It can be very overwhelming and confusing to know where to turn to when your teenager is struggling. Teens often do not want to listen to you because you “do not understand” and your advice falls on deaf ears. If your teenager is asking for help, this is a definite sign that you should call us immediately and schedule that first appointment. With this particular age group, it is crucial that you get your child in for an appointment at the time they are asking and we will find a therapist that they feel comfortable talking to. When you call our office, let us know that your teen is reaching out for help and we will get you in immediately with one of our clinicians who specializes in working with teens. In order for therapy to be effective, your teen will need to feel completely at ease and comfortable with their therapist. We will do our best to match your child’s personality and age to a clinician who will be the best match for their style of interacting. Sometimes, parents feel more comfortable coming in for that first session themselves to openly discuss their concerns without their child. This is perfectly ok and gives you the opportunity to meet the therapist and determine if you think that person will be a good match for your teen.
So what do you do if your teen refuses to come in for therapy or is so withdrawn and defensive that you can’t seem to talk to him/her about your concerns? As a parent, if you notice changes in your teen’s mood, behavior, grades in school or have concerns about their friendships (or lack there of), possible substance use, or self harm, we are here to meet with you separately and confidentially to discuss your concerns without your child present. By listening to you and asking questions, our experts can tell you if this is “normal” teen behavior or if this is something you should be concerned about. We will give you guidance as to how to proceed (even if your teen is resistant to coming in to meet with us). The adolescent years are a fragile, sensitive time of life and missing something during this stage of development can be fatal. In addition to the somewhat common conflicts between parents and teens, more serious conditions such as depression, anxiety, self-harm (cutting), eating disorders and substance abuse are also on the rise during this age. Intentional or accidental death are real possibilities if not caught early and addressed appropriately. We are very familiar with the difficulties teens face in today’s society, as many of us have teens ourselves. We are here to help.
We have specialists who work specifically with teenagers at McCaskill Family Services. We are truly a family practice that addresses the needs of the entire family. We also have clinicians who can meet with you, as the parent or caretaker, in order to help you to know what to do to help your child during this often difficult stage of development.