It is very common for many parents to approach seeking psychotherapy for their children at different stages of development. The concerns relate to questions about what to do or how to address teenagers at homewhat rules and regulations to implement, when to set limits, whether they are permissive or intransigent.
There are many factors to take into account to address them in psychotherapy or in the same education that the parents want to give.
Common Concerns About Raising Teens
It is very appreciable to take into account the openness that many parents have developed to talk about various subjects which concern their children at the stage of puberty and/or adolescence and which interest many of us.
A few years ago, thinking about a mother or father having an approach to talking about sexuality was a scary and embarrassing scenario for many people. Now, it doesn’t have to be that way; There are several ways to generate an environment of trust, clarity and at the same time firmness when expressing our ideas.
It can be observed that there are more common topics that worry parents. I will list some of them, which will be described later.
1. My son is too involved on social media
It’s very common to hear a lot of extremely worried parents, because they do not know what is “normal” or expected in terms of the time their children invest in networks or technological devices.
It has been talked about a lot, and it is that in an increasingly globalized world, with so much information and even many activities carried out remotely, it is very difficult to define how practical it is to talk about time .
Many signs indicate that our child may be immersed in technological devices in a poorly controlled manner. As he may prefer to isolate himself rather than live with his parents or children of his age, he becomes very anxious if he does not have the device or contact with technology all the time, he is annoys if limits are put in place regarding the subject, he does not want to do activities outside the home to give more importance to technology, etc.
The important thing is to detect when it is a behavior that can put our child in danger and when it is something “expected”. It is natural that a pubescent and adolescent boy does not want to spend so much time with his parents in order to devote more time to other activities and people.
It is common to hear that parents worry when it happens “all at once”, it is a process of adaptation for all family members at each stage that passes. Adolescence itself is a complex and intense period. Therefore, nowadays, in a time so technologically advanced and full of uncertainties, many teenagers choose to take refuge and identify with the various characters present on social networks. Mention that they would very much like to be like them or look like them, have the same things or travel. Comparing their universes, their friendships and everything that surrounds these characters, actresses, tiktokers, YouTubers, etc.
Parents should not adopt an imposing and inflexible position, but a firm but understanding attitude. By that we mean putting in place limits that each family considers appropriate, saying an exact number of times a teenager should be on the cell phone or in video games is complicated because it depends on many factors, but one could to think that, if technology has a direct impact on the teenager in terms of attitude, behavior, routines, time, etc. it would be worth evaluating with a professional the specific measures to be taken.
It is recommended that the teenager have time for extracurricular activities, like exercising outdoors or in a club where you can live with more young people, also to be able to carry out your academic and personal tasks without too many problems. When it comes to putting limits in place on the hours the teenager will spend on their electronic devices, this is where things get tricky, as it can be difficult for the young person to comply with the rules that each parent sets up. It is worth doing it with determination and reaching agreements.
2. Another disturbing subject is sexuality
When the boy enters the pubertal stage, changes of all kinds begin, hormonal changes, the body changes, many emotional movements begin, character, personality, etc.
It can be quite a challenge for the young person and for the parents to digest the process. Although there is a lot of information on this subject and there are even schools that approach the subject according to their school plans, it is always recommended that the child feels open to talking to his parents about his doubts and of his concerns.
It’s a little rare for a 13-year-old to come home with questions about these topics, but these questions are on their mind. It is expected that the young man will want to clarify them with his friends, on the internet or with films of all kinds. We are well aware that sometimes the research sources are not ideal and there can be misunderstandings and the teenager is usually even more confused. I therefore recommend various conferences on the subject. The first will be done on its own and will be in kindergarten or primary school when the child comes home with the question… Where do babies come from?
At this time, the mother or father will give a brief explanation depending on the age. With this information in mind, the child will retain it until gradually, through other children, previous research, and school clarifications, it becomes clearer, but he will always be looking for answers. So after that, at the upper primary and early secondary stage, the young man would have more clarity about what he is doing. It is not just the simple sexual relationship that concerns us, there are other issues of equal importance, such as acceptance of the body, the development process, self-esteem, acceptance of others , limits in dating and friendships, sexual transmission diseases, family planning, abuse, etc. So, as we can see, there are quite a number of topics to discuss. Given this situation, it is best to do it little by little, leaving aside anxiety and fear.
Parents may choose to address these issues as they arise and over time and age. It is not advisable to talk about them all at the same time because you could overwhelm yourself and overwhelm the teenager. Otherwise, take it small. Try to make it not a scenario of reprimand or warning, but rather a climate to raise awareness of all these relevant and important topics. If you have any doubts about how to approach these subjects with your child, do not hesitate to ask a psychotherapist.
3. School difficulties
It is very common for parents to come to the consultation mortified that their son is having poor grades in school. Either the school sent the youngster as a recommendation for psychological therapy, or the parents themselves find it useful. Each school stage is different. The transition from primary to secondary is something that many young people experience as a process that produces a lot of anxiety, since all changes occur at the same time. The anxiety of academic grade changes, the ever-changing body, anxious parents, and the teenager just doesn’t know where to fit in.
