Teens, psychologist Earl Hipp states that learning to set aside time for relaxation is also an important time management skill.

Teaching Relaxation Techniques

The ability to rest seems like something that should be second nature, but many people in today’s busy world simply do not know how to do it. Teaching teens simple breathing or meditation techniques can go a long way to help relieve tense muscles or calm nerves before an oral presentation. Some numerous books and videos describe such simple techniques. Parents can also advise their teens to enroll in a yoga class.

Offering as Much Support as Possible

Comprehensive way parents can help their middle or high school students to relieve stress is to simply offer their full and unwavering support. Understandably, parents want their children to learn independence, but this can be a gradual process as their children build knowledge and self-confidence.

A parent should continue to provide tutoring and emotional support as well as being actively involved in her child’s education well into the adolescent years. Even something as simple as helping a teenager with a regular household chore during final exams can reduce stress.

About the author: Diane H. Wong is a family coach. Besides, she is a research paper writer DoMyWriting so she prefers to spend her spare time working out marketing strategies. In this case, she has an opportunity to share her experience with others and keep up with advancing technologies.

If you feel you have exhausted your local resources and your teenager is experiencing extreme levels of stress, anxiety or depression – you may want to consider residential therapy. Contact us to learn more about residential treatment.

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Teen Help: Benefits of Reflexology for Adolescents

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 23, 2021  /   Posted in Teen Help

Teens, Preteens Enjoy Reflexology

Adolescents Benefit from Sessions With Their Reflexologist

Help Your Teens PexelReflexology-300x202 Teen Help: Benefits of Reflexology for Adolescents Teenagers can benefit from reflexology for mood and hormone balancing, general wellness, recovery from a sports injury or simply as a stress coping tool.

Parents are likely to bring their teenaged son or daughter to a reflexologist with a specific wellness goal in mind – be it stress or pain management, mood balancing, or help with focus for school.

Reflexology is thought to be a wonderful modality for young people to get started in natural medicine therapies. The entire body is mirrored on reflex maps found on the hands, feet and ears making this form of therapy ideal for whole-body health and wellness.

Using Reflexology for the Athletic Teen

Sports are increasingly demanding on the teenaged body – often resulting in soft tissue injuries. Reflexology can be a helpful tool in speeding the healing and recovery process after a rough game.

Students that are trying to juggle a full class load as well as extra curricular activities such as dance, basketball, soccer, wrestling and the like may find their calendar overwhelming. Self-help reflexology tips from the practitioner can help the adolescent cope with these feelings and manage stress in tense moments.

Balancing Hormones with Reflexology

Nobody ever said it would be easy going through puberty and today’s teens are bombarded with hormone disrupters since conception. Advanced reflexology techniques from a qualified reflexologist can be used on the endocrine system reflexes to restore a level of balance to the body’s hormone levels.

Preteens facing their first menstrual cycle and with classic signs of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can find comfort in a nurturing reflexology session. Techniques can emphasize reproductive system reflexes and pelvic area reflexes to ease cramping and discomfort.

Reflexology as a Coping Tool for Teen Stress

Help Your Teens BigSTockFamilyEatingPizza-300x198 Teen Help: Benefits of Reflexology for Adolescents Pressures from school, friends and the community can be a daily source of stress for teens. Changes in family relationships can be difficult to cope with as well. While mom can enjoy a relaxing bath and dad can knock down a couple of beers after a hectic day, how do teenagers relax?

Families can set wellness goals and health plans to incorporate regular coping tools to combat the day to day stressors of life. These might include regular exercise, healthy meal plans, and family time together – like game night or pizza dinner.

Reflexology can fit nicely into a wellness plan for the teen. Frequency will be based on factors such as stress levels and health goals. The reflexologist may suggest initial appointments be kept weekly or every other week with the goal of tapering off to monthly or seasonally.

Self-Help Reflexology for Family Bonding

Many mothers report great satisfaction in their relationship with their preteen or teen when reflexology is taken home. Exchanging foot rubs can be a nightly or weekly event between a parent and the preteen or teen child. Don’t mistake this for a girls’ only activity though – many boys enjoy giving and receiving therapeutic touch at home too.

Ask the reflexologist for suggestions on techniques or specific reflex points that would be beneficial to work between appointments. Or consider enrolling in an introductory workshop on reflexology to learn the basics from a reflexologist. Adding reflexology into a wellness plan for the whole family can be a great way to encourage communication and gird up relationships.

Leaving Reflexology up to the Teen

It is not recommended to force the teenager to attend a reflexology session. The first appointment may elicit feelings of awkwardness or embarrassment – as with most new ideas from parents. Leaving the frequency up to the teen will give him a sense of control over his wellness so he can request a session without having to explain the need for one.

If the teen is particularly reluctant to trying something new, the reflexologist may offer an introductory meeting to answer any questions and explain what to expect from a reflexology session. Most adolescents find reflexology thoroughly enjoyable – it is relaxing, safe, and can be controlled by requesting changes in pressure techniques.

