Teenage years can be especially difficult for both child and parents. During these years, young people experience physical, psychological and emotional changes. They also attempt to develop a separate identity from their parents, while learning how to remain close to them. Self-centredness, rebellion and deep investment in peer relationships are traits that are unpleasant, but generally normal during this time.
Adolescents, just like adults, experience stress during the life journey. Some common stressors for adolescents include school and family issues. A school related stress experience may include excessive or difficult homework, test anxiety, peer pressure, bullying, and learning difficulties. A family related stress experience may include family arguing, divorce, moving homes, new siblings or a major illness.
Counselling can help adolescents learn how to identify their distress, develop their skills in asking for help and expressing emotions, and improve their problem-solving abilities. Family therapy during this period can have profound impacts on relationships, as miscommunicated thoughts and feelings can be unpacked and clarified for all.
During adolescence, relationships with friends can intensify whilst relationships with parents can be delicate. Teens can become volatile and parents can lose their cool as everyone adapts to the ever-changing needs and boundaries of a maturing child.
As teenagers continue to grow more independent, parents become less able to influence their decisions and, as a result, they may also experience more worry. This time is marked by parents learning to relinquish some control - which also requires teenagers to demonstrate to their parents that they are being responsible and safe. You may find it helpful to seek support if you are noticing any of the following behaviours:
- Depression and anxiety
- Low self-esteem
- Argumentative, critical, moody
- High emotionality, or socially withdrawn
- Difficulty with abiding by family and social rules
- Difficult peer or teacher-student relationships
- Problems with concentration/attention to tasks