Does Your Troubled Teen Need Counseling?
- Does your teenager use drugs or alcohol, send inappropriate pictures to social media sites or make other poor or risky choices?
- Is he or she often angry?
- Has there been a change in your teen’s grades or behavior?
- Does your teen challenge you by breaking rules, talking back or fighting any kind of structure?
- Are you frustrated with your teen’s behavior and don’t know how to make thing better?
Many Parents Struggle with Troubled Teens
It is difficult being a teenager because of the stresses teens face at school and at home. Teens feel pressure to conform in school, figure out who they are, be accepted by friends, fit in with the crowd and have the latest phone, jeans and shoes. Often they are pressured to use alcohol, tobacco or drugs, to be in a relationship, to be sexually active or to pick on others. Other teens feel as though they must excel in school or in sports, or they want their body to look a certain way, to be “perfect”.
When your teen is facing these challenges, it is equally difficult for you, the parent. Your sweet child has turned into someone you don’t recognize, or even someone “scary”. Suddenly, you are to blame for everything wrong in his or her life. You no longer hear “I love you.” You see the many bad choices and questionable behavior. Your teen no longer talks to you, and even when you try to stay connected, it often blows up in your face. You know that it is normal for teenagers to resist their parents and push for what they want. But your teen’s behaviors seem dangerous or excessive. You may lie awake at night and wonder what you can possibly do to make it better.
The problem is that troubled teens often do not understand either the short-term or long-term consequences of their behavior. Their experiences are limited. Their impulse control is not sufficiently developed to protect them. You fear that your teen may have some kind of emotional problem or that their risky or aggressive behavior may critically harm them.
It is important to seek teen counseling for your teen’s behavior problems.
Counseling for Defiant or Troubled Teens Can Help Your Teen to Change Attitudes and Gain Skills
The counselors at Relationship Center of Michigan are licensed, highly trained and experienced in developing a positive relationship with your teen and with you. Counseling for defiant and/or troubled teens offers many benefits. It is an arena for your teen to express him or herself in a safe and confidential environment. This affords an opportunity to explore their feelings and to make sense of their struggles. Your teen’s counselor will help your teen explore and understand the consequences of their decisions, so that they may make healthy choices. Typically teens do not have the skills that adults possess to deal with their feelings. Our counselors introduce healthy coping mechanisms to deal with their difficult feelings and problems in a more positive way, skills which they can use for the rest of their lives. Your teen’s therapist can help set realistic goals, improve communication skills, teach coping techniques and develop a system of accountability. Your teen can gain a new perspective on life and their choices.
We recognize that when your teen is making bad choices, you suffer, as well. In our view, it is extremely important to provide support to you, the parent. We meet with you in a laid-back and casual atmosphere, and we listen – we don’t judge. We want to know how you experience the problem. We want to understand you and work together to figure out ways to help your teen solve his or her problems. We offer a team approach, collaborating with you and other professionals and caregivers.
Your teen’s therapist can offer you strategies and support to set boundaries, rewards and limits for your teen. We will help you and your teen identify goals and creative solutions that can lay the groundwork for immediate and long-term success.
What if my teen refuses to go to counseling?
It is not uncommon for defiant or troubled teens to resist the idea of therapy. Often a teen sees counseling as a punishment, an attempt to “fix” him or her or an admission that they are “abnormal”. Your teen may also feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger. When bringing the subject of counseling up, avoid talking to your child with accusations, lectures and anger. This would make anyone want to avoid counseling. Instead let your teen know that you love him or her and want him or her to be happier, healthier and less sad or anxious. Tell them teen counseling is a tool to achieve this.
It can also help to ask your teen to assist in selecting a therapist. Usually, after the initial appointment, your teen’s reluctance will diminish. Of course, it is important to find a therapist who can make a connection with your teen. It is ok to interview more than one therapist or switch therapists if the relationship is not working out.
Is your teen still is resistant? Ask your teen to attend three therapy sessions, just to try it out and see what happens. Therapists know that there is often resistance to counseling for defiant and troubled teens. Our goal in the first session is to make a connection in a safe and warm environment and to encourage your teen to return.
How do I know my teen needs teen behavior counseling?
It is not atypical for defiant and troubled teens to act out and to test boundaries at school, at home and on the job. Your teen may very well be going through a phase and will change with time. But it is important to watch not only for specific behaviors but also for patterns of behaviors. Parents generally notice angry outbursts or oppositional behavior. It is a cause for concern if it is accompanied by a drop in grades, skipping classes, a change in peer group or more thrill-seeking behavior. A change in the style of clothing or appearance could be a red flag if it is accompanied by other negative behavior. Any suspicion of cutting, self-harm, threats of suicide, morbid thoughts or extreme weight loss or gain should be taken seriously. Continued sadness, anxiety, low energy, spending too much time alone or sleep problems could indicate problems. It is not always clear to how concerned you should be as a parent. It is often useful to have a professional help determine the severity of the problem and offer insight, support and treatment options, if needed.
I am concerned that teen counseling is too expensive.
One way to address this concern is to look at your present life and consider the benefits of counseling for troubled teens and/or defiant behavior. Think about how much distress you and family are experiencing, right now. How much does this distress affect your family’s life, your happiness, your productivity at work? What price would you pay to achieve more peace and happiness, not just for yourself, but your family? How does this compare with the price of not doing anything? Your least expensive option is to avoid counseling. But teen counseling is also an investment in your teenager’s future. Your teen has the opportunity to set realistic goals, to learn to consider consequences, to communicate better and to improve his or her relationship with you. And these benefits will last long into the future. It is hard to put a price on happiness.
In addition, we are on panels for many insurance companies and may be able to bill your insurance for these services. It is very possible that at least part of the cost may be lifted.
To set up an appointment, we invite you to: