A Note From The Santa Monica Teen & Family Therapist
The following are some common themes that are often a cause of suffering in adolescents. Do you recognize any of these in your teen? – Sandra
• the struggle to be perfect
• wanting to please everyone and losing oneself in the process
• feeling isolated and invisible to parents and peers
• feeling angry, but not having the skills to express oneself productively
• feeling socially awkward
• comparing oneself to air-brushed images of celebrities and feeling inadequate
Being a child means being dependent upon parents and needing to follow their rules. This can also be true for being a student, as well as a member of society. Yet, teens must also learn how to balance their own needs. This requires that they become aware of their “needs,” which are different from their “wants.”
What does your teen like to do in their spare time? Are they comfortable being alone? Do they need music on while they study, or do they prefer silence? Do they enjoy hanging out with many friends, or just a few close ones? Does exercise relieve their stress? Do they need a full night’s sleep to avoid feeling irritable?
High school can be an intense time, filled with competition and the pressure to perform. For many teens, this translates into thinking that they are their grades, their looks, or who they hang out with. Yet teens are not just measures of external measures of success. They are individuals with feelings and dreams.
An essential part of parenting is to provide opportunities for you teen to experience new things and become self-sufficient. It is also not uncommon for parents to have expectations that they would like their child to fulfill. However, if your teen feels called to be a journalist and you want them to be a doctor, it is important to have a heartfelt discussion where they can feel seen and heard.
It takes an act of courage to be yourself without apology. It takes self-love to look in the mirror and see the precious person that you are. It takes self-awareness to speak your truth. These qualities are earned through encouraging your teen to reflect on who they are and where they want to go with their life.
If your teen or young adult child is struggling socially or emotionally, I can help you to discover the cause and remedy it.
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