Adolescents Sometimes Face these Challenges
As your child develops into an adolescent their body and brain undergo many changes. Each developmental phase presents life challenges for them that they tend to work through as a normal part of growing up. But sometimes mental health issues can interfere with a child’s development and carry over into their adolescent years; or roughly ages 12 to 19. The National Institute on Mental Illness (NIMI) estimates that roughly 4 million children and adolescents experience mental health impairments that dramatically interfere with their home, school and social interactions. According to NIMI statistics, the main culprits are attention-deficit hyperactivity (ADHD), behavioral problems, anxiety, depression and autism. In an effort to cope, adolescents also commonly engage in harmful behaviors like eating disorders, substance abuse, self-mutilation, unhealthy romantic relationships, and volatile interactions with one or more of their parents.
Risk Factors for Adolescent Issues Include these
Stress that originates during childhood years and then carries over into adolescence typically comes from abuse and neglect. As a child, the victim is usually afraid to share their negative experiences because they are overwhelmed by fear or shame. Other traumatic events during your child’s developmental years that can lead to problems during adolescence include:
- A divorce or remarriage involving their biological parents
- The birth of a sibling
- Witnessing domestic violence
- Being physically or emotionally bullied
- The death of a loved one including a family member or even a pet
- Living in poverty or being homeless
- Moving away from town and/or attending a new school
- Experiencing a natural disaster
- Being asked to shoulder more responsibility than is age-appropriate
All of the above influences can lead to mental health problems that more dramatically play out during hormone-fueled adolescence. A genetic predisposition to certain mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder, can also be a factor. If you have something like that in your family’s history, be advised that it can be passed along to your children.
How does Counseling for Adolescents Work?
Because the mental health challenges faced by adolescents can be complicated and deep-
rooted, counseling resources need to address those needs individually. If you or your loved one is facing adolescent-related mental health issues, the good news is that professional coaching is available that uses proven therapeutic methods. But that counseling can take some time. The first step is convincing your adolescent that they would benefit from therapy and counseling, or coaching, of some type. Then the process can move forward using these steps:
- A licensed mental health professional will conduct an initial screening session with the client. Information is gathered from the adolescent about their current problem(s) and concern(s). A history of those issues is compiled, along with answering questions posed by the adolescent and their parent(s).
- Based on the initial assessment, the mental health professional will recommend interventions that are most likely to succeed given the areas of concern. For example, if substance abuse is involved, treatment options will be presented by the counselor to the adolescent under their care.
- Underlying issues that may even reach back into childhood will then be addressed and coping mechanisms discussed between the counselor and their client. In some instances prescription medications may be indicated to treat certain mental health conditions like anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder.
- As the counseling sessions continue, progress will be monitored and positive action plans developed as the adolescent’s mental health condition improves.
As the parent of an adolescent with mental health conditions, you need to be as supportive as possible as their road to recovery falls into place. In the end, the progress derived from professional adolescent coaching will lead to a healthier relationship for you both.
Thriveworks Henrico Counselors Understand Adolescent Issues
As we’ve seen, when you or someone you care about experiences adolescence-related emotional issues it can cause other unhealthy conditions. Left unchecked, those feelings can have a negative effect on their daily activities including relationships, at school and job performance. You and your adolescent don’t have to go it alone any longer. At Thriveworks Henrico, our compassionate and helpful counselors are equipped for adolescent counseling and can provide insight while guiding your adolescent towards developing a more positive outlook on life. For more information on our adolescent coaching services, or how to become a certified Thriveworks Short Pump coach, call: (804) 205-3408 today or visit our Contact page now.