Although teenagers may seem like they are totally absorbed in their video games, sports, or movies, they notice what’s going on around them. Teens are curious about the adult world, and are often eager to take steps toward it. During adolescence and puberty, anything related to sex is sure to catch their attention. Teens struggle with questions of identity and values and seek role models. Our culture and popular media provide endless opportunities to present issues surrounding sex, often in the form of celebrity gossip.
Parent-teen power struggles are nothing new. Teenagers pushing back against parental expectations and limits are a normal part of adolescent development. This is how kids move towards independence and prepare for emancipation.
Clients in their late teens and early twenties increasingly report a sense of paralysis brought about by not knowing their passions. Without such insight, they believe, it is difficult or impossible to move forward in their lives.
It’s the start of a new school year. For healthy strivers—kids with big goals and high standards—this is a time of excitement, anticipating the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. For perfectionists—kids with impossible expectations and intense fear of failure—this is a time of high anxiety.
How can you help your adolescent or college-age child be a healthy striver rather than a destructive perfectionist?
Worry about an upcoming math test, anxiety about feeling pressed to try drugs, pressure to get better grades, fear of being harassed by a classmate; that all can add up to feeling a lot of stress if the emotions of worry, anxiety, pressure, and fear are left unmanaged.
High school can be a psychological battle field. Social challenges, getting involved in serious relationships for the first time, the pressure to succeed in school and in sports, the increasing amount of extra-curricular activities young adults are expected to undertake all add up and can lead to stress, self-doubt, interpersonal conflict, intense mood swings, and the feeling of being overwhelmed and even lost.
As therapists, it’s important to help our clients identify and understand where their anger is coming from so that they can feel more in control of their behavior. Teaching your client to tame the raw emotion of anger will help them channel and release their anger in more appropriate ways.