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Teen Help Blog

How to Help Teens Cope with Stress and Uncertainies in Life

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

How to Guide Your Teen Through Uncertainties About the Future

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

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

The Impact of Stress on Teens

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

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

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

Teach Your Child to Manage Stress

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

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

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

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

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

Planning for a Career Path

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

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

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

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

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

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

Planning for Financial Security

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Resolve Family Conflict with Teens

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

Are you struggling with family conflict in your home?

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

You’re not alone!

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

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

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

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

Common causes of family conflict

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

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

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

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

This may include events such as:

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

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

Agreeing to negotiate

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

Suggestions include:

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

Try to listen

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

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

Work as a team

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

Suggestions include:

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

Professional advice

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

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

Source: BetterHealth

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What is Conduct Disorder in Teens?

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

Is My Teen Struggling with Conduct Disorder?

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

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

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

What causes conduct disorder?

Conduct disorder has been linked to:

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

The diagnosis is more common among boys.

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

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

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

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

Symptoms may include:

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

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

How can parents treat conduct disorder?

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sep 10, 2021–

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

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

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

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

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

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

Warning Signs

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

How to Help

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

About ComPsych
ComPsych® Corporation is the world’s largest provider of employee assistance programs (EAP) and is the pioneer and worldwide leader of fully integrated EAP, behavioral health, wellness, work-life, HR, FMLA and absence management services under its GuidanceResources® brand. ComPsych provides services to more than 56,000 organizations covering more than 127 million individuals throughout the U.S. and 190 countries. By creating “Build-to-Suit” programs, ComPsych helps employers attract and retain employees, increase employee productivity and improve overall health and well-being. For more information, visit www.compsych.com and follow us @ComPsych on Twitter.
View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210910005289/en/
CONTACT: Jamie Stein
ComPsych Corporation
312-451-7160
jstein@compsych.com
KEYWORD: ILLINOIS UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA
INDUSTRY KEYWORD: MEN HEALTH ENTERTAINMENT FAMILY HUMAN RESOURCES CONSUMER PROFESSIONAL SERVICES MENTAL HEALTH TEENS PARENTING CHILDREN GENERAL HEALTH OTHER ENTERTAINMENT WOMEN
SOURCE: ComPsych
Copyright Business Wire 2021.
PUB: 09/10/2021 08:35 AM/DISC: 09/10/2021 08:36 AM
http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210910005289/en

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

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

Teen Depression, Anxiety and Stress

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

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

Is your teen struggling emotionally?

Considered our featured teen book:

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

By Katie Hurley, LCSW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have you exhausted your local resources?

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

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Listening to Your Teen: Effective Tips and Relevant Importance

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 10, 2021  /   Posted in Parenting Teens

Communication is Key with Your Teenager

Help Your Teens BigStockFatherSon2-300x201 Listening to Your Teen: Effective Tips and Relevant Importance The teenage years of a child are one of the most troublesome times for a parent. During these years, most teens pull away from their parents to assert their independence. In addition, it is also when they’re setting boundaries, throwing tantrums, and doing exciting new things.

This development stage is where teens begin creating decisions that have real and life-long consequences. These things include making new friends, choosing schools, selecting vitamins that are essential for men and women their age, and learning how to drive. But, unfortunately, they are also susceptible to harmful activities like drinking alcohol, partying, substance use, and experimenting with sex.

However, this is a vulnerable time since they aren’t good at regulating their emotions yet. Hence, they’re prone to making impulsive decisions and taking unnecessary risks. That is why having a healthy and trusting relationship between you and your child is crucial during their teenage years.

Importance of Listening to Your Teen

You can achieve a positive relationship with your teen by improving the communication between the two of you. Besides, good communication starts with you knowing when to talk and especially how to listen. Hence, good listening skills are fundamental for building a relationship with your teenager.

Listening is more than just hearing the words your teen is saying. But it is tuning in to their thoughts and feelings. In addition, taking the time to listen to your teen shows that you are respecting their thoughts and opinions. Then, this will help in building trust between the two of you. Moreover, listening will allow you to understand and learn what is happening with your teen’s life.