About the author: Bianca J. Ward is a professional marketing manager at essaywriterfree. Besides, she is a passionate photographer and traveler who has visited 52 countries all over the world. Bianca dreams about creating a photo exhibition to present her works to others.

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Parenting Teens: Signs of Emotional Intelligence

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 21, 2021  /   Posted in Parenting Teens

Learn more about understanding teenage feelings

Help Your Teens UnSplashSadGirl-300x236 Parenting Teens: Signs of Emotional Intelligence There is a rough idea that managing and understanding emotions increase the human chances of success. So here are some of the science of emotional intelligence.

Thinking about feelings

Emotional intelligence starts with social and self-awareness, which is roughly the ability to recognize human emotions in oneself and others. Awareness begins with reflection, which leads to someone asking themselves about their emotional strengths and weaknesses.

For example, medical students use nursing assignment help to find their weaknesses when performing emotional resilience tasks. People also go a long way into asking how their mood affects their decision-making and thoughts. Having questions like those may generate valuable insights that can get utilized to someone’s advantage.

Pausing

It entails taking a moment to halt, and I think well before speaking or acting. The deed can assist you from embarrassing yourself or giving out comments quickly. It, therefore, helps you not to make a permanent decision while you have a temporary emotion.

 Striving to control thoughts

A slight moment may not give you enough room to control your emotions, but you can control how you react to such feelings, and that can get done by focusing only on your thoughts. If you strive to maintain your thoughts, you can resist being coming to a Messenger or a slave to your feelings and emotions, and that can allow you to live in harmony with yourself along with your values and goals.

Benefiting from criticism

Help Your Teens UnSplashHand-300x200 Parenting Teens: Signs of Emotional Intelligence There is no single person that enjoys getting negative feedback. But, on the other hand, criticism is a Golden chance for learning even if you don’t get it in the best way possible. It will also allow you to see how others think. So, instead of feeling bad when you get negative feedback, hold your emotions and ask yourself how you can make it better.

 Showing authenticity

To be authentic does not mean that you share everything concerning yourself with everyone. It means speaking out what you mean and telling whatever you say while sticking to your principles and values above anything else. Not everyone will come around to accept or appreciate your thoughts or feelings, but the people who matter will do it.

 Demonstrating empathy

Showing empathy includes understanding the feelings and thoughts of other people and understanding that can help find more that you have a deeper connection with other people. Instead of labeling and judging other people, you will work hard to see how they view things through their eyes. Of course, to be empathetic does not mean that you agree with other people’s points of view or perception. Still, understanding how they see things allows you to be more connected and build stronger relationships.

Praising others

All human beings are grateful for appreciation and acknowledgment. When you praise other people, you will satisfy their craving, and in the process, you will find yourself building trust. It all begins with focusing on the good that you see in others. Afterward, if you share what you appreciate in them, you’ll inspire them to become the best version that they can be.

Giving positive feedback

When you give negative feedback to people, they will get their feelings hurt and after you realize this, try reframing criticism as a constructive type of feedback so that the recipient can see it as a helpful thought instead of a harmful one.

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Preventing Teen Drug Use: What Parents Need to Know

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 09, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Teen Drug Use, Teen Help

Parent Involvement Key to Stopping Drug Abuse

Parenting Styles Can Help Keep Addiction at Bay

Help Your Teens PexelsDrugs-300x203 Preventing Teen Drug Use: What Parents Need to Know Parents wondering how to best prevent drug use may only need to look in the mirror for their best answer. How parents approach their duties to their teenagers makes a major difference in whether their young teens will experiment, abuse, or become addicted to drugs.

Thomas Dishion in his article “Prevention of Early Adolescent Substance Abuse Among High-Risk Youth” [University of Hawaii, 1998] identifies certain patterns which prove problematic in increasing the risk of teens becoming drug users. Parent interventions and parenting styles have major impacts on these risks.

Parents need to focus on three primary areas. These include setting appropriate rules and guidelines for teen behavior outside of the family, expressing and enforcing appropriate rules with their adolescent in regards to school achievement, and setting strong boundaries by conveying education and limits about drug and alcohol use.

Drugs That Teenagers Commonly Use

Commonly used drugs by teenagers include marijuana, alcohol, ecstasy, cocaine, mushrooms, acid, and amphetamines. Some teenagers are exposed to drugs such as heroin, crack, and ketamine. These drugs all have different effects on the body, but each one can lead to dependency and a complete change in the teen’s behavior.

The Effects of Drugs on the Body

Drugs can have various effects on the body of teenagers. Some serious health effects come from using and abusing drugs. These include severe depression, mood swings, violence, heart problems, seizures, organ damage, anorexia, obesity, and brain damage. Drugs can also lead to overdoses, causing comas or death.

Signs That Your Teen is on Drugs

Signs that a teenager is on drugs vary depending on the drug being used. Signs that a teen is using marijuana include uncontrollable laughter, red or glossy eyes, slow and loud talking, eating large amounts of food, and sleeping a lot.