It is important to be patient in this transition and to let things calm down little by little. That said, in high school, students who in elementary school were singled out or didn’t say “difficulties” have now become more lazy or rebellious. It is an expected attitude for many young people who do not know what to think about it, and after several years on the honor roll, they face the new challenge and it takes more work to overcome it.
In this sense, it will be important to help him digest the adaptation process and to be able to detect whether it is a behavioral, emotional or school problem. In many cases, there may be more than one thing that is making our teenager restless or unsettled. That is why it is always suggested that all specific questions are dealt with professionally in the field.
When the young man enters preparatory school, things become a little different. The adolescent is in constant conflict with himself, socially, with his parents and even with his parents, at school and in any activity that arouses ambivalence. At this stage, adolescents go through it with great intensity, with deep emotion and, at best, with a desire to discover the world. They have mixed emotions, their attitude can be impulsive and imposing. So, if it’s a school, it’s a bit complicated to approach them to open a dialogue. Nothing is impossible.
It is recommended at any academic stage to be aware and in touch with the school staff, without invading the space of the young student, in order to have a better idea of what may happen, if Is it an isolated event or is it a general academic difficulty? To be able to find the best alternative and help the boy.
4. Friendships, dating and other relationships
At this stage, it is essential that the young person has a group of friends who, even if not very large, fulfill their function which is accompaniment, identification, discovery of identity, etc. . Teenagers seek to identify with something or someone and often, in discovering his identity, they found that his friends were the best way to do it. They find comfort, pleasure, support and companionship. When a young man has no friends or isn’t interested, that’s something to watch out for.
Many parents fear that the circle of friends is not the most ideal, that there are bad influences, that families are in conflict or that they are bad students, etc. The important thing here is to give our son the confidence to be able to make decisions when he is not with us, so that he can distinguish between what is appropriate and what is not.
He is obviously going to make a mistake, it is part of the process and we will have to allow and tolerate it. When our 17-year-old son arrives and introduces his new girlfriend or boyfriend, parents immediately begin a thorough assessment of the qualities and flaws they can find in their children’s love partner. Comments start with “it doesn’t suit you” “you saw how you talk” etc.
The adolescent very quickly feels the need to set limits and distance himself from his parents. There are parents who find it very difficult to tolerate this happening, and often they are not ready. Trying to control our son’s every space will not make communication and the decisions he makes more consistent and accountable.
As they say, our young man is trying to build a new world, full of tastes, hobbies, hobbies, friendships, adaptation processes, family, etc. This means that in this construction he will make some less intelligent decisions and some very intelligent ones, and that is part of the process. You will have to meet people, have boyfriends and understand how the world works. We can’t live that for him.
5. Substance use
A more delicate problem is that of the consumption of substances such as alcohol, drugs, tobacco, etc. I mention the tricky word because the range of risk factors is increasing. It’s not the same as a 17 year old drinking beer with a 14 year old boy. A 15 year old who smokes 5 cigarettes a day is not the same as a 17 year old who smokes one cigarette a month.
That said, it becomes very complicated to analyze case by case in simple paragraphs. What’s true is that no parent likes the idea of their teenager getting caught drunk at high school parties. then, The first thing would be to determine the age of the child.
If you are going through puberty between the ages of 11 and 14, if you are a teenager between the ages of 15 and 18 or a teenager at the end of life. The majority of young people between the ages of 17 and 20 will often have access to and contact with substances.
In all cases, especially with minors, it is crucial to provide detailed and timely information about the specifics of any substance abuse. Being able to distinguish with sensitivity if a young person has had a drink out of curiosity and socialization, or if this alcohol consumption becomes something repetitive that can end up putting them in danger. If there is difficulty with more specific medications, it is important to assess this with a specialist and see what are the best options to help the young person.
Our last but not least topic is bullying or abuse of any kind. As we have seen throughout this article, social media is time consuming and an important sphere for most young people. Thanks to this medium, they communicate, interact, meet people… so it is very common that they are more inclined to being bullied or cyberbulliedbecause it does not only happen in schools or in another specific place, but this type of bullying is becoming more and more frequent.
As we mentioned, social networks can be very useful, but they can also become an outlet for everyone’s frustrations. Since the true identity is hidden and it is very easy to be able to write or mention anything. Thus, harassing or insulting someone becomes simpler and more dangerous. Majority of teenagers don’t know how to handle these type of comments and situations since there is usually no one to associate the bullying with, I mean often they don’t know who the bully is that impacts on teenage life
School bullying that occurs in the classrooms of certain places where the teenager attends in person is also very common, these acts of aggression can be disguised as jokes, jokes, nicknames, doing or saying something alluding to a difficulty that the young person has, a su cuerpo, isolate him, etc. this it can be very harmful to children’s self-esteem and safety.
Obviously, it is also important to be attentive and to help the young people who are at the origin of these offences, because they are surely going through serious difficulties.
It is essential that we can strike up a conversation with our student every day, where he can feel the confidence to express if there is anything that is bothering him, ask him about his friends, who he is having lunch with, what teamwork he did, what he likes about going to school, what he doesn’t like going to school, whether there are trustworthy adults who talk about their teachers, etc. All this information must be requested little by little, so that it does not become a question mark. Thereby, we will have a broader idea of what is happening in your school environmentalthough there will always be aspects