Entitled attitude – feels they deserves or are “owed” stuff but not willing to put in the effort
Substance abuse, vaping
Self-harm, suicide ideation
Running away, sneaking out
Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
Family conflict, withdrawing from family
Dropping out of their favorite activities (sports, dance, cheerleading)
Shoplifting, stealing (usually from parents)
Have you tried these things to help:
Switching schools, moving
School counselors, therapists
Taking away technology, removing cell-phones
Mentors, teen coaches
Short-term in-patient or out-patient services
Living with a relative
There are few things more frustrating than trying to help someone who doesn’t want help. They don’t see any reason to change their behavior because it isn’t causing enough pain and frustration now.
But if they don’t get help. . . then they are going to experience a very challenging life. They are unlikely to complete high-school let alone be able to obtain and hold a job. It is unlikely that they will have the opportunities that you want for them. They will struggle.
They needs more help than you can offer. . . but it isn’t too late.
Removing your teen from the influences of negative peer groups or sometimes even family conflict can help them reflect more on what is creating their negative behavior.
These programs (therapeutic boarding schools/residential treatment centers) continue with your son’s education, have therapists to work on your son’s emotional wellbeing to help him develop coping and communication skills as well as building motivation and setting goals for his (now) bright future.
This is a major emotional and financial decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s why we help educate parents on schools and programs that would best fit their individual teen’s needs. We know how confusing the internet can be — and you don’t want to make a rash decision while you’re in crisis. Learn from our mistakes, gain from our knowledge. Read more about the founders story.
Contact us today for a free consultant about teen help programs.
It’s been a challenging time since the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve seen a rise in teen depression, anxiety, stress and worse — self-harm and suicide ideation.
Parents are dealing with teen defiance that is amplified more than ever. Remote learning has been anything but easy for most teenagers.
Today teenager’s not only have the stress of schoolwork and peer pressure, they are concerned about their social media presence. If you doubt this is an issue, you are fooling yourself. Statistics have proven that teens rely on their virtual reality for many feelings of acceptance. This is why it is critical for parents to continue to have offline discussions about online reality.
FOMO (fear of missing out) is very real for these kids today. Even some adults have this fear. You have to look far and wide to walk down the street to find someone without their cell phone in their hand.
Complaints of pains, including headaches, stomachaches, low back pain, or fatigue
Sleeping a lot
Difficulty making decisions
Excessive or inappropriate guilt
Irresponsible behavior — for example, forgetting obligations, being late for classes, skipping school
Loss of interest in food or compulsive overeating that results in rapid weight loss or gain
Preoccupation with death and dying
Rebellious behavior, defiance (more than normal)
Sadness, anxiety, or a feeling of hopelessness
Staying awake at night and sleeping during the day
Sudden drop in grades (underachieving)
Use of alcohol or drugs and promiscuous sexual activity
Withdrawal from friends and family
Withdrawal from activities they used to love
The lesser known relative of depression, anxiety, afflicts people of all ages and can be especially detrimental for teenagers. It is completely normal and even common for individuals to experience anxiety, particularly during stressful periods, such as before a test or important date (think Prom). For many, this is beneficial, serving as motivation to study hard and perform well; however, for many, anxiety goes beyond standard high-stress periods. While occasional stress is nothing to worry about and can even be healthy, many people experience anxiety on an ongoing basis. People, especially teenagers, who suffer from anxiety disorders, find that their daily life can be interrupted by the intense, often long-lasting fear or worry.
Anxiety disorders are not fatal; however, they can severely interfere with an individual’s ability to function normally on a daily basis. The intense feelings of fear and worry often lead to a lack of sleep as it makes it very difficult for people to fall asleep. Those with anxiety disorders also commonly suffer from physical manifestations of the anxiety.
The anxiety can cause headaches, stomach aches, and even vomiting. In addition stress can cause individuals to lose their appetite or have trouble eating. One of the more difficult aspects for students to deal with is difficulty concentrating.
When one is consumed with worry, his or her mind continuously considers the worrisome thoughts, making it considerably harder for teenagers to concentrate on school work and other mentally intensive tasks. These affects of anxiety can make it difficult for teenagers to simply get through the day, let alone enjoy life and relax.
