Teenagers Under Pressure
So, let me start by saying I specialized in marriage and family therapy because I had (and still have) a passion for saving marriages. I feel as though it is the foundation for the family system to have a fighting chance. Not once through my schooling did I consider the possibility of helping teenagers. And not for the reasons you may think, i.e. raging hormones, stubbornness, the fight to always be right, honestly, I just thought marriage was my calling and didn’t consider adolescents being in my scope of therapy.
marriage AND family
I have two teenagers of my own and have first hand experience with the emotional roller coaster ride they like to take me on. The pressure for these young people is relentless and comes from all angles, i.e. parents, school, peers. And because of the pressures mentioned, their biggest threat becomes themselves! The heaviness creates stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues that these children will carry for a lifetime.
STRESS, ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, LOW SELF-ESTEEM
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, age 14 is a defining time when mental illness can become a lifetime battle if not addressed appropriately. Additionally, Good Therapy reports an astronomical number of 4 million children and adolescents having experienced a mental illness, which had a profound impact on their ability to perform academically, socially, or within the family unit. WOW…4 million?!?! And those are only the reported numbers. What about all of those who are suffering silently?
Within the Good Therapy article there is a list of triggers and risk factors that could cause a child to develop mental health issues, i.e. divorce, death of loved one, abuse, taking on more responsibility than is age-appropriate. Most schools have counselors on sight, which is an awesome service provided to your child for FREE! It is a great starting point if you sense something a little off about your child.
Again, I will emphasize the importance of the client/therapist relationship, especially for teenagers. A safe, nonjudgmental zone is imperative for anyone to let vulnerability work its magic, but for a teenager it will make or break any progress toward health. As a society we have lost the focus of being present, enjoying the moment, and experiencing right now. There are expectations for our young, fragile humans to be the best and to perform at the next level instead of focusing on today and what today might bring.
We are not guaranteed any moment in life…enjoy the one you have today!