When you’re listening, it lets your teen be the one talking. Talking helps your child to think more clearly. Furthermore, this situation will allow them to express their feelings and thoughts without any correction or judgment. That is why listening is a vital skill that every parent must have.

Practical Tips for Listening to Your Teen

One of the parents’ main concerns is thinking of “what is the right response” when talking with their teen. However, parents need to understand that most of the time, listening to your child is more important than what you have to say.

The following are five (5) practical tips to ensure that you truly hear your teenager and make sure that they know it.

Create a Safe Environment

Help Your Teens PexelsMomDaughter-300x200 Listening to Your Teen: Effective Tips and Relevant Importance The first step you need is to create a safe environment for your teen to share their thoughts and feelings. It would help if you assured them that they could tell the truth and be honest in anything with you. Moreover, they should not fear any judgment, blame, or ridicule from you. However, it is most crucial that you stick to your promise and never break it.

Give Them Your Full Attention

When communicating with your teen, you must give all of your attention to them. By doing so, you will send a message that the most important thing right now is your teen. It also tells them that you are interested and available on what they’re saying, thinking, and feeling.

Turn off any appliances that may distract you from your child, including the television, radio, and speakers. Also, put down your phones, tablets, laptops, and other devices. Model the behavior that you would expect from your teen.

Don’t Interrupt Them

Listening to your teen means allowing them to talk without interruption. Avoid asking any questions or saying anything until they’re finished talking so that you wouldn’t break their train of thought. In addition, this will help you concentrate on what they are saying and identify if there are any hidden meanings with their words.

Display Positive Body Language

When communicating with your teen, displaying positive body language shows that you genuinely care about what they’re saying. You can do this by getting close when your teen is speaking, using eye contact to show that you are listening, nodding your head appropriately, and simply saying, “I see.”

When there is a pause, you can also ask them, “Then what happened?” or “And then?” Moreover, avoid sighing, eye-rolling, crossing your arms around your chest, and looking into the distance or over your shoulder.

Restate in Your Own Words What You Heard Them Say

Restating what your teen says is a crucial act of proving that you are paying attention to them. In addition, it tells them that you are trying to understand their story. Moreover, it assures your teen that you’re truly hearing them. Furthermore, if you restate their story incorrectly, it gives them the chance to re-explain it and avoid any misunderstanding between you two.

The Bottom Line

Staying close and having an open relationship with your teen may not be as easy when they were a child. Some teens are open books with their friends but mute as fish with their parents. If you want to find out what’s going on with your teen, learn how to communicate with them properly.

However, interrogating and grilling your teen is not the right way of achieving open communication with them, but an earnest back-and-forth conversation is. Good communication with your teen starts with good listening. Moreover, good communication with your teen is the core of having a healthy and nourishing relationship with them.

 

 

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Does My Teen Need An Alternative School

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 08, 2021  /   Posted in Teen Help, Teen Help Program

Are you considering an alternative school for your troubled teen?

Have you exhausted your local resources?

Help Your Teens PexelSleepingTeen-300x200 Does My Teen Need An Alternative School Many parents are extremely concerned today about their teen’s today. We are witnessing higher rates of depression, stress, anxiety, self-harm and sadly — suicide ideation among our young people.

If you’re one of these parents, you are certainly not alone.

Are you experiencing the following:

  • Poor grades even though they are intelligent
  • Disengaged and apathetic about school, skipping classes, truancy
  • Anger or rage (explosive) at home – but seems to handle it okay in other settings
  • Low work ethic
  • Authority issues
  • Poor decision making
  • Abuse of technology – (Video game addiction, porn use, screen addiction)
  • Psychiatric Struggles – Depression, ADD, ADHD, Anxiety, Mood disorders, Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD)
  • Poor social skills
  • Low self-image and self-worth
  • 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)
  • Conduct disorder
  • Shoplifting, stealing (usually from parents)
  • Legal issues

Help Your Teens bigstock-Female-Psychologist-Working-Wi-237972997-300x200 Does My Teen Need An Alternative School Have you tried these things to help:

  • Switching schools, moving
  • School counselors, therapists
  • Taking away technology, removing cell-phones
  • Lectures, pleading
  • Tutors
  • 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 need more help than you can offer. . . but it isn’t too late.

Residential therapy can be extremely beneficial where local resources have failed.

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 teen’s education, have therapists to work on your teen’s emotional wellbeing to help him develop coping and communication skills as well as building motivation and setting goals for their (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.

Also read, once concern many parents have, “Will My Teen Hate Me?

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Why Is My Teen Quick to Anger and Rage

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 07, 2021  /   Posted in Teen Help

Can Anger and Rage Lead to Teen Violence?

Help Your Teens angry-teen-girl-300x156 Why Is My Teen Quick to Anger and Rage We hear it often.  Your teen can be very angry or full of rage, many times it is targeted at the parent.  Keep in mind they are not stupid.

They know parents love them unconditionally.  No matter how anger they get, you will always love them.  They are venting their rage towards you but many times it is not personal.

The American Psychological Association says that anger is a normal, usually healthy, human emotion. But when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to violent outcomes.

Many teens today have a difficult time keeping their anger under control, as evidenced by the following data:

  • According to SafeYouth.com more than 1 in 3 high school students, both male and female, have been involved in a physical fight. 1 in 9 of those students have been injured badly enough to need medical treatment.
  • The 2002 National Gang Trends Survey (NGTS) stated that there are more than 24,500 different street gangs in the United States alone. More than 772,500 of the members of these gangs are teens and young adults.
  • The 2002 NGTS also showed that teens and young adults involved in gang activity are 60 times more likely to be killed than the rest of the American population.
  • A 2001 report released by the U.S. Department of Justice claims that 20 out of 1000 women ages 16 to 24 will experience a sexual assault while on a date. And that 68% of all rape victims know their attackers.
  • The U.S. Justice report also stated that 1 in 3 teens, both male and female, have experienced some sort of violent behavior from a dating partner.

Help Your Teens screaming-teen-boy-300x201 Why Is My Teen Quick to Anger and Rage Anger creates physical changes that both teens and parents need to recognize:  increased heart rate, a rise in blood pressure, soaring adrenaline levels.

Once these changes occur, along with the thoughts that fuel the anger, the emotion can be hurtful.  Provena Mercy Center cites the following warning signs indicating that your teen’s anger is unhealthy:

  • A frequent loss of temper at the slightest provocation
  • Brooding isolation from family and friends
  • Damage to one’s body or property
  • A need to exact revenge on others
  • Decreased involvement in social activities

If you believe your teen has a problem with anger, you can help him or her develop positive conflict resolution techniques. The University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) explains that teaching children strategies for dealing with their anger can be difficult, because you don’t know when your child will get angry again.  To help, use the time between angry outbursts to discuss your child’s anger, and practice how to deal with it.  The UMHS outlines the following strategies for teaching your child anger management:

  • Practice a substitute behavior. You and your child should develop a substitute behavior to use when he or she is about to get angry.  Some ideas include breathing methods, counting backward or visualizing a peaceful scene or a stop sign.
  • Reward. Sit down with your child and figure out some rewards that he or she can earn by practicing the exercises (on a daily basis), and when he or she uses the exercises when frustrated or angry.  Don’t skip the rewards – they are essential to the success of anger management in children.
  • Give examples. Think of times when you deal effectively with your own stress and point these out, very briefly, to your child.  Also, share your coping strategies with your child as examples of how he/she might handle a similar situation.  It is important for your child to see you successfully deal with your own anger.
  • Encourage using the exercises. When your child starts to get upset, briefly encourage him or her to practice the substitute behavior. Only prompt your child once.  Do not continue to nag him/her about using the exercises.
  • Avoid arguments but do discipline consistently.  Avoid arguing with your child.  Everybody loses when a confrontation occurs. You need to set a good example and deal with your child in a quiet, matter-of-fact manner.  

Help Your Teens TeenWriting-300x227 Why Is My Teen Quick to Anger and Rage The Nemours Foundation reports that teens often require specific coping strategies that are less formal than behavior modification.  Have your teen try the following tips next time he/she begins to lose his/her temper:

  • Listen to music with your headphones on and put your “anger energy” into dancing.
  • Write it down in any form – poetry or journal entries, for example.
  • Draw it – scribble, doodle or sketch your angry feelings using strong colors and lines.
  • Run, play a sport or work out. You’ll be amazed at how physical activity helps work out the anger.
  • Meditate or practice deep breathing. This one works best if you do it regularly, not when you’re actually having a meltdown.  Meditation is a stress management technique that can help you gain self-control and not blow a fuse when you’re mad.
  • Talk about your feelings with someone you trust.  Many times, other feelings – such as fear or sadness — lie beneath the anger.  Talking about these feelings can help.
  • Distract yourself so you can get your mind past what’s bugging you.  Watch television, read or go to the movies instead of stewing for hours about something.