While there seems to be no single cause of anxiety disorders, it is clear that they can run in a family. The fact that anxiety disorders can run in families indicates that there may be a genetic or hereditary connection. Because a family member may suffer from an anxiety disorder does not necessarily mean that you will. However, individuals who have family members with this disorder are far more likely to develop it.
Within the brain, neurotransmitters help to regulate mood, so an imbalance in the level of specific neurotransmitters can cause a change in mood. It is this imbalance in a neurotransmitter called serotonin that leads to anxiety. Interestingly, an imbalance of serotonin in the brain is directly related to depression.
For this reason, SSRI medications, more commonly referred to as anti-depressants, are often used to help treat an anxiety disorder. Medication can provide significant relief for those suffering from anxiety disorders; however, it is often not the most efficient form of treatment.
In addition to medication, treatments for anxiety disorders include cognitive-behavioral therapy, other types of talk therapy, and relaxation and biofeedback to control muscle tension. Talk therapy can be the most effective treatment for teenagers, as they discuss their feelings and issues with a mental health professional.
Many teens find it incredibly helpful to simply talk about the stress and anxiety that they feel. Additionally, in a specific kind of talk therapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy teens actively “unlearn” some of their fear. This treatment teaches individuals a new way to approach fear and anxiety and how to deal with the feelings that they experience.
Many people attempt to medicate themselves when they suffer from stress or anxiety. While individuals find different ways to deal with the intense worry that they may experience, self medication can be very detrimental to their body.
It is not uncommon for people who suffer from anxiety disorders to turn to alcohol or drugs to relieve the anxiety. While this may provide a temporary fix for the afflicted, in the long run it is harmful. By relying on these methods, individuals do not learn how to deal with the anxiety naturally. Reliance on other substances can also lead to alcohol or drug abuse, which can be an especially significant problem if it is developed during the teen years.
Statistics on teen anxiety show that anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental disorders among adolescents:
8-10 percent of adolescents suffer from an anxiety disorder
Symptoms of an anxiety disorder include: anger, depression, fatigue, extreme mood swings, substance abuse, secretive behavior, changes in sleeping and eating habits, bad hygiene or meticulous attention to, compulsive or obsessive behavior
One in eight adult Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder totaling 19 million people
Research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health has shown that anxiety disorders are the number one mental health problem among American women and are second only to alcohol and drug abuse among men
Anxiety sufferers see an average of five doctors before being successfully diagnosed
Teen depression and anxietyis treatable. It’s imperative you seek help for your child. As many parents know, sometimes your teenager can be stubborn and refuse to get help. It’s a parent’s responsibility to do what is best for them.
Finding the best therapist that specialize with adolescent’s and connects with your son or daughter may take a few tries. Sometimes outpatient therapy works and typically finding a good peer support group is always beneficial.
If you come to a point where you have exhausted all of your local resources and you find your teen is still hitting rock bottom in darkness, you may want to consider residential therapy. This gives them a second opportunity at a bright future. It doesn’t say you or they are failures – opens up many doors for them.
They will be with others that feel the same feelings they do – they are not alone. It’s not any different when adults have feelings of sadness and want to talk to people that feel the same way – they can bring each other through their difficult times. Contact us for more information.
Parenting the New Teen in the Age of Anxiety: A Complete Guide to Your Child’s Stressed, Depressed, Expanded, Amazing Adolescence
By Dr. John Duffy
Parenting is more difficult and complicated than it has ever been. Our kids today are psychologically and emotionally burdened by social media, unreasonable academic and social stressors, and an unprecedented stream of information. They are exposed to the harshest elements of the world much too soon. The upside is that they have this thoughtful, compassionate worldview and sense of justice that we may have lacked. The downside is that our kids are in an undue degree of psychic pain. They suffer far more anxiety, depression, attention issues, and suicidal ideation than any generation preceding them.
More than ever, our kids need us to help them make sense of, and integrate, all they take in, starting at a very early age. To do that, we must know and truly understand their world.
This book is a complete guide to all of the issues that your child, teen and young adult will face.
So when your kid is overwhelmed (and your kid is going to feel overwhelmed), when you kid is exposed to too much (and your kid will be exposed to too much), she will know: I have mom and/or dad, and they are my constant, they are my solid. I can go to them and they are going to hear me out, without judgment. I know that. I know that I can talk to them and they are going to be there for me unequivocally. In their complicated world, with all of this stimuli, with all of this identity traffic, kids need some compass. They need you to be that compass.
