Counseling Can Help the Whole Family Deal With Adolescent Behavioral Issues

The various pressures that adolescent children experience, including the changes occurring within themselves, are among the major social concerns of today's parents, and rightly so. As a result of the inability to cope with all the changes that happen during this life stage, many teens and pre-teens develop extreme behavioral problems as well as eating disorders or even addictions to drugs or drinking. While counseling for troubled teens and tweens is often recommended, the entire family can benefit from the expertise of a professional counselor.

Many parents of teenagers or pre-teens lose confidence in themselves and in their ability to parent due to the difficulties and behavior problems their children face. More and more are reaching out to psychologists for guidance. Family counselors work with these parents to help them understand what is happening to their adolescents physically, mentally, emotionally and socially.

Bodies of adolescents are changing as they experience rapid physical growth. Many kids feel uncomfortable and often times clumsy. Puberty can cause embarrassment and withdrawal. Teens and pre-teens alike can be stubborn, exasperating and argumentative for seemingly no apparent reason from an adult perspective. However, when bearing the brunt of this often frustrating behavior, parents need to keep in mind that adolescents have a strong need to express themselves and to protect their ever-changing and expanding social scene. They are choosing different friends and experiencing new peer pressures. Often, their emotional life is a roller coaster ride, happy and carefree one moment and tearful the next. Is it any wonder that parents may find it difficult to cope? Family counselors can be a tremendous help during these times.

As part of the counseling process, psychologists may choose to spend one on one time with each member of the family, hearing his or her perspectives and learning how each feels in individual situations. There will be other times when the counselor will sit down with the family as a whole with the intention of keeping the lines of communication open. This way, the therapist can help each individual to understand what everyone is feeling, and get to the root of some of the destructive behaviors that are occurring. They also help each person understand how to communicate with each other in order to prevent misunderstandings, alienation and other problems.

Family counseling also can help parents learn new ways to assist their adolescents in developing discipline, problem solving, and effective anger management and time management skills. Psychologists can also assist parents in dealing with teen and pre-teen ups and downs. Therapy can help parents better understand the emotional changes adolescents experience while trying to establish a settled identity, and that continued pressure from adults for them to "grow up" will only fuel inconsistency, discouragement and perhaps even anger.

As the old saying goes, no one is an island. However, adolescents need time, space and near-infinite patience to blossom into the amazing adults they can become. Family counseling can help parents, teens and preteens, and even other siblings better understand each other and learn new ways to effectively deal with and overcome behavioral problems and other challenges.