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Stepping into Adolescence | What Parents Should Know

teen counseling with Carolina Counseling Services North Fayetteville Office Fayetteville NC, teenager and adolescent counseling in Fayetteville NC,counseling for teens with issues in Fayetteville NC

 

Stepping into Adolescence | What Parents Should Know

 

Teenagers can be dramatically irritable or angry for no acceptable reason. They can be difficult to get along with, being temperamental and/or withdrawn at times, or experimental and eager to try anything at other times. They can be carefree, sometimes to the extent of being careless, inconsiderate and irresponsible, so that they can constantly be faced with perils. Combined with the tremendous pressure from their peers, family and mentors, the result may not always be pleasant.

The chance for a happy adolescence can also be marred by sadness and fear of rejection and failure. If these feelings dominate their young life, the phase can turn out to be something that they would rather forget. At worst, these bad experiences can traumatize them, dimming their view of life and its many facets – friendships, school, interests, etc.

At the threshold of so many changes and challenges, there are tons of new possibilities that may either boost or dampen their spirits. The difference can depend on how they process their experiences, so that even the bad ones can become positive for the lessons they may learn. This gives parents the opportunity for those bittersweet experiences to work out in a good way – a source of inspiration and lessons as they go through life.

With the knowledge that you, as a parent/guardian, can make a difference, how can you help your child become resilient and responsible, and to grow with confidence and optimism? What are some fundamental “teen things” that you must know to raise your teen into a responsible adult and to help them have a happy and an easier time during adolescence?

 

  • The surging levels of hormones can “drive them crazy.” Imprudent, overemotional, selfish, ungracious – these could be some words you may hurl at your teen at the height of your argument. You may often find yourself losing your temper as their volatile and shifting moods turn your home into an arena of endless arguments. “Where did your sweet, quiet child go?” – You may ask.

 

Your child may have dramatically metamorphosed during adolescence – physically and emotionally. The changes may happen earlier, depending on when their hormones surge. This can be hard to miss as these will cause a spurt in their physical growth and emotional manifestations of inner turmoil, confusion, stubbornness, and awkwardness, being overconcerned about their looks, etc.

 

  • Your teen isn’t a rarity. Considering the changes, adolescence is generally a difficult developmental milestone. This is supported by countless literature or current studies from various expert sources/references, such as the Report of the Surgeon General, National Institute for Mental Health, SAMSHA, Center for Mental Health Services, etc.

 

For instance, studies reveal that around 20 percent of the American teens experience depression before they turn 18. NIMH translates this into approximately 2.2 million adolescents, or about 4.7 million males and 13.7 females between ages 15 and 16. 

 

  • Teen brains are still developing. Your teenager may look like an adult in terms of size but make no mistake that they are still undergoing maturity, including the “construction” of their brain. Strauch (2003) explains that during adolescence “the connections between neurons affecting emotional and physical abilities are incomplete.”

 

The frontal lobe of the brain doesn’t attain full development until around age 25. This is the center for vital cerebral processes, such as focus, compassion, attention, and spontaneity/impulsiveness. These consequently affect your teen’s difficulty in regulating their tempers, moods, emotional expressions, thoughts, and impulses.

 

  • Adolescents are a curious lot. They are naturally inquisitive, which results in their being eager to experiment with many things, especially what you warn them about. They may be curious to know why you forbid them to hang out with some popular “icons” in the school or neighborhood or to be seen at teen parties. In the search for self-identity and along with being eager to taste independence, their curiosity can become more intense.

 

Their curiosity is driven by their maturing brain functions. The process is biological in nature. It is the motivation to quench their inquisitiveness that will mold their perspectives, decisions, judgments, and even interests. But because the processes may at time be perilous, they need adult/parental guidance. Without the right guidance, these “experiments” can result in unhappy consequences.

 

  • The search for self-discovery and independence are powerful. Aristotle once said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” The interest to discover one’s self is highly prominent during adolescence. Their successful discovery of themselves is critical in deciding the direction that they take beyond this difficult stage.