Parents who teach anger-management strategies and encourage non-aggressive conflict-resolution techniques early on may find the teenage years less challenging.  If your child has long-lasting feelings of anger or is unable to adopt coping strategies, seek medical assistance and treatment.

References

  • American Psychological Association
  • National Center for Education Statistics
  • Nemours Foundation
  • Provena Mercy Center
  • University of Michigan Health System
  • U.S. Department of Education

If your teen is struggling with anger and rage to a point that it is destroying your family, don’t hesitate to reach out for local help.  If they refuse to get help or you find it isn’t benefiting them, contact us to determine if residential therapy would be an option.   Exhausting your local resources is always your first path.

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Why Is My Teen Stealing

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 07, 2021  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Does Your Teen Steal or Shoplift?

Help Your Teens TeenStealing-225x300 Why Is My Teen Stealing It’s probably more common than parents realize.

Why do teens steal?

There are almost as many reasons teens steal as there are things for teens to steal. One of the biggest reasons teens steal is peer pressure. Often, teens will steal items as a means of proving’ that they are “cool enough” to hang out with a certain group.

This is especially dangerous because if your teen can be convinced to break the law for petty theft, there is a strong possibility he or she can be convinced to try other, more dangerous behaviors, like drinking or drugs. It is because of this that it is imperative you correct this behavior before it escalates to something beyond your control.

Another common reason teens steal is because they want an item their peers have but they cannot afford to purchase. Teens are very peer influenced, and may feel that if they don’t have the ‘it’ sneakers or mp3 player, they’ll be considered less cool than the kids who do.

If your teen cannot afford these items, they may be so desperate to fit in that they simply steal the item. They may also steal money from you or a sibling to buy such an item. If you notice your teen has new electronics or accessories that you know you did not buy them, and your teen does not have a job or source of money, you may want to address whereabouts they came up with these items.

Teens may also steal simply for a thrill. Teens who steal for the ‘rush’ or the adrenaline boost are often simply bored and/ or testing the limits of authority. They may not even need or want the item they’re stealing! In cases like these, teens can act alone or as part of a group.

Help Your Teens Shoplifting Why Is My Teen Stealing Often, friends accompanying teens who shoplift will act as a ‘lookout’ for their friend who is committing the theft.

Unfortunately, even if the lookout doesn’t actually steal anything, the can be prosecuted right along with the actual teen committing the crime, so its important that you make sure your teen is not aiding his or her friends who are shoplifting.

Yet another reason teens steal is for attention. If your teen feels neglected at home, or is jealous of the attention a sibling is getting, he or she may steal in the hopes that he or she is caught and the focus of your attention is diverted to them. If you suspect your teen is stealing or acting out to gain your attention, it is important that you address the problem before it garners more than just your attention, and becomes part of their criminal record.

Though unconventional, this is your teen’s way of asking for your help- don’t let them down!

If parents take the proper measures, in most cases the stealing stops as the child grows older. Child and adolescent psychiatrists recommend that when parents find out their child has stolen, they:

  • tell the child that stealing is wrong
  • help the youngster to pay for or return the stolen object
  • make sure that the child does not benefit from the theft in any way
  • avoid lecturing, predicting future bad behavior, or saying that they now consider the child to be a thief or a bad person
  • make clear that this behavior is totally unacceptable within the family tradition and the community

In treating a child who steals persistently, a mental health provider will evaluate the underlying reasons for the child’s need to steal, and develop a plan of treatment. Important parts of treatment can be helping the child form trusting relationships and helping the family to direct the child toward a healthier path of development.

If your teen is facing legal consequences or you realize they are taking things that don’t belong to them, reach out for help.  If they refuse to attend or you have exhausted your local resources, please contact us for more information on residential therapy.

