Things are hard right now.
Your child has grown into someone you can hardly recognize. The playful presence and easy laughter have disappeared and you’re left with a moody, sullen, stressed-out shadow of the child you love.
Despite your best efforts, you just can’t seem to reach them anymore.
You’ve tried everything you can think of, and you’re exasperated.
I’ve spent the majority of my career supporting youth and families in exactly this position. The pre-teen and adolescent years can be brutal. Youth are growing more into themselves and their personality, but they’re also overwhelmed with stressors, and often trying to navigate them alone. In their overwhelm, they have become flooded with anxiety. Their mind feels like an enemy within their own body – telling them they are less-than, making them hyper-aware of how others may perceive them, kicking their worries into overdrive.
It doesn’t have to be this way! Through our work together, your youth can:
- Identify the beliefs about themselves and the world that feed their anxiety
- Learn strategies to “talk back” to the worry and regain a sense of calm
- Build strategies that help them feel grounded and safe, even when the world may feel overwhelming
- Express their big feelings in safe and effective ways
- Find their voice, strengths, and connections with supportive adults and peers
- Connect with their authentic self and feel confident in who they are
I believe your youth is strong. I have yet to meet a pre-teen or teen who isn’t! There are so many pressures they face in daily life: school, adult relationships, friends, figuring out their own identity, extracurricular activities, planning for the future, adjusting to changes in their body, building confidence, learning new skills and responsibilities. The list goes on! They are juggling a lot, and even when it is difficult, they are finding a way through.
I believe your youth is courageous. One of the main focuses in the teen years is answering the big question: “Who am I?” In middle and high school, youth ask themselves this question constantly throughout the day. And they are vigilant in seeking feedback from the people and situations around them to inform whether they need to make changes or whether they’re okay the way that they are. It takes immense courage to put yourself out there and be your authentic self over and over again. Especially in a world of social media. Especially when anyone outside the norm is quickly judged and often ostracized.
I believe your youth has a bright future. Even if that future is still unknown, as it almost always is. With the support of their family (YOU!), your youth can grow and thrive. Sometimes, extra support is needed, and that’s where counseling comes in. In a safe and supportive environment, your youth can begin to untangle the thoughts in their head and build skills for a bright future and a life worth living.
And I believe YOU ARE DOING YOUR BEST! Parenting is a challenging task. And, though many parenting books exist, there is no manual for how to perfectly parent your unique youth. Even if there was, it would need frequent revisions and updates to keep pace with your youth’s growth and the changes of the teen years! I value including caregivers in the therapy process. Your insight is valuable and you know your child better than any therapist ever could. Your perspective helps guide our process and your involvement helps create lasting change!
As a queer-identified therapist, I especially enjoy supporting other members of the LGBTQIA+ community in living their truths and flourishing!
Contact me today for a free, no obligation phone consultation to share about your youth and learn how C.H.E.R.I.I.S.H Counseling can support their growth and wholeness!