When your teen is struggling or acting out, you may be left shaking your head wondering what happened to your sweet kiddo. As their parent, you want to help them be successful, but right now, they’re not making it easy. Perhaps, They’re pushing you away and you’re struggling to discern what’s actually upsetting them. Or maybe they’re taking their anger and frustration out on you.

What Has Happened To My Teen?

Whatever is happening, you’re likely reading this blog because you want some clarity and information to make sense of your teen’s behavior. As a therapist, I’ve helped numerous teens and parents overcome similar struggles. So, I know how frustrating it can be for both parties. Today, I want to offer you some insight into the adolescent mind and this challenging developmental stage. My hope is that by discussing these things, you will gain greater insight and better understand where your teen is coming from physically, emotionally, and cognitively. Ultimately, better understanding and acceptance can improve your communication and relationship with your teen.

Helping Your Learn Learn From Mistakes

Adolescence is a time for your child to assert their independence. This means they learn how to think and act for themselves. This is a part of discovering who they are and what matters to them. Naturally, this phase comes with lots of bumps in the road. They WILL make mistakes. They WILL get hurt. Accept this. Allow them the opportunity to learn from the tough times. They need the confidence boost that comes along with knowing that they did it on their own. As long as they’re safe, grit your teeth and try not to swoop in and save the day.

So, I know you may be thinking “I can’t trust my child to make good decisions yet.” If this is the case, then absolutely guide them and parent them. Allowing your child to make a mistake does not mean you’re giving them free rein to do whatever they want. It simply means that when it’s safe to do so, you sit back and let them problem solve. I find that when parents do this, they’re often amazed at how capable their child is.

If your teen makes the wrong call, that can be super frustrating as their parent. After all, you want only the best for them.

Growing Pains

Adolescence is a time when your teen is trying to process what independence means to them. While they are doing this they are also figuring out lots of other things including their identity, their values, their goals, and what they want from their life. This is a lot. For anyone, especially someone who is so young. Sometimes, this can make them feel very overwhelmed and confused. They may need support, but they may not want to ask for it. During these tricky teenage years, they are caught between needing their parents and not liking that they need you. This may cause them to feel very frustrated

When your teen feels frustrated they may lash out at you.

If your teen gets upset with you, it’s important to keep your emotions in check. What is most important right now is keeping an open line of communication with your teen. So let them know that you are here when they need you, regardless of rather they are coming to you with something good or bad.

When your teen lashes out at you or is acting up elsewhere, you may find yourself becoming angry. Especially when this happens a lot. But, yelling, lecturing, or nagging your teen is unlikely to get you the results you want. In fact, they may ignore you. This is often a coping mechanism to deal with the overwhelm they feel. Imagine how you feel if you were in their place. Would you want to deal with another person coming at you like this? Probably not.

A Teen Therapist’s Suggestion for Talking With Your Teen

Instead, approach them with love and empathy. The teenage years are tough and a time of massive changes. If they feel safe and supported they are more likely to make positive choices and come to you when they need assistance. Furthermore, spend time with your teen and have conversations with them about all aspects of their life. Don’t just wait until they need you. Talk to them like you would want someone to talk to you. Find common ground and interests and build a relationship with them. This will serve you well as they navigate teenage challenges and adulthood.

If your teen is still struggling with big feelings and emotions, then it may be a good idea to reach out to a teen therapist to learn more about the many ways they can help your teen through these tough times. A teen therapist has a variety of skills in their toolbox to draw from to help your teen when they need support.

Begin Teen Therapy in the Sacramento area

If you are looking to work with a caring therapist in the Sacramento area, we would be honored to discuss our approach to helping teens overcome their struggles. Our Roseville, CA-based therapy practice has teen therapists that would love to work on the issues that matter most to them. Follow these steps to begin counseling in Fair Oaks, CA or Roseville, CA:

  1. Reach out to schedule a free 20-minute phone or video consult
  2. Meet with a caring teen therapist
  3. Start receiving the support your teen deserves

Other Services Offered at The Relationship Therapy Center in California:

In addition to teen therapy, Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. Our couples services include: Couples Counseling, Counseling after infidelity, sex therapy, co-parent counseling, family therapy, divorce counseling, intensive couples retreats, and premarital counseling. Our individual therapy services include anxiety treatment, therapy for children, teen therapy, depression treatment, codependency counseling and individual relationship counseling. Our therapists offer online counseling in California to treat a variety of mental health concerns. Please reach out to our Sacramento area therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you or your loved ones.