Learn about the “New Teen” and how to adjust your parenting approach. Kids are growing up with nearly unlimited access to social media and the internet, and unprecedented academic, social, and familial stressors. Starting as early as eight years old, children are exposed to information, thought, and emotion that they are developmentally unprepared to process. As a result, saving the typical “teen parenting” strategies for thirteen-year-olds is now years too late.
Urgent advice for parents of teens. Dr. John Duffy’s parenting book is a new and necessary guide that addresses this hidden phenomenon of the changing teenage brain. Dr. Duffy, a nationally recognized expert in parenting for nearly twenty-five years, offers this book as a guide for parents raising children who are growing up quickly and dealing with unresolved adolescent issues that can lead to anxiety and depression.
Unprecedented psychological suffering among our young and why it is occurring. A shift has taken place in how and when children develop. Because of the exposure they face, kids are emotionally overwhelmed at a young age, often continuing to search for a sense of self well into their twenties. Paradoxically, Dr. Duffy recognizes the good that comes with these challenges, such as the sense of justice instilled in teenagers starting at a young age.
Readers of this book will:
Sort through the overwhelming circumstances of today’s teens and better understand the changing landscape of adolescence
Come away with a revised, conscious parenting plan more suited to addressing the current needs of the New Teen
Discover the joy in parenting again by reclaiming the role of your teen’s ally, guide, and consultant
Today we are facing a time when teen depression is on the rise. Young people are struggling with anxiety, stress and overwhelmed by peer pressure. They are isolating themselves – completely immersed in their screens without considering their emotional or physical health.
-An obsession with being online -Frustration, anxiety, and irritability when not able to get online -Abandoning friends or hobbies in order to stay digitally connected -Continuing to spend time online even after negative repercussions (such as failing grades, deteriorating relationships, and even health issues)
Reset Summer Camp offers a fully immersive, clinical program hosted on a university campus, providing a fun-filled summer camp atmosphere. Participants are able to detox from their screen addiction and learn how to self-regulate, as they participate in individual and group therapy.
The Life Skills program cultivates responsibility and builds self-confidence, so campers will be prepared to handle their real-world obligations. Everything from healthy meal-prep and laundry skills to basic vehicle upkeep and a healthy sleep schedule.
Their staff includes experienced youth-development professionals, clinical interns, registered nurses, and private-practice mental health PhDs who work daily with those suffering from problematic use of technology, including gaming addiction and other unhealthy screen-time habits.
With 4-weeks of intensive therapeutic intervention, a full Family Workshop weekend and 12-weeks of individual follow-up with every camper, Reset Summer Camp stands alone as the leader in summer digital detox programs.
Reset Summer Camp isn’t done when your teen goes home. What sets them apart from others is their therapeutic after-care. Counselors will be available to help you, your teen and your family find a healthy relationship at home with technology.
When should parents snoop rather than monitor their teen’s online behavior?
This has been a debate for years and the answer comes back to when safety trumps privacy.
Especially now as technology is in the hands of every teens and many tweens, as well as COVID has locked us online more than ever — parents need to be in tune with how are teens are dealing with peer pressure, friendships and most of all, digital school life.
Teenagers earn their trust with their parents. Respecting each others privacy should always be priority, however if you fear your teenager is heading down a dark path, and is not willing to talk to you or a third party (therapist, guidance counselor, relative or adult friend), you may have to cross the line of trust.
Warning signs it might be time to investigate:
Is your teen becoming very secretive? Sure, teens do like their privacy, however if you have a “gut feeling” something is deeper than a secret, you may have to cross that line. There is nothing stronger than a parents intuition.
Is your teen becoming withdrawn? Again, teens will develop some attitudes of not wanting to be with adults, however when it becomes extreme, it may be time to cross that line. The pandemic has caused a rise in stress, anxiety and defiance in many teenagers. Parents are struggling to keep up with the challenging behavioral changes.
Is your teen changing peer groups? Are they hanging with a less than desirable group of friends, even virtually? Have they started joining risky chatrooms? Possibly meeting strangers? Sneaking out?
Is your teens eating habits changing? Eating more or less? Binging? Especially during this pandemic, families need to try to have meal times several times a week.
