Raising a Teenager is Gut Wrenching
Anxiety about testing, friends, academics, self-harm, substance use, choosing a high school, college applications, mental illness, trauma…
All that worrying takes a toll on a parent!
And then you worry about your parenting job.
Are you doing enough or are you doing too much? And who decided what that line is anyway?
It seems like they’re doing ok, but you worry about their social circle. They say they want more friends, but don’t know how to go about it.
“I don’t always know what my job is as a parent to my teen. When I step back, it’s wrong. When I step in, it’s wrong. Help!”
School can be a very alienating experience at this age.
Maybe your teenager is extra sensitive and finds 8th grade or high school overwhelming.
Perhaps you, the parents, divorced at some point, find that living between two households is creating extra stress on your child.
Your teen can feel caught in the middle.
“When I take a break from social media, I feel like I don’t have ANY friends…”
With teen clients, I work on the challenges that matter to both them and the adults who love and care for them. While the parents hire the therapist, the teens are the clients.
They are granted the same level of confidentiality, privacy, and respect that an adult client receives.
So, TEENS, what would you do in therapy?
Really you don’t want to come, but if they’re making you…
Most of my teen clients feel different from the crowd, so we work on honoring that – embracing our unique, creative, quirky selves.
I say ‘our’ because this also describes me!
We all need friends, but finding the right people, making the move to get to know them, remembering their names, making a plan to get together – these tasks can feel so daunting to many of us.
Then there are the friend groups that don’t value what you value.
Their substance use feels wrong, or you feel pulled to take care of them even when it isn’t what you really want.
Sometimes you sacrifice too much.
Let’s make a plan to take care of YOU so that the friends you have are REAL friends.
Leading Through Healing
Rare is the teenager who says, “Hey, Mom, I want to go to therapy.”
Sometimes it isn’t clear whether the parents or the teens are going to be the clients.
Getting through this challenging time is going to require engagement from all sides.
Become the parents your teens need you to be.
Sometimes that will mean taking a firm stand, drawing your line in the sand, and supporting your teen with clear direction.
Sometimes it will mean loving and listening, holding and nurturing, and stepping aside to allow them to grow.
I have been there… I know it is a delicate dance, and I will help you navigate it.
And, TEENS, please know that I will help you train your parents to become the parents you need them to be.
They are doing their best, but all of us can do better.
Find out how good life can be with understanding and peace in your home.
Call (415) 203-6600 today to schedule a free phone consultation.
WHEN PARENTS NEED HELP
Testimonial from a family with 15- and 18-year-old teens
We were in absolute disbelief when we heard, by their own admission, that our kids were using drugs. Our kids? No way. They’d made a promise. They weren’t interested.
They were the ones who not so long ago had dumped the cigarettes out of a friend’s box, and broken them all and thrown them away, they were the ones who wrinkled their noses when we walked by pot smokers on Telegraph Hill, they were the ones who said without provocation how bad “all that stuff is for you…”
But along the way, they became teenagers. And trust was there and then it wasn’t and then it needed to regrow and that took way longer than it took to break it. When we learned in roundabout and direct ways what they were using and how much, shock gave way to sadness and then they didn’t want to share anything for fear of “making mom cry” or getting in trouble. Plus, they liked it. It allowed them to sleep, it made socially awkward situations less awkward, it gave them confidence when confidence was in short supply. So the conversations tapered and in short order, we went straight to Alane Freund. We needed to know more. We needed to know what to do.
Alane didn’t mince words but let us know right away what we were up against.
Had she not been there in that moment of desperation and urgency, I have no idea what we’d have done. What we had was no longer an option. We were headed downhill and there was no way not to notice.
But Alane was there. And she helped us tremendously. Her guidance and expertise gave us a path and information we hadn’t thought to look for. Pot isn’t just pot anymore. It’s ugly, really ugly. Addiction does take hold. Teenagers are extremely vulnerable.
Legalization doesn’t make it right and doesn’t make it fine. And our kids are the targets as more and more companies jump into the fray to make bank.
We set out to educate ourselves and our kids about the gravity of what’s out there within such easy reach. And along the way, we shared information with the parents of friends we knew were using too. While our decision to really hunker down and for a while, to remove freedoms (devices, leisure time with friends, opportunity to earn money) in order to focus inward wasn’t necessarily embraced by others, it was the right thing for us.
And Alane was there along the way to answer our questions, to remind us to stick with it as the storms came. Maybe they were provoked by withdrawal of chemicals or the structure we imposed for a bit. But in between turbulence came laughter. And stories. And a flow of dialogue we hadn’t heard in a long, long time.
Perhaps one of the best things as our kids have settled into a path that doesn’t include drugs is hearing them tell us about their friends giving it up and how their parents got on board. And how the woman who cuts their hair is taking a break. And so is the hair cutter’s sister. We are talking. And we’re talking about tough things, and we’re finding a way through. Were it not for Alane, I have no idea where we’d be. I can’t even bear to think of where we’d be because I know we wouldn’t be here. There was no soft way of addressing what we discovered, and she gave us the support and information not just to get through, but to make things better for all of us.