Signs of alcohol or downers – such as heroin and ketamine – abuse include slurred speech, difficulty standing or walking, anger, uncontrollable crying, vomiting, and passing out. Signs that a teen is on stimulants such as ecstasy, cocaine, and amphetamines include fast-talking, high energy levels, lack of appetite, weight loss, poor sleep habits, mood swings, anger, and euphoria. Upon signs of drug use in teens, parents should do their research to best help their teenagers get help for the problem.

Establishing Influence on the Behavior of Your Teen Outside the Family

Help Your Teens PexelsFamilyDogtime-300x204 Preventing Teen Drug Use: What Parents Need to Know Parents need to remember their teens will likely carry social skills learned within the family into their lives outside the family.

This means parents need to adopt a priority in helping teens learn to interact with others.

These skills include:

  • The ability to express their opinion clearly.
  • The ability to stand up to peers while feeling good about themselves.
  • The ability to ask for help with questions and situations which confuse the teenager.
  • The ability to find friends with supportive values.

These skills are communicated through everyday activities within the family. Parents may wish to consider specific exercises to increase these skills. Parents must also keep the channels of communication open, responding with empathy and information when a teenager seeks advice.

Encouraging School Achievement

Students’ performance in comparison to their peers seems to have a relation with drug behavior according to Dishion. Parents need to make homework and other school objectives a paramount concern.

Some ideas to focus on homework success include:

  • Setting up specific times for homework and being available to teens during this time.
  • Rewarding successful completion of homework projects.
  • Providing discipline for failing to complete homework or projects.
  • Contacting teachers and principals to clarify and verify assignments.

Setting Clear Limits about Drugs

Parents need to be very clear about their non-tolerance of drug and alcohol use by their teens. Discipline and punishments should be made clear to the teenager. Education about drug effects and dangers should also be reiterated. Many experts agree that education does not increase drug use, but rather may serve to provide teenagers more reasons to say no.

Parents should:

  • Have a no-drug policy at home.
  • Address drug dangers and effects with their teens.
  • Reflect sober living to their teens.
  • React immediately and seriously to any violations of the home’s no drug policy.
  • Provide ongoing education to the teenager about drugs, especially those drugs receiving social or media attention.

Parents hold an incredible ability to influence their teens away from drug and alcohol abuse. By teaching teens to hold onto their values in the face of peer pressure, establishing good classroom habits, and providing clear boundaries on drug use, parents play an essential role in preventing drug abuse.

About the author: Nicholas H. Parker is an essay writer at BuyEssayClub. He used to manage the content team at the company he worked for. Currently, Nicholas writes articles to share his knowledge with others and obtain new skills. Besides, he is highly interested in the psychology sphere.

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How Screen Time Can Impact Your Teen’s Mental Health

Posted by Sue Scheff on June 14, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Internet Addiction, Teen Help

Teens, Technology and Emotional Wellness

Help Your Teens UnSplashTeenScreentime-300x225 How Screen Time Can Impact Your Teen's Mental Health Teenagers today could probably be known as the “iPhone generation”. They never knew a world without technology at their fingertips, and they’ve grown up with screens and digital devices at every turn. So, smartphones, tablets, and computer screens are part of everyday life for most teenagers.

But, is that a good thing?

Parents and scientists alike have shown great interest in the effects of screen time on a teenager’s health. Some studies have argued that too much of it can cause physical health issues.  On the other hand, many teens use technology as a way to stay connected. Taking it away could impact their mental health.

So, what’s the answer? As a parent, that’s up to you. But, it’s important to know what screen time can really do to your teen – especially when it comes to their mental health.

Common Mental Health Concerns

It’s estimated that teenagers spend over seven hours looking at their phones each day. Whether they’re scrolling through Instagram, creating TikToks, or chatting on WhatsApp, it’s easy for teenagers to get lost in the social aspect of being on their phones. Of course, phones and tablets are also used for entertainment, like watching videos and playing games. The options are endless, which makes it easy to waste hours without really thinking about it.

That connection can lead to things like peer pressure, bullying, or even just the desire to “fit in” on different social media platforms. Your teen might feel as though they have to constantly be plugged in just to keep up with their friends.

Unfortunately, that can take a toll on their mental health. One study found that teens who spend at least three or four hours a day looking at a screen have an increased risk of depression, thoughts of self-harm, and even suicide. Another study found that young people who spend at least seven hours in front of a screen each day are more likely to officially be diagnosed with depression or anxiety. It also found that the less screen time a teen had, the better their overall wellbeing.

The mental health issues associated with too much screen time can lead to bigger problems. Depression and anxiety can cause teenagers to:

  • Become fatigued
  • Have trouble concentrating
  • Isolating themselves
  • Losing interest in things they love
  • Have lower test scores

It can be difficult to understand teen depression. But, paying attention to these warning signs can alert you that something isn’t right. If you know that your teen spends most of their time in front of a screen, it won’t be hard to connect the dots and find out where their problems are stemming from.

