Adolescence is a time of transition for the teen as well as the other members of the family. The experience of adolescence varies for each individual and can change day to day, hour to hour. These years of life are characterized by physical and emotional changes. Values, morals, abstract thinking, increasing independence, and figuring out one’s identity are just a few of the challenges of this stage in life. Parents or care-givers are often challenged by the role of parent-to-teen because so much of the child’s behavior is unpredictable, or predictably difficult, depending on the many variables that contribute to the health or illness of a family.
I have always had a passion for working with adolescents and helping them separate from their families of origin in a manner that reduces strife, and improves communication and a new kind of closeness, while doing “damage control” by helping the teen make choices that are the least destructive to themselves and their families.
This is not always easy because many people wait too long to start therapy, hoping the behavior is a phase and will go away on its own. They continue to use strategies that fail, despite contrary evidence. Too often, parents are shocked and unprepared for the changes in their previously-cooperative latency age (7-11/12 child). Somehow, despite the conflicts in families with teens, it is hard to accept that YOUR teen could act in such an unkind, self centered, defensive and fault-finding manner. How this stage is negotiated by families is critically important as it lays a framework for later adult-child/parent relationships.
During the many years I have worked with adolescents I developed considerable experience in a variety of problem areas, including:
- Academic/school-related problems
- Abuse; sexual/physical/emotional
- Eating disorders
- Family-related problems
- Internet abuse
- Self-injurious behavior
- Separation (healthy) from family of origin
- Sexuality and sexual orientation
- Substance abuse of teen or parent