What’s Your Teen Doing This Summer?
School is over and summer is here. Your teen has just finished the year and all its pressures. Exams, big projects, and keeping up with the dynamics of social relationships and internal pressures.
What is your teen doing this summer?
At Santos Counseling, we offer Teen Therapy Self-Esteem groups. We have and continue to help teens each week with individual and group counseling services.
The next Teen Group will run Tuesday from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM, beginning on July 22nd and running through August 19th. Click Here To REGISTER
Parents Must Be Aware of The Signs
You may not know or completely understand what your teen is going through. For one, he/she may not be ready to talk about.
Examples of signs that may show your teen struggling with self-esteem, depression or anxiety include:
- If you notice that your teen is removing him/herself from previously pleasurable activities. Such as avoiding recreational activities or family gathering.
- If your teen tells you he/she feels hopeless or struggles to sleep (“I can’t sleep”).
These are just a few of the signs that your teen may be directly or indirectly showing.
The elephant in the room.
What are you “PARENTS” supposed to do:
Talk about it. Yes, simple and direct. Some parent’s due to fear, insecurity or lack of understanding do not engage in the sensitive subject. Talking about suicide, self-harm and/or your teens mental health is healthy.
It’s talking about the elephant in the room.
As a teen counselor, I am here to help if you need me. I can walk with you as a parent in guiding you to learn what I know and recognize how and when to apply certain skills.
If you feel confident in your ability to talk with your teen, focus on the following questions:
- Are you having suicidal thoughts?
- Do you feel hopeless?
- Do you feel different from others? If so, why?
- What do you love about yourself? What would you change?
- On a scale from 0 to 10, ten is 100% YES. How likely are you to engage and follow through with self-harm?
- Have you ever harmed yourself?
The next step in helping your teen is…
Empathy first – then solutions
Let me paint you an example of what this should NOT look like.
Picture your teen telling you that he/she dislikes his height because he is too short and wishes to be taller. You reply, by telling him/her to accept it and move forward.
This is what I do NOT want parents to do.
Instead, focus on validating your teen. Validate your teens thoughts, feelings and words with empathy. Show him/her that you understand or can understand how he/she feels. Giving your teen support through the practice of empathy shows him/her that you are not judging their emotional state and accept him/her as they are.
Let’s look back at the script above. Below is a better healthier way to communicate with your teen.
Picture your teen telling you that he/she dislikes his height because he is too short and wishes to be taller. You reply, by first making eye contact and physical contact towards your teen. You express that you understand by saying “I can understand why you would dislike that. It seems like you feel sad about it.”
Remember, it does not have to be this elaborate statement taken from a doctorate level psychology self-help book. It simply just must show empathy, kindness, and support.
There is so much a parent of a teen can do to support their child through emotional difficulties.
Teens also have ample opportunity to grow emotionally. Gain skills and valuable education in understanding how to be self-aware, create coping skills, engage in self-care, and love him/herself.