Don’t Overlook the Physical Issues

Help Your Teens PexelSleepingTeen-300x200 How Screen Time Can Impact Your Teen's Mental Health In addition to mental health concerns, spending too much time in front of screens can lead to physical problems, too. For starters, starting at a screen all day can wreak havoc on your eyes. When a teenager spends too long looking at a screen, they can strain their eyes because the constant movement makes it harder to focus.

The light from the screen can also cause the eyes to become tired and lead to vision issues. Some of the common signs of vision problems include:

  • Squinting
  • Head tilting
  • Poor hand-eye coordination
  • Rubbing their eyes
  • Headaches

In addition to damaging the eyes, staring at a digital device all day can cause back and neck problems. It can even lead to poor sleep quality, which could leave your teen feeling tired and make them more prone to getting sick or injured. While feelings of depression and anxiety are important to recognize, don’t ignore the physical problems your teen could have to deal with because of their phones or tablets, either.

How to Talk to Your Teen About Screen Time

As a parent of a teenager, you probably already know it’s not always easy to talk to them – especially about things they don’t want to give up. But, knowing how screen time can impact them, it’s important to set boundaries. That’s especially true if your teen is spending most of their time at home.

Create a schedule that works for everyone, allowing them to use their electronic devices during certain hours of the day and only for a set amount of time. You might get some pushback at first. But, creating a schedule is a great way to be fair. Eventually, your teen will look forward to those times when they have their devices and will know how to handle it when each time is over.

To promote less screen time, encourage your teen to try other things. What are their other interests and hobbies? Or, what’s something you think would love if they tried it? If they have a passion for art, encourage them to create their own art, like a comic book. Do they love music? Suggest an instrument.

Maybe they have gotten into running or strength training. Why not encourage a sport? When your teen really discovers their passion, they’ll be less enamored with their screens. As a result, they can be mentally and physically healthier, and you can take comfort in knowing they aren’t depending on a digital device to find contentment.

If you feel you have exhausted your local resources — and your teen needs more help, contact us about how residential might be able to benefit your family.

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Finding Teen Boot Camps for Troubled Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on June 14, 2021  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Teen Boot Camps and Scared Straight Programs

The myths of teen boot camps and scared straight programs for troubled and defiant teens
Help Your Teens ScaredStraight-300x224 Finding Teen Boot Camps for Troubled Teens

Years ago parents would threaten to send their children, especially defiant and belligerent teens to military school or boot camp.

Then some sheriff’s departments developed Scared Straight programs through their jails.

Inmates would speak to the youth about their experiences, both inside and on the outside, hopefully giving them enough of a jolt to realize they don’t want to be in their shoes.

If you are interested in scared straight programs, sometimes they can be effective with certain teenagers. Check with your local sheriff’s department to see if they offer them. They are becoming more and more scarce – likely because they are non-effective.

In regards to military schools, parents are making false threats since they will be quick to learn that these type of boarding schools are typically a privilege and honor to attend.

Your child will need a good GPA to be accepted as well as be willing to attend. Not to mention, if they are struggling with any type of experimentation of substance use, military campuses are not immune to students bringing in drugs or alcohol.

They will be reprimanded, and like a traditional school – will be expelled within their school policy. However, you will forfeit your tuition with that that typically starts at $25,000.

Help Your Teens PexelsBootcamp-300x200 Finding Teen Boot Camps for Troubled Teens Boot camps are what parents think about initially. They believe it’s a quick way to teach their teen a lesson – which typically can backfire on them.

They are very difficult to locate at this point. With a lot of negative press as well as very poor results, most have been closed and no longer in operation.

Boot camps were usually a weekend where teens were placed in a military-style environment with rigorous physical exercise in an effort to break your child down.

It is an in-your-face type of discipline that isn’t resolving any of their emotional issues that is causing their negative behavior at home or school.

Many of these teens are already broken – emotionally. They are usually depressed and struggle with low self-esteem, placing them in an environment that only degrades them will likely build more anger and resentment – especially towards the people that put them there – the parents.

We challenge parents to switch places. If you are going through a rough time in your life, whether it be a divorce or a friend that is not treating you well, how would you feel if no one was speaking with you and you had people screaming at you constantly and degrading you as you are struggling just to get by?

Healthy Teen Help Choices

Help Your Teens TeenArtTherapy-300x212 Finding Teen Boot Camps for Troubled Teens

Art therapy helps inspire teens.

Residential therapy, which includes emotional growth programs helps your teen work through their issues. Having conversations with counselors, peers and also participating in activities that can help build their confidence to make better choices is what can help start the recovery process.

Residential treatment centers is about building your child back up again, not breaking them down.

Before you think your child needs a good punishment, think about what it will really achieve?

Being a teenager today is not easy. Being a parent is even more of a challenge today – we all have to do our best to make it work and give our kids the best future. Choosing the primitive and punitive road usually isn’t the best decision.

Do you have questions or want to learn more about quality residential therapy? Concerned about how to pay for it? Schools and programs offer financial options that parents have considered.

