Therapy Improves Understanding Between Parents and Teens
What is Going on With My Teenager?
If you have noticed changes in your teenager recently, here are a few ideas about what could be going on with him or her. It is helpful if you can listen to your teen and try to understand things from his or her point of view (especially in a disagreement).
Their ideas may seem strange and even plain wrong or dangerous to you as the parent, but it is important for parents to listen and not always be in teaching mode. In Adolescent and Family therapy you can improve mutual respect and happiness during this tumultuous stage of life span development.
Our society has become ever more demanding for young people. This often leads to a sense of fear and overwhelm and causes conflict between parents and teens especially around school, activities, and the responsibilities of a fast-paced lifestyle. When people feel overwhelmed they may act out in numerous unproductive ways. Listen and help your teen figure out ways to lighten the pressure he feels.
Teens have now realized that their parents are not God, and that tough things happen in life and parents cannot always protect us. So that means teens often do not like to be told what to do. "If you can't protect me, then at least get out of my way so I can protect myself!"
When we are children, we think our parents are omnipotent, that they can do everything and save us from any problem and always keep us safe.
Teens are able to understand more about what's going on from an adult perspective. It it scary to become aware of your own vulnerability. This is especially impactful if parents are struggling with their own issues or trauma or loss has been experienced.
Rapidly changing Physiology
Changing hormones, impulses and desires which need to be repressed, high-stress lifestyle, growth spurts, bodily changes, odors and discharges, acne, hair can be alarming and stressful to adolescents.
The most important thing when your child is a teenage is to listen without being critical or in teaching mode. Your role as a parent is changing. Your teen needs you to listen and be present most of all. Don't worry. This doesn't mean you have to agree or condone, but you do have to listen if you want your teen to improve cooperation and happiness.
If You Are Experiencing a Parent-Teen Relationship You Would Like to Improve, Contact Us to Create More Peace and Progress in Your Home.
Let’s say you recognize there’s an issue with your child or teen. You see the signs: maybe there’s more defiance or lying or isolation or getting in trouble at school. Maybe there’s drinking or drugs other symptoms that are scaring you, and making you feel out of control as a parent. Maybe it's the friends or the attitude or the behaviors, and you’re worried that your child is growing up way too fast.
And the crazier things seem with the kids, the more tension builds up between the parents. Each one glares (or screams) accusations at the other, ”Why aren’t you doing something to control this kid?” Arguments about how to handle children can really tear at a marriage. You may ask yourself, “How can this marriage survive under such a relentless strain?”
You need someone who understands the family as a system and can help you work on disconnected and conflictual relationships to improve communication and trust. For family relationships, it is often helpful to conceptualize as a system of interlocking parts. As members of the family system go through their lives having experiences, other members of the family are naturally affected. When stress and conflict are occurring, an “identified patient” may emerge. This is the person who is experiencing symptoms or seems to be “the one with the problem.” The identified patient may start to show symptoms, for example, anxiety or depression or acting out that is distressing to other family members.
I have a question for you, "Do we focus only on the person with the “symptoms” or do we consider that maybe the symptoms don’t belong only to the identified patient, but also to the family as a unit?"
If you find yourself in a revolving door kind of scenario, where you seem to be having the same problems over and over again, maybe for years, without resolution, the first step to straightening this out is becoming aware of how the dynamic typically unfolds.
Become an observer - Try watching the typical scenario unfold as an impersonal observer.
Here’s an example: Your teen has a particular attitude and always says‘THIS’, then you get always gets defensive and say ‘THAT.
Things start to spiral, someone cries and withdraws, the other one screams and fumes. Somebody else storms out the door or heads for the bottle and everyone feels unloved, disconnected and hurt.
You may want to fix this and don't know how, or can't get the cooperation you feel you need. How can you make positive changes when you're frustrated or powerless and can’t even figure out what keeps going wrong. What I'm suggesting as a first step is to observe the way things typically unfold. We'll ask you about that when you come in. You will receive benefit from the simple act of observing alone. Notice what's going on. Let it be what it is. If it hurts, let it hurt without making the other person (or yourself) wrong.
Therapy can provide a safe place to help you deconstruct these kind of dynamics and help you start implementing attitudes and behaviors that can bring more peace to your life. Realize we are a product of our conditioning.
In the first few sessions of therapy, clients have the opportunity to completely express their view of the problem and what solutions have been tried so far. During this process, clients may notice a tremendous sense of relief which is a physiological and psychological result of “getting things off my chest.” Problems may not be solved yet, but clients are already feeling calmer and more in control.
As therapy progresses, strategies to solve or cope with a particular problem, bring harmony to relationships, achieve progress in an important area of life or to create a paradigm shift in interpersonal interactions will be used.
In family therapy, various sub-systems may come in for sessions. This means it can still be family therapy even if everybody doesn’t want to come in, or there is so much conflict they don’t want to come in together.
Cognitive behavioral techniques may also be used to help clients learn to focus on or listen to their internal dialog, becoming more aware of and in control of their thoughts. Since thoughts, feelings and behaviors are connected, by focusing on thinking as a creative process, clients learn to work with their thoughts in ways that benefit their life and family relationships.