 

With the changes, the process can be tough for teenagers. It can be more challenging when their life is complicated with domestic/familial issues, poor self-esteem, unhappy childhood, chronic medical concerns, etc. Their uniqueness (or having manifestations or characteristics different from their peers) and experiencing continuously evolving personalities/traits can contribute further to their challenges. Thus, many youths get lost along the way of self-discovery and establishing independence.

 

  • Familial issues can be their first source of challenges. The family, being the main nurturing center for humans, especially young people, can affect your child in many positive and negative ways. Teenagers can be affected by family issues, even when they don’t seem to care. Faced with domestic issues, eager to be appreciated, or make their moms and dads proud, they can be confused, even obsessed with the idea.

 

Seeing and being involved with many family dynamics and conflicts can affect teens deeply. You may not be aware of it, but your child loves you very much. They also see you as their role models. Looking up to you, they can be pained by your arguments, not understanding why such precious and loving parent-child relationships can uplift and hurt them at the same time.

 

  • Adolescents run a higher risk for emotional conditions. In view of all the changes happening in their brains and bodies, their challenges of self-discovery and independence, and the other psychosocial pressures emanating from their families, school and peers, adolescence can be overly trying. A combination of these can increase their vulnerability to emotional conditions – depression, anxiety, poor self-esteem, etc.

 

Thus, it is extremely important to provide them, not only love and care, but guidance as well as support, even when they don’t give the impression that they need you. Feeling alone, they can seek guidance from the wrong people, such as equally confused and misguided friends. Rather than let them explore the world on their own, it would be productive to let them know that you are there for them and that you can provide the right professional help.

 

Intervening Before the Symptoms Worsen

Your teenager may not be genetically predisposed to an emotional condition, not been abused, had no previous traumatic experiences, and no family history of alcoholism or drug addiction. Yet, the “passage” into adulthood or just being a teen can be a roller coaster ride. The difficulty level can run higher when there are other complicating issues.

Thus, while not every teenager may go through a difficult transition, take note that a significant number does. They will certainly show manifestations or “signs and symptoms” – don’t trivialize them. They may not just be ordinary “growing pains.” Rather, these may signify poor emotional health. This is the value of being a knowledgeable, proactive parent.

If you are proactive, you will exert effort to understand your teenager, pay attention to their unusual behaviors and responses, and seek help promptly long before their issues or condition worsens. If the symptoms are lasting longer than two weeks, you may only want to entrust them in the care of good and trustworthy therapists, such as those independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC.

Remember, the outlook of many emotional conditions can improve with the right professional help. The challenges can be easier to overcome if your teen can journey with a professional. If you want your teen to sail through the difficult phase of adolescence with resilience and the right tools, it is proactive to intervene. Let a skilled counselor/therapist independently contracted with CCS – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC help your teen. Call today!

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services

Counties: Cumberland, Hoke, Bladen, Sampson, and Robeson Counties, NC
Areas: Fayetteville NC, Ft Bragg NC, Pope Field NC, Hope Mills NC, Raeford NC, Rockfish NC, Sliver City NC, Linden, Cedar Creek NC, Bowmore NC, Autryville NC, Parkton NC, Bunnlevel NC, Erwin NC, Dundarrach NC, Broadway NC, Pineview NC, Lumber Bridge, NC, Rex NC, Lemon Springs NC, Johnsonville NC, Eastover NC, Stedman NC and Wade, NC
Zip Codes: 28301, 28302, 28303, 28304, 28305, 28306, 28307, 28309, 28311, 28312, 28314

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Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office, Fayetteville, NC

422 McArthur Road
FayettevilleNC 28311

Choose your Therapist

  • Shnika Davis LCSW, LCAS-A

    Specializes in: (Ages 6+) Depression, Substance Abuse, Life transitions, Grief and Loss, Trauma, Anxiety, Adjustments Disorders, Family, Couples and Marriage
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Fayetteville, NC
  • Becky Clark, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Anxiety, Depression, Individuals, Couples, Geriatrics, Criminal Justice, Stress Management, Loss and Grief related to death, disability, divorce, deployment, “empty nest”, retirement and other major life transitions
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare Select, and Cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Fayetteville, NC