Contact us today to learn more about teen help programs.

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How the Pandemic Has Increased Teen Depression: What You Can Do About It

Posted by Sue Scheff on June 09, 2021  /   Posted in Featured Article, Teen Depression, Teen Help

The Pandemic, Teens and Depression: How You Can Help

Help Your Teens PexelTeenDepression-194x300 How the Pandemic Has Increased Teen Depression: What You Can Do About It Stuck at home for months on end and removed from their normal active social lives, many teens may have fallen into a dark period. Considering these unusual factors, a rise in instances of teen depression during the pandemic may not be unexpected. But by no means does that mean it should be ignored.

Research studies have revealed startling statistic evidence of just how much the pandemic has affected teenagers.

The three biggest mood conditions affecting teenagers between 13 and 18 years old (anxiety, depression, and adjustment disorders) have been shown to have increased by 80% to 90% between the spring of 2020 and the previous year.

Substance abuse levels among teenagers increased by about 65% in March and April of 2020, and instances of intentional self-harm skyrocketed. In the Northeast of the United States, the number of intentional self-harm instances rose to 334% among teenagers in August of 2020 as compared to August of 2019. 

These statistics may be alarming, but that is all the more reason to investigate the causes of these all-too-common problems and search for solutions. In this article, we will take a deeper look at how the pandemic has caused an increase in teen depression. Then we will explore what you can do to help support your teenager.

Effects of the Pandemic on Your Teenager

In general, the teenaged years are already turbulent for most, and levels of anxiety and depression frequently begin during this 13- to 18-year-old age group. The life of a teenager is full of developmental transitions, and life transitions.

The hormonal changes of puberty coupled with the increased pressure of high school social life, applying for college, and impending adulthood can create an intensely pressurized period in any teenager’s life. 

But with the pandemic, not only were the usual pressures and anxieties heightened, but the typical releases were removed. Teenagers accustomed to venting with their friends after school, meeting with a variety of teachers and mentors, exercising during sports practice, and engaging in a variety of activities that stimulated and challenged them were now isolated inside their homes. Social activity, mental stimulation, and school all took place over the internet, and that social isolation coupled with increased time online spelled a recipe for disaster for many susceptible teens. 

Experts have not yet made direct links between the pandemic and increases in youth suicide. They have noted, however, that the pandemic has caused added stress on teenagers, and has left many teenagers feeling hopeless about the future as well. Instead of connecting with others, teens have been confronted with financial fallout and an unceasing flurry of grim news reporting which has left them stewing in negative thoughts that can exacerbate any pre-existing anxiety or depression. 

What You Can Do to Help

Allow Them Space to Breathe

Help Your Teens PexelTeenCell5-1-300x205 How the Pandemic Has Increased Teen Depression: What You Can Do About It Many parents have found that their teenager has become increasingly withdrawn and uncommunicative during the pandemic. Even in the face of stony silence, it is important to make clear to your teen that they are not alone. Try creating a designated time to share openly- and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.

Make sure your teen knows that they can trust you, and that you are open to having frank and even difficult conversations with them. 

While they should certainly feel that their parents offer a safe space to communicate, it is also vital for your teens to have some healthy privacy and alone time. Allow them to recoup and retreat into their rooms to listen to music, be creative, read, play, or process through complex thoughts. Give them space to breathe but pay attention to any especially spiky moods and extreme downturns of behavior. You don’t want to smother your teen, but at the same time, you want to make sure they are safe. Try to strike a healthy balance between observation and trust. 

Maintain Social Connections

Particularly for teens going through intense emotional turmoil and facing down uncommon pressures caused by the pandemic, maintaining social connections is vital. Some parents have taken the approach of loosening social media restrictions, with widely beneficial results. Encourage your teens to continue connecting with their peers, even online. 

Just make sure to implement healthy boundaries and restrictions so your teenager isn’t chatting online to the exclusion of everything else- particularly exercise and sleep. Try implementing a nighttime social media curfew, so your teens are not exposed to the glaring blue light of the screen right before bedtime. You may also want to restrict social media usage to age-appropriate platforms. That can help protect your teens from cyber bullies, hackers, spam, or inappropriate content. 

You can also organize family and friend gatherings via video chat. Your teen may be reticent to attend, but these reminders of pre-pandemic life can be helpful for increasing a feeling of social connection and reminding your teen that they are not alone. 

Implement Healthy Routines

Help Your Teens PexelFamilyJogging-300x207 How the Pandemic Has Increased Teen Depression: What You Can Do About It While the last thing your teenager may want to do is participate in family exercise sessions, or follow bedtime guidelines, these are some of the most important tools you can use to try to combat the effects of anxiety and depression. Because anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders have physical bases, encouraging your teenager to get exercise and regular sleep can help ease the underlying disorders. This can be a vicious cycle; the less sleep your teen gets, the worse their mood disorder may become, thus making it harder to sleep or to go to bed at a reasonable hour. 

