The Help that Matters for Teens with Emotional Issues
A lot of parents go through the experience of watching their child grow and change from a cherubic infant into a fun, carefree toddler, and later into a charming child. It is also not uncommon for many parents to hope that they will remain pleasant and delightful as they advance into their challenging adolescent years. Alas, not every parent realizes this fervent hope because a significant number of them can become embroiled in deep, even life-changing emotional issues.
“Adolescence can be a highly emotionally charged time of life,” says the Psychology Today. As children become teenagers, they will go through an intense period of growth that’s accompanied by lots of changes and challenges. As a parent, you can’t help but worry about their emotional, as well as social development. While these changes are expected, the challenges can be too intense. Many may fall prey to various emotional issues, such as depression, anxiety and other emotional and behavioral conditions.
These challenges result in adolescence being a critical time in their growth and development. You can make a difference when they go through this transition by guiding and supporting them. The first step is to understand their emotional issues and to continue supporting them through their challenges. You can also help them by providing them the assistance of a qualified and experienced counselor/therapist, so that their condition can be properly diagnosed and treated.
Along Comes the Teenage Changes and the Drama
It isn’t unusual for many parents to wonder if their adolescent child is just acting like any typical teenager, or if they are behaving in a much different way. This is because teens can typically be moody, which could be a result of the changes in their physical appearance, hormonal levels, increasing neuronal connections in the maturing brain, as well as academic and social changes. There is, however, a possibility that their unusual behavior could also be related to an emotional or behavioral condition.
Is your adolescent child spending long hours locked up in their room, avoiding you or is he/she only seeking out the company of his/her peers? Does he/she get angry at the slightest provocation for no sensible reason at all? Is your child making dramatic changes in their physical appearance, choices, behaviors and language? If your child is exhibiting these behaviors, relax! Often, the change in behaviors are merely a passing phase in their lives. Dramatic as these can be, the change can just be a passing phase.
It is natural for teens to respond to the changes in their hormonal levels, maturing brain, physical growth/changes, as well as pressures from school and their peers. They may become defensive when they are confused or do not thoroughly understand their feelings or the stimuli around them. They may misinterpret your reasons and tendencies as a parent as you nurture and protect them. They may rebel against your warnings. They may seek out their peers in their quest for independence and a sense of self. They may exhibit behaviors that you have not seen before. These are likely part of their maturing but be warned that these teen dramas could also be signs of serious emotional issues.
Warning Signs to Heed
Considering all the changes and challenges of an adolescent, they are particularly at high risk for emotional and behavioral conditions. For many adults who are weighed down by emotional conditions, the symptoms may have presented themselves early during childhood or adolescence but were either unrecognized or ignored. This underscores the importance of spotting the signs and symptoms of the varied emotional issues that commonly affect teenagers. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), some warning signs of teen emotional issues are:
- Often feels anxious or worried
- Has very frequent tantrums or is intensely irritable much of the time
- Has frequent stomachaches or headaches with no physical explanation
- Is in constant motion, can’t sit quietly for any length of time
- Has trouble sleeping, including frequent nightmares
- Loses interest in things he or she used to enjoy
- Avoids spending time with friends
- Has trouble doing well in school, or grades decline
- Fears gaining weight; exercises, diets obsessively
- Has low or no energy
- Has spells of intense, inexhaustible activity
- Harms herself/himself, such as cutting or burning her/his skin
- Engages in risky, destructive behavior
- Harms self or others
- Smokes, drinks, or uses drugs
- Has thoughts of suicide
- Thinks his or her mind is controlled or out of control, hears voices
Distinguishing whether these are just part of a passing adolescent phase, or these are signs of emotional issues are many parent’s challenge. Telling the difference can be tough. For instance, your child’s elusive behavior and argumentativeness may not necessarily indicate an emotional concern. Rather, it can be their way of discovering who they are or establishing their independence. If the disconcerting behaviors are persistent, intense and interfering with your child’s daily life or social and emotional development, it is a productive step to seek help from a behavioral health expert.
Major Teen Social and Emotional Issues
The definition of acceptable behavior differs from culture to culture. Yet, there are certain behaviors that are undeniably disturbing and disrupting. While teens are well-known for being moody, even irritable and defiant, there are behaviors that are alarming, particularly when these are persistent, intense, illogical, and disrupting. These are red flags that deserve attention because they can indicate worrisome emotional issues.
As a parent, you want to know what the common issues with which teenagers commonly struggle. According to Moumita Ghosh of Mom Junction, there are five major emotional and social issues that could lead to teen difficulties. These are related to “establishing identity, establishing autonomy, intimate and romantic relationships, being comfortable with their sexuality, and success and competition.”
In another Mom Junction article, author Sagari Gongoala enumerated 11 issues that adolescents must face. These include physical changes, emotional issues, behavioral changes, substance use and abuse, educational challenges, and health concerns. Teenagers can also be confronted with emotional issues, social difficulties - dating and relationships, addiction to cyberspace, and aggression and violence, especially among teenage boys.
Sailing Through the Issues with the Right Help
Through all these changes and challenges and despite your teen’s seeming attempt to be independent and mature, they still need you to sail through their emotional issues with success. There are a lot of things that you can do to help your child. You can work on strengthening your connection and communication. You can support them in their endeavors. Yet, the most important form of help may be in providing the assistance of a caring professional. You can find a skilled and qualified counselor for your teen with emotional issues independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – West Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC.
Emotional issues and conditions can be resolved or treated. If your teenaged daughter or son is exhibiting behaviors or showing signs that are interfering with their everyday life, and helping them is too difficult to face alone, call CCS – West Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC without delay. An experienced behavioral health professional can assess your child’s symptoms and emotional issues. They can provide the right kind of counseling, so they can resolve these difficult concerns. They can also give your teen the opportunity to talk about their emotional issues and express their thoughts, gain self-understanding, and acquire the knowledge and tools to sail through this difficult time.
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