How to help my troubled teen?

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Raising teenagers is not for the weak at heart. Some adolescents are easier to parent than others. Your teen simply might be more difficult because of genetics or maybe they’ve had to deal with divorce, a death, or a traumatic event in their young life. Seasons Psychotherapy Associates is here to help you and your teen make effective changes in your family’s life.

Have you felt as if you’ve tried everything before and are at your wit’s end? If so, don’t give up yet. We know that you love your son or daughter and that you’ll keep trying with all your strength.

Has COVID-19 affected your adolescent negatively? Indeed, you’re not alone! The entire world has shifted and not in the best interest of your teenager. Does it feel like one bad thing after another keeps happening? Of course your teen is starting to fold under the pressure.

The pandemic has caused your teen to lose his connection to his friends as well as the structure of his school days. It certainly hasn’t helped that the very tools we are all so concerned about are the ones that are now required for our teen to attend school. We can’t tell our teens to get off of their computers, tablets, and phones when that’s their gateway to learning.

You might be feeling like your entire family is out of control and disconnected. The roller coaster keeps going up and down and all you want is for the ride to stop.

Is your good kid making poor choices?

Where’d your child go that used to come home and tell you all about their day? What happened to the little girl who loved to bake cookies and cuddle up to watch a movie on the couch? Where’d your little boy go that loved to play soccer and begged for pancakes? Does it feel like your child changed overnight? It can certainly feel that way. Do any of the following issues sound familiar?

  • Angry all the time
  • Defiant towards adults
  • Experiencing school problems or failing grades
  • Addicted to video games, social media, or the internet
  • Experimenting with marijuana, alcohol, or vaping
  • ADHD or other learning disabilities contributing to negative behavior
  • Self-harming through cutting or other means
  • Overly anxious and withdrawn
  • Eating and sleeping patterns different
  • Promiscuous
  • Depression, low self-esteem
  • Poor friend choices
  • Entitlement Issues

Have your teen’s issues led to family conflict?

Are doors slamming, voices yelling, and tears flowing in your house? Is your teen lying, missing curfew, getting bad grades, being disrespectful? Adolescents just don’t understand that trust is gone in an instant but takes time to rebuild. Maybe you and your spouse are arguing about what to do next. Your other children might be caught up in the family drama and suffering because of it.

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed, confused, and afraid when living with a troubled teenager. The ironic thing is that your teenager is often feeling the same way as you are (overwhelmed, confused, and afraid), but they don’t know how to process or talk about these feelings.

What do you do next?

Seeking therapeutic support for both yourselves as parents (or grandparents/caregivers) and for your troubled teen is helpful. We at Seasons Psychotherapy Associates believe that helping teenagers involves helping the whole family. Frequently parents work with our parenting specialist as well as their teenager receiving their own individual therapy. The team is able to work together to provide the support needed to facilitate positive change.

Teens in trouble

It can sometimes be hard to figure out if your teen’s behavior is normal or if it has crossed the line and become a problem. It’s normal for teens to be moody and try to assert their independence while pushing back on some of the rules. Conversely, a troubled teen exhibits behavioral, emotional, or learning problems beyond typical teenage issues.

Your son or daughter may be acting recklessly and impulsively to the point of putting their life in danger. Also, he or she may be using drugs, drinking, sneaking out, failing school, having sex, getting into fights, shoplifting, or self-harming. Or your child might be showing signs of a mental health problem like depression, bipolar, anxiety, or obsessive compulsive disorder.

If you’re seeing red flags in your teen’s behavior and/or moods, please reach out for your free consultation now (954-342-0982).

Parents in trouble

When dealing with your troubled teen you might be feeling as if you’re losing your mind. It’s common to feel or think some of the following:

  • I’ve got to lock up everything in the house
  • I just feel helpless, will this ever get better
  • I’m scared my kid will do something there’s no coming back from
  • I’m scared my teen is going to hurt me
  • My worrying is out of control
  • When’s the last time I slept through the night
  • I hate going home, I’m constantly walking on eggshells
  • I’m such a failure
  • My job is in jeopardy every time I have to put out my teen’s fires
  • I’m going to end up divorced from all this stress

You’re only human and besides there’s no guidebook to this parenting gig. You’re doing the best you can.

If you’ve felt any of these feelings then don’t despair. Finally, there’s hope. Don’t give up on your child and please don’t blame yourself. There are options for you to explore and help is out there. We understand that the entire family has been affected by your teen’s struggles. We treat each family member with compassion and non-judgment, we offer support, education, and healing.

What can you do?

First, it’s important to take care of you because you’ll be no good to anyone if you’re burned out and depleted. Secondly, slow down and do some of your own self-reflection on your parenting patterns. What’s worked and what hasn’t? What are your family values? Are you able to uphold your boundaries with your teenager? Does parenting your teenager bring up unresolved issues about your own parents? Finally, connect with others who are going through similar challenges because it helps to not feel alone.

Wrap around care

Occasionally our experienced therapists work with parents of teens who are coming home from a residential treatment center (RTC), therapeutic boarding school (TBS), or from wilderness therapy (WT). These higher level of care intervention programs can be beneficial to families struggling with teens in crisis, especially those with mental health or substance abuse challenges. Providing aftercare to a teen and their family subsequent to long-term treatment is something that Seasons clinicians can help your family with.

Take the next step

We appreciate the pain watching your child suffer causes. Finally, It is possible to find the right help for your teenager and family. Things can get better. Contact Seasons Psychotherapy Associates today for your free consultation (954-342-0982). We offer both online and in person individual and family counseling for you and your troubled teenager.

Additional Resources

Teen Line

National Parent Helpline

Suicide Prevention Hotline

National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs

Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Contact us

About the Author

Carol Mirones, LCSW

Carol Mirones is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Florida who specializes in grief and loss, troubled teens, and bipolar disorder. She graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a Masters in Social Work. Before founding Seasons Psychotherapy Associates, Carol worked in a wide range of mental health arenas. Her experience includes working with troubled teens and their families at an alternative high school, serving the needs of the severely mentally ill as a psychotherapist at a community mental health agency, and utilizing solution-focused short-term approaches within the psychiatric unit at a major metropolitan hospital to help patients in crisis. Carol's training includes:

Carol's own life experiences combined with her training and knowledge help her to connect with her clients in a meaningful way. She's "all in" when working with her clients to help them improve their lives. She is a proud mom of four, a wife, and an entrepreneur.