Try to help your teen create and maintain a regular daily routine that can provide a structure to their days and evenings. One of the most disruptive factors of the pandemic has been the removal of regular routines, which allow teenagers to disregard normal waking hours, school times, and bedtimes. 

Create a shared calendar to demarcate when online learning should happen, when your teens are expected to complete their chores, and even family outings for exercise and a change of scenery. Encouraging regular physical activity can help increase the body’s responses against depression and anxiety and regulate the sleep cycle. 

Bring in a Professional

Help Your Teens bigstock-Female-Psychologist-Working-Wi-237972997-300x200 How the Pandemic Has Increased Teen Depression: What You Can Do About It You may also want to incorporate assistance from a designated mental health professional. Bringing an extra source of support can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety for your teen and can also provide extra support for parents of teenagers struggling with emotional imbalances. 

Talk to your teenager’s teacher or school counselors, and consider trying on internet-based therapist, counselor, or psychologist. You can also look into a variety of online mental health programs that encourage teenagers to engage with their emotions and connect with others, sometimes anonymously. 

Giving your teenager a safe space to vent and process their emotions with an impartial third-party professional can help a huge amount, and can allow them to talk about things they might not feel comfortable sharing with a parent or sibling- particularly when you are all sharing the close quarters of home during the pandemic. 

Connecting with Your Teen

The pandemic has been difficult for all of us, and some of the problems that parents face can sometimes be transferred to their kids accidentally. Remember that your teenager may be able to handle more than you think. Connect with them honestly and openly up to a point, making sure they know that they are heard, seen, and respected. 

Allow them to hide away when they need to, but also make it clear that you are there for them as a strong pillar of support, no matter how difficult it may seem. Let them know that you are available to help them get through whatever they are experiencing, and that together you can help ease some of the pressure that your teen may feel.

Check out our featured book, The Teen Depression Workbook for more resources.

Are you concerned about your teen? Exhausted your local resources? Contact us for a free consultation to find out if residential therapy is right for your family.

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How to Give Your Teen Effective Advice

Posted by Sue Scheff on May 25, 2021  /   Posted in Teen Help

Tips to Giving Your Effective Advice

Helping them to be good listeners

Help Your Teens PexelParentTeenAnnoyed-300x207 How to Give Your Teen Effective Advice When parents give advice to their kids and teenagers, many moms and dads can be confused and not understand why kids can struggle to be receptive and take on advice. The best way to understand where this natural tendency to be averse to (sound) advice as a kid stems from is to think about it from your point of view.

Take the exact advice you are giving to your kids and imagine your partner giving it to you if you were frustrated or had a little bit of pent-up animosity inside you.

Chances are, you would probably feel a little bit frustrated and maybe even angry. The transaction of giving advice and accepting it can be difficult on both sides, and it is important to understand why. There are ways to make this interaction less of a fight and more of a productive exchange.

Funnily enough, things actually get even harder when we as parents offer unsolicited advice to our kids. Although you might think that you could live their life so much better than them, doing this will actually interfere with their growth patterns and need for autonomy as they develop. Kids need to make their own decisions and listen to their own intuition in a somewhat guided, but still independent, manner.

This is arguably the most difficult part of parenting because it involves the art of letting go. Libby Whitely, a parenting blogger at Draftbeyond and Lastminutewriting, commented,

“This part of parenting goes against the natural basic instinct of protecting our children from harm that runs through all species on earth.”

We are going to run through a few different helpful tips and tricks which will allow you to take a step back from certain difficult situations and breathe. As parents, we can use all the help we can get, can’t we?

  1. Stick with Stories, Not Instruction

Help Your Teens PexelTalkingtoTeen-300x201 How to Give Your Teen Effective Advice Something that I found worked well for me in raising my three little rascals was using personal stories and relatable tales instead of just telling them point blank ‘do this, do that’. I have found that they are a lot more likely to head in the direction of my advice if I employ this tactic rather than just laying out the law and expecting it to be followed to a T.

Casual conversing feels more like a level playing field for your growing munchkins, and less like they are being ‘told what to do’. What greater use of your stories from childhood than to use them to help your own kids. 

  1. Try Answering a Question with a Question Back

The one thing that many parents do not consider, or underestimate is that kids will already know what they are planning to do before they ask for advice. Though this is not true for everyone, a vast majority of children who ask their parents for advice already have a vague idea of what they want to do. It is important to give advice, but stay on the side-lines by answering back with a question to help guide their own decision making.

  1. Be Patient, Wait for Them

Often times it can be easy to rush your kids straight to a solution when you think you have all the answers. This process is super unhelpful for them and will not be beneficial for their decision-making skills in the long run. Yasmin Farley, a psychology writer at Writinity and Researchpapersuk, noted that,

“The best thing to do is to lead them slowly and guide them gently, but ensure they get to the end point on their own. Independent decision making is crucial for growing teens.”