Is your teen sneaking out? Becoming extremely defiant? Not respecting your boundaries or house rules?
Overall, is your teen slowly becoming a child you don’t recognize?
Are you snooping or are you legitimately monitoring your teens?
Should you read your teen’s diary? Scroll through their text messages or even befriend them on their social networking sites? That is a personal question only you can answer.
Remember writing can be very healthy for teens (and adults for that matter), so if your teen isn’t giving you any valid reasons to “invade their privacy” – respect it.
When safety trumps privacy –is the time to pry – but every day you should be monitoring your child’s online activity – it’s called parenting.
The latest trend with online behavior that have many parents concerned, is their teen’s that are meeting unsavory people online and attempting to meet-up offline. Or their teen is spending an enormous amount of time on sexual sites (porn) or possibly engaging in sexual activities online (such as sending sext messages) to people they don’t know.
This is exactly when safety trumps privacy. If you’ve exhausted your local resources and the behavior is not ending, it might be time to consider the next step. Residential therapy can be an option to steer your teen down a healthy path.
Many of us won’t dispute, 2020 has been a difficult year. The pressures that the ongoing pandemic have placed on all of us have been challenging, especially for students who have had to adapt to online learning overnight.
During this uncertain time, it’s not only school that have our youth concerned. The rise of mental health issues among children and teens since the beginning of the pandemic have many parents and health professionals worried.
According to a study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) we are now seeing children and adolescents with higher rates of depression and anxiety resulting from the required isolation and loneliness of COVID-19.
The latest findings in a new survey released by ParentsTogether, of hundreds of kids and parents are very troubling.
The majority of kids, 70 percent reported feeling sad, overwhelmed and worried — while nearly half the parents (44 percent) are saying that their kid’s are struggling with mental wellness since the pandemic started.
Although almost half (47 percent) are worried about their child’s mental health, 45 percent are experiencing more challenging behavior from their kids since the pandemic.
In another study from the National 4-H Council, it concurred that the pandemic is having a great impact on teen’s mental wellness.
Some of the key findings:
81% of teens say mental health is a significant issue for young people in the U.S., and 64% of teens believe that the experience of COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on their generation’s mental health.
In this stressful climate, 7 in 10 teens have experienced struggles with mental health.
55% of teens say they’ve experienced anxiety, 45% excessive stress, and 43% depression.
61% of teens said that COVID-19 pandemic has increased their feeling of loneliness.
Teens today report spending 75% of their waking hours on screens during COVID-19.
82% of teens calling on America to talk more openly and honestly about mental health issues in this country.
79% of teens surveyed wish there was an inclusive environment or safe space for people in school to talk about mental health.
Rise of teen defiance
There’s no shortage of parents crying out for help. If you were struggling with your teenage prior the pandemic, chances are you are at your wit’s end now. From social distancing to wearing masks, teens are not making life easy for parents.
As an Educational Consultant for 20 years I’ve helped families of struggling teens. In the past 6 months the numbers have spiked of moms and dads are walking on eggshells with their teenagers. Defiance, rage, depression, anxiety, rebellious – teens that runaway for days only to come back and put their family at risk of COVID.
Some recent comments from parents over the past several months have been:
His poor emotional regulation has gotten worse since Covid-19 and he is now depressed feeling like nothing ever works out for him. – parent of 16 year-old boy
He has been stealing repeatedly and it has only gotten worse with lying as well during COVID. – parent of 15 year-old boy
Depression and lack of motivation due to COVID pandemic. – parent of 18 year-old boy
With COVID she’s acting out aggressively, defiant and always seems depressed. – parent of a 14 year old girl
Sharing this information is to help parents understand, they are not alone.
Helping teens emotionally handle these trying times
Everyone is suffering during this pandemic on some level. The ParentsTogether survey concluded that families that made $50,000 a year or less, their children were twice as likely to struggle with anger issues, sadness, loneliness and fear.
Rich or poor, parents are equally concerned about their child’s mental wellness – and searching for answers.
“The pandemic has added stress to how teens are feeling. They were already stressed before COVID-19, now it has just doubled because of their concerns and worries for the future,” said Dr. Borba, “A change in behavior, such as acting out, defiance and tantrums can all be signs your teen or child emotionally is suffering,” she continues.
Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to depression and other mental health challenges. If you suspect your child is suffering from depression, ask your family doctor or pediatrician to provide you with a referral to an appropriate mental health professional. “No one knows your child or teen better than you. If you suspect something is wrong, chances are you’re right,” says Borba.
3 Ways to improve teen wellness:
Exercise: Download a yoga app or exercise with your friends (virtually).
Music: Listening to certain music is the 2nd popular answer to what teen’s said helped them cope with the stress and worry of the pandemic.
Journal: Writing is very therapeutic and helping young people express their emotions.
It’s no secret, 2020 has been tough to get through. The pressures that the ongoing pandemic have placed on all of us have been challenging, especially for students who have had to adapt to online learning overnight. If you’re a student in this strange time, it can be extremely difficult to find the motivation to get up and tune in to class while the world is in a moment of crisis.
While the pandemic continues, it’s important to prioritize your mental health in tandem with your daily tasks. And even when school does return to an in-person setting, you want to maintain a robust practice of keeping your psychological and emotional wellbeing in check.
So how can you stay on top of your anxiety when studies are too demanding or overwhelming? We’ve got some tips to help you get through this difficult time with a list of activities and practices to check in with yourself.
Here’s some ways students can mitigate the effects of anxiety:
1. Normalize Checking in with Yourself
A lot of us who suffer from anxiety don’t know to recognize the telltale signs before it’s too late. The only time you seem to realize you’re in an anxious situation is when you’re in a state of panic about sending in an assignment just seconds before it’s due. Luckily, you can plan ahead to check in with yourself.
Find a regular time to formally ask yourself how you’re feeling. It could be every Friday, or it could be every time you have to study for a test. Depending on how frequently you experience the effects of anxiety, you may need to set a soothing alarm to check in with yourself every hour. That’s completely okay.
When checking in with yourself, it’s also helpful to make a list of all the symptoms you experience when you feel anxiety. Is it a headache? Stomach cramps? A fast heart rate? Whatever you feel that makes you uncomfortable or prevents you from thinking clearly, jot down the symptoms so you can recognize them early on. When you start to feel anxiety coming on and have a heightened awareness of what’s to come, you can excuse yourself from the situation until you’ve had a chance to think things through.
Let’s say you need to communicate with a teacher about your last essay grade. You did poorly and you want to know how to get better, but this particular instructor can be a bit intimidating. Having a list of your symptoms readily available can help you observe them, alerting you to take a step back. If you know one of your symptoms is a fast heart rate, you can slow it down with some deep breathing or by drinking a tall glass of water. Once you are more in control of your emotions, you can take care you’re your tasks while feeling comfortable.
2. Phone a Friend
One of the hardest hitting aspects of quarantine is that you don’t have your friends around to talk with, hang out, or vent about what’s going on in your life. Though we’re all quarantining separately, you’re not alone in your struggle to seek out a sense of peace and calm in your life.
Anxiety has the ability to trap you in your own mind and body when you’re in a downward spiral. When you notice that you’re getting caught in your head, it can help contact a friend for guidance and to get you out of your head.
Enjoying the company of a companion will get you to think externally, helping your brain produce endorphins to relieve pain and stress and boost your happiness. After speaking to a friend or a loved one, you’ll find that you feel lighter and can tackle your work with more energy and resilience.
When it comes to receiving specific help on school issues though, developing a personal relationship with mentors can also be helpful. While teachers and your parents might be preoccupied with their own COVID-related stressors, you may want to turn to other students in your school who have already taken the classes you’ve taken or experts who can help you with what you’re going through.
Studies have shown that the benefits of tutoring extend well beyond achieving good grades! Tutors can help you with time management, relating your studies to your personal interests, and take the pressure off of speaking with a teacher or professor. Mentors can also provide you with personalized study strategies as well as good coping skills.
3. Live in the Moment
Anxiety is often caused by worrying about a future situation. Whether it’s the outcome of a job interview or the results of an exam, your mind is caught up in a situation that hasn’t really happened yet, and it can take away from your productivity in the moment.
When teens get trapped by the worst-case scenario, it can lead to panicked decision-making and further their anxiety about doing a good job on their assignment. This is why it’s important to plan ahead for situations that can put you in an anxious state of mind, so you be more present and level-headed.