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How to Raise Teens In an Entitlement Generation

Posted by Sue Scheff on September 07, 2021  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

Raising Responsible Teens in an Entitlement Generation

Help Your Teens EntitledTeen-300x199 How to Raise Teens In an Entitlement Generation

Raising teenagers is not easy especially when they are expected everything handed to them. It seems we live in an entitlement generation.

It’s not uncommon to hear parents of teenagers bemoaning the lack of responsibility and maturity that their children exhibit. As kids get older and enter into the teenage years, it becomes more apparent that they’re actually approaching adulthood, whether they’re prepared for it or not.

Instilling a sense of responsibility in a teenager can be a very challenging prospect, but it can also help them to avoid succumbing to peer pressure or failing to learn important life skills as they grow into productive, capable adults.

Let Them Experience Natural Consequences

It’s normal to want to limit your teen’s exposure to disappointment, failure and hurt as she grows into an adult. However, shielding her from the natural consequences of her more irresponsible behavior will only make it more difficult for her to connect her choices to those consequences. While you certainly shouldn’t allow your child to behave recklessly or take dangerous risks without intervening, you also should think twice before stepping in to protect her from the inconvenience or even disappointment of making an irresponsible choice.

For instance, nagging and cajoling your teen to collect her laundry or pay her cell phone bill will probably only make her more likely to resist in an attempt to test boundaries and assert her independence. Allowing her phone to be shut off or her clothes to go unwashed as a result of her choice not to manage those tasks, however, can help her to understand the importance of managing her responsibilities.

Model Responsible Behavior

While a teenager may not show many signs of listening to what you say, you can be certain that she’s watching the things that you do. Demanding her to behave responsibly while allowing her to see you making decidedly irresponsible choices is not only ineffective, it can also be downright offensive to kids.

Taking a “do as I say, not as I do” approach to parenting doesn’t usually help your children gain the skills or learn the lessons that they need to learn, so be sure that you’re practicing what you preach when it comes to accepting responsibility and behaving accordingly.

Minimize Large, No-Strings-Attached Purchases

It’s become something of a rite of passage for teenagers to receive vehicles and other pricey objects as they come of age, but simply presenting them with such items without requiring that they take ownership for care and maintenance of them, or make any financial investment of their own, can cause your teen to feel as if she’s entitled to such grand gestures.

Helping your teen to purchase a car but insisting that she make part of the payments, purchasing a car outright but requiring her to pay for the insurance, and making sure that she alone is responsible for the care and upkeep of her things can help her learn more about how to be responsible and that she has to earn the things she wants rather than them just being given to her.

Help Your Teens parent-talking-to-teen-300x184 How to Raise Teens In an Entitlement Generation Maintain an Open Line of Communication

When your teen knows that she can approach you with her problems, concerns or questions, she may be more likely to do just that. Part of being responsible is learning how to admit when you need help, and learning from the experiences she has along the way. Make sure that your child knows she can come to you when she’s feeling pressured or anxious so that she’ll be more likely to address her problems than to seek an irresponsible, escapist solution that could have far-reaching implications.

Make a Chore List

If your teen wasn’t responsible for keeping track of and completing a list of chores as a child, instituting a policy of doing just that after she reaches adolescence can be a struggle. Still, she needs to understand that there are tasks in life that must be completed, even if they’re distasteful or less than thrilling. Giving your teen a list of chores and some real-life, practical consequences that accompany her failure to complete them are two ways of helping her to gain responsibility through experience and consequences.

Help Your Teens FamilyDinner How to Raise Teens In an Entitlement Generation Eat Dinner as a Family

In today’s busy world, sitting down to family dinners can seem like a major inconvenience. Studies at Emory University, The National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University and a white paper study by Dr. William J. Dougherty all show, however, that kids and teens that regularly share meals with their families have lower rates of obesity, higher academic performance, are less likely to develop or struggle with eating disorders, have higher self-esteem, and have lowered risks of depression, substance abuse and teen pregnancy than their peers whose families don’t share meals together. Preparing and sharing dinner as a family unit can help your child make more responsible choices and be more capable, productive and successful in adulthood.

Read more to help them learn about financial literacy.

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