  1. Try to Steer Away From “I told you so”

As a parent it is so difficult to hold your tongue when something that you warned your child about turns out exactly the way you said it would; trust me, I know. The best bet in these situations is to keep your mouth closed, because “I told you so’s” can be hurtful and damaging for a child’s self esteem and growing mind and body. 

No parent is perfect, no matter how hard we try. However, using some simple tips and tricks like these ones along the way can definitely help you out and assist you in building your teen up to be a great adult.

Contributor: Ashley Halsey is an online blogger and content writer at Dissertation writing services UK and GumEssays who has been involved in many projects throughout the country. She has three rambunctious teenagers who keep her life interesting as she travels around the country attending psychology and parenting courses. 

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Teen Boot Camps and Scared Straight Programs

Posted by Sue Scheff on May 13, 2021  /   Posted in Teen Help

Teen Help for Troubled and Defiant Teens

The myths of boot camps and scared straight programs

Help Your Teens ScaredStraight-300x224 Teen Boot Camps and Scared Straight Programs Years ago parents would threaten to send their children, especially defiant and belligerent teens to military school or boot camp.

Then some sheriff’s departments developed Scared Straight programs through their  jails.

Inmates would speak to the youth about their experiences, both inside and on the outside, hopefully giving them enough of a jolt to realize they don’t want to be in their shoes.

If you are interested in scared straight or boot camp programs, sometimes they can be effective with certain teenagers.  Check with your local sheriff’s department to see if they offer them. They are becoming more and more scarce – likely because they are non-effective.

In regards to military schools, parents are making false threats since they will be quick to learn that these type of boarding schools are typically a privilege and honor to attend.

Your child will need a good GPA to be accepted as well as be willing to attend.  Not to mention, if they are struggling with any type of experimentation of substance use, military campuses are not immune to students bringing in drugs or alcohol.

They will be reprimanded, and like a traditional school – will be expelled within their school policy.  However, you will forfeit your tuition with which starts at about $25,000 per school year.

Do you have good teen making bad choices?

Smart, yet failing in school? Lack motivation?
Defiant, depressed or addicted to their devices?

We’re here to help, contact us for a free consultation.

Help Your Teens TitleCard-300x174 Teen Boot Camps and Scared Straight Programs P.U.R.E. assists parents in finding the best resources for their teen.

We have been educating parents since 2001 on the teen-help industry.

“A parent in denial is only prolonging getting their teen the help they need. There is no shame in admitting you need help to get your family back on a healthy track. Your teen will eventually thank you.”

Do you feel like you’re walking on eggshells? Hostage in your own home?

-What are the signs your teen might need extra help? Learn more.
-Are they a smart teen failing in school? Skipping classes? Facing truancy?
-Do you suspect they are using drugs, drinking? How to spot substance use.
-Is your teen addicted to their devices or social media obsession? Find out more.
-Is your adopted teen struggling with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)?
-Is your teen struggling with depression or anxiety? Maybe they started self-harming.
-Are you at your wit’s end dealing with defiance, anger or rage?
-Are you worried they will hate you if you decide on residential therapy? Be educated.
-Is residential therapy right for my teen? What you need to know.
-A young adult failing to thrive?

The internet can be so confusing! P.U.R.E. helps you navigate the big business of teen help. Start with our insight tips on researching schools and programs.

We have been there before you and can guide you through this process of researching the variety of options and resources available to you.

Contact us for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Resident therapy is a major financial and emotional decision. There are many options for parents to consider. An educated parent will be able to make the best decision for their teen and their family’s needs.

Parent Choices for Teen Help

Therapy and counseling

Help Your Teens BigTherapyGirl2-300x195 Teen Boot Camps and Scared Straight Programs Local therapy is a good place to start for children who are struggling at home and in school. To locate a local therapist, it is beneficial to contact your insurance company for a list of adolescent therapists in your area.

If you don’t have insurance when calling therapists, ask them if they accept sliding scales according to your income. Ask your pediatrician or family doctor for a referral. Find a Therapist through Psychologist Today offers good guidance on how to find a therapist that will meet your teens and family’s needs.

In many states, when families don’t have insurance or resources, United Way will have programs set-up for families with at-risk teens. Call your local office for more information.

Therapeutic Boarding Schools (TBS)

Therapeutic Boarding Schools offer therapy and academics to students. Usually, the student has not done well in a traditional school and is making bad choices that could have an effect on their future. Although many of the students are exceptionally smart, they are not working to their ability. Sometimes peer pressure can lead your child down a destructive path.

Removing them from their environment can be beneficial to them to focus on themselves both emotionally and academically. This can be a scary decision, however sometimes the best one for your teen to be able to have a bright future.

How do you know if you’re ready to take this step? Ask yourself these questions.

Contact us for a FREE CONSULTATION

Residential Treatment Center (RTC)

Help Your Teens BigGroupTherapy-300x236 Teen Boot Camps and Scared Straight Programs Residential Treatment Centers, similar to a TBS, offer therapy and academics. However Residential Treatment Centers are for children that require more clinical support. Their issues are more specific with substance abuse, eating disorders, self-mutilators, and other behavioral issues.