One way to live in the moment and stay focused on the present is, ironically, by planning ahead. You can configure your schedule to anticipate anxiety-inducing activities that will affect your well-being and your work. Simply extend the amount of time a given activity will take to include a moment of calm before and after the event.
If you have a Zoom call scheduled at 3:00, add to your agenda that you’ll need to start doing breathing exercises at 2:30 and then again at 4:00. When you do this, you’re planning on smoothing out your emotions and cushioning stressful events. This can prevent you from spiraling out unexpectedly by giving your body the physical preparation to better handle stress.
Post is contributed by a guest writer.
If your teen is struggling with stress, anxiety and even causing depression — if you’ve exhausted your local resources, contact us to learn more about how teen help programs might be able to help.
The number of teenagers suffering from depression has increased dramatically over the last couple of years, and as a parent, it can be difficult to know the best way to deal with it. You want what is best for your teen, but figuring out how to help them through their mental illness can be tricky. Here are five steps you can take to help your teen through their depression.
Start a Weekly Outing
Traditions can be comforting to everyone. One of the symptoms of depression can be hiding away from the world, so providing a day where you go out as a family will provide relief from that. Your teen may be reluctant at first, but over time it could become something they look forward to. It’s important for those suffering to get out into the world and take a breath of fresh air, so scheduling a Sunday walk each week, or a trip to the park every Wednesday afternoon, is a great way of making sure your teen is getting outside. It also means you get to spend more quality time with them, which can open the door for them to open up to you more.
A Little More Conversation
Talking to your teen more can be easier said than done. If they are depressed, they may hide away in their bedroom and refuse to speak more than a few words each time you see them. Talking to them, however, is a great way of making room for more conversation. Tell them about your friend’s funny mishap, tell them about the adorable dog you saw, or remind them about their auntie who has been asking after them. Importantly, talk openly about depression, rather than having it hang over your heads like an invisible cloud that you can feel but not see. Your teen may not give much of a response at first, but it’ll mean that when they are ready, they will know you are someone they can come to.
Find a Herbal Remedy
For many, the idea of your child being on SSRI’s can be scary – what if they don’t work? What if it makes it worse? There’s even the worrying symptom of suicidal thoughts in the first two weeks, which is a terrifying thought. Antidepressants are certainly necessary for some and may be for your teen (your doctor will know if they are needed), but there are milder and safer alternatives to work with either alongside them or instead of. There are plenty to choose from, with remedies such as CBD being used as an alternative to antidepressants, with great results. There are many places to buy CBD in many forms, ranging from CBD oil to CBD gel and more. If your teen’s depression has formed as a result of a sporting injury, then the CBD gel will work to minimize the pain with long-lasting results. With minimal pain, they can start to build the strength back up to be ready to play sports once again, helping them combat their depression.
If strong medication is something you are worried about, consider something more natural for your teen.
Schedule a Counselling Session
While talking to your teen is highly beneficial, having them see a professional can be crucial on their road to recovery. It provides them with a person who they can confide in completely without fear of being judged. Talking through their struggles is certainly a step in the right direction, as it can help them work through their depression and understand why they feel the way they do.
Provide Physical Contact
It is said that we need twelve hugs a day for optimal health. Just because your child is no longer eight years old and snuggled up with you on the sofa doesn’t mean they no longer need physical attention. A hug when they get home from school or a gentle squeeze of the shoulder are small habits you can introduce to make sure they know how much you love them.
As a parent, having a teen suffering from depression can be a scary and confusing time for both of you, but making sure you are a steady and reliable figure in their lives will only help them on their road to recovery.
Love Her Well: A must read for parents of teenager’s
It’s been a really trying year for young people, especially teenagers. When I read Love Her Well, by Kari Kampakis, it was so refreshing. Finally a book that gave parents insights, wisdom and helped them know — they are not alone in this journey of raising girls today.
Inside Love Her Well:
10 Ways to Find Joy and Connection with Your Teenage Daughter
Moms are eager for tips and wisdom to help them build strong relationships with their daughters, and Kari Kampakis’sLove Her Well gives them ten practical ways to do so, not by changing their daughters but by changing their own thoughts, actions, and mind-set.
For many women, having a baby girl is a dream come true. Yet as girls grow up, the narrative of innocence and joy changes to gloom and doom as moms are told, “Just wait until she’s a teenager!” and handed a disheartening script that treats a teenage girl’s final years at home as solely a season to survive.