What’s the difference between a TBS and RTC?

Contact us for a FREE CONSULTATION

Christian Therapeutic Boarding Schools

Christian Therapeutic Boarding Schools are the same as therapeutic boarding schools with the addition of a spiritual component. They will have credentialed staff, accredited academics and enrichment programs as well as spirituality in their program. There are also Christian Residential Treatment Centers, which are the same as RTC’s with a spiritual component.

This is not to be confused with religious schools or programs that usually have mental Christian counselors (which are not covered by insurance), questionable academics and limited (if any) enrichment programs. These programs are typically are less in tuition, however your child will be there (sometimes) twice as long. They also fall under a different umbrella so they don’t have to meet the same standards or regulations as therapeutic boarding schools or residential treatment centers.

We are familiar with many reputable Christian therapeutic quality boarding schools that accept insurances. Contact us for more information.

Traditional Boarding Schools

Help Your Teens canstockphoto18913721-300x200 Teen Boot Camps and Scared Straight Programs Traditional Boarding Schools are like Military Schools, in which your child will have to want to attend and be accepted into the school.

There are many excellent Boarding Schools that offer both academics and special needs for students. Many specialize in specific areas such as fine arts, music, and competitive sports. In most cases, therapy is not offered unless contracted on the outside.

Wilderness Therapy Programs

Wilderness Programs are commonly referred to as an outdoor therapeutic and educational experience. There are reputable Wilderness Programs throughout the United States that offer short term assistance to parents that are in crisis with their teens. These programs can be very costly with most starting at $400.00 per day and up.

The immediate impact Wilderness Programs have on many teens can be a positive change, however rarely long lasting according to families that we have spoken with. In most cases a longer term Therapeutic Boarding School is necessary for students after attending a Wilderness Program. The ABC show Brat Camp had generated a lot of interest in Wilderness Programs. For more information please contact us directly.

Military Schools and Academies

Military Schools have been around for over a hundred years. Many parents are under the misconception that Military Schools are for at risk children. Military Schools are a privilege and honor to attend and be accepted into. Your child must have some desire to attend a Military School. Many children believe Military Schools are for bad kids, however if they visit a campus they may realize it is an opportunity for them. Many parents start with a Military Summer program to determine if their child is a candidate for Military School.

Military Schools usually do not offer therapy, unless contracted on the outside of the school. They offer structure, positive discipline, self-confidence, small class sizes and excellent academics. Military Schools can build a student’s self-esteem; motivate them to benefit their future both socially and academically.

Life skills programs for young adults (failure to thrive syndrome)

Life Skills Programs for young adults (18-25) years old can offer the following ways to help stimulate your child in a positive direction and give them a second opportunity at bright future:

  • Therapy through emotional growth. A young adult displaying a level of resistance to school or work will need to address the underlying causes in therapy. This is sometimes easier after leaving the comforts of their home environment outside peer influences.
  • Building encouragement through a positive peer environment. Expressing frustration and anger with your child will likely make them feel worse and increase failure to launch behaviors.
  • Structure. Help your young adult find the right balance between staying busy and having down time.
  • Goal setting through mentorship and internship programs.
  • Accountability through basic life skills of chores, hygiene, financial literacy, culinary skills, healthy diet decisions and more.
  • Enrichment programs that can range from caring for animals, woodshop, landscaping, farming, arts and music, community volunteer work, gardening and more.
  • Education – from finishing high school to starting college classes or enrolling in vocational training, every student has an opportunity to learn.

Life Skills Program can equip your child with coping skills to deal with adversity and change that real-life can throw at them, as well as help students identify who they are by what they can do, rather than what they have done.

Contact us for a FREE CONSULTATION

Teen Coach

As many adults are hiring life coaches, some parents have found it beneficial to find a mentor or teen life coach in their community for their teenager. This would be a person that can help your teen navigate peer pressure, social media, friendships and other issues that sometimes they have a hard time expressing with a traditional therapist. If should never eliminate parent involvement in your child’s life.

We have heard from many parents their teen refuses to attend therapy, however a teen coach might be less threatening – and doesn’t have the same stigma with young people.

What is a teen coach? Here are two parent and teen coaches that have been referred by other parents you may want to contact to ask for suggestions:

Krissy Pozatek, MSW, Parent Coach

The Teen Life Coach

Certified Parent and Life Coach

Parent Support Groups, Workshops and Online Classes

Support groups, workshops and virtual classes can be a great place to speak with other parents that are going through the same frustrations and stress you are going through with your teenager. Learn more.

Parenting Books

Please visit our P.U.R.E. Library for parenting and teen books that we recommend, as well as other parents have suggested that they have found helpful in raising their teenagers.

Always check out our monthly featured parenting book!

Free Consultation

Contact us for a free consultation about residential therapy for your teenager.

Do you have a young adult? 18 – 25 years-old struggling with setting goals or failing to thrive?
Learn more about Life Skills Programs, contact us today.

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