Author and blogger Kari Kampakis suggests it’s time to change the narrative and mind-set that lead moms to parent teen girls with a spirit of defeat, not strength. By improving the foundation, habits, and dynamics of the relationship, mothers can connect with their teen daughters and earn a voice in their lives that allows moms to offer guidance, love, wisdom, and emotional support.
As a mom of four daughters (three of whom are teenagers), Kari has learned the hard way that as girls grow up, mothers must grow up too. In Love Her Well, Kari shares ten ways that moms can better connect with their daughters in a challenging season, including:
choosing their words and timing carefully,
listening and empathizing with her teen’s world,
seeing the good and loving her for who she is,
taking care of themselves and having a support system, and more.
This book isn’t a guide to help mothers “fix” their daughters or make them behave. Rather, it’s about a mom’s journey, doing the heart work and legwork necessary to love a teenager while still being a strong, steady parent.
Kari explores how every relationship consists of two imperfect sinners, and teenagers gain more respect for their parents when they admit (and learn from) their mistakes, apologize, listen, give grace, and try to understand their teens’ point of view. Yes, teenagers need rules and consequences, but without a connected relationship, parents may never gain a significant voice in their lives or be a safe place they long to return to.
By admitting her personal failures and prideful mistakes that have hurt her relationships with her teenage daughters, Kari gives mothers hope and reminds them all things are possible through God. By leaning on him, mothers gain the wisdom, guidance, protection, and clarity they need to grow strong relationships with their daughters at every age, especially during the critical teen years.
Paris Hilton has a message, and parents should listen.
Some may question the messenger, but the message is clear. If you’re considering residential therapy, take the time to research what is best for your child.
It has been an extremely stressful time during the pandemic, especially for parents of teenagers. If you were struggling with your child prior to COVID-19, chances are this new normal has only compounded behavioral issues.
Parenting at your wit’s end
No one is immune to having difficulties with their kids, from celebrities to average people. If you are dealing with an out-of-control teen, you can feel like a hostage in your own home.
In the recent documentary, This Is Paris, Paris Hilton reveals that at age 15 her parents reached their wit’s end. After being shipped off to a series of wilderness programs, she landed in a program that she claims was emotionally and physically harmful.
It’s hard to blame Paris’ parents, because I was once that mother. Two decades ago, I sent my daughter to a residential therapy program that claimed they would help my daughter, but it was very similar to Hilton’s experience.
This was after I hired an educational consultant that attempted to sell me the wilderness programs too. Fortunately for our family, we didn’t buy into the wilderness shuffle. I believed that my daughter was struggling enough, emotionally, that breaking her down in the woods wouldn’t resolve or help her problems. Unfortunately for us, we landed in an abusive program too (which is now closed down).
When my daughter was out-of-control, we exhausted our local resources. After going through five different therapists, outpatient therapy, and a short stay in-patient locally, I finally sent her to a relative’s to stay. That lasted less than two weeks before we made the major decision of residential therapy.
The teen help industry is a big business. No one realizes this until you need it. Why would you?
Although there are many that would like to see all programs shut down, we can’t ignore the fact many children and families need help. This is why it’s important that parents learn how to do their homework so they don’t end up in facilities like my daughter and Paris Hilton did.
Does your teen need residential therapy?
As I share with all parents, only you can answer that.
Here are some questions to consider:
1. Have you exhausted all your local resources? From using local therapy to extending into outpatient, teens can be easily shut-down. Although we know that many times it’s difficult to get a teen to open up to a therapist—or even attend a session—parents need to know they at least tried. When in residential therapy, the entire program evolves around their emotional wellness, 24/7. Being removed from their negativity helps tremendously.
2. Living with a relative. Some families have attempted to move the troubled teen to a relative. Again, sometimes this works—and other times it can be a Band-Aid, however it can help you make that decision that you have exhausted your local resources before you decide to choose residential.
3. Is your teen a danger to themselves or other people (you)? Has your child become violent towards you or themselves? This is when you know it’s time to start researching for residential therapy. It’s not working at home.
4. Do you feel like you are a hostage in your home by their behavior? Do you feel like you are walking on eggshells? Being careful about what you say or how you act for fear they may become explosive? Again, this is a red flag that it may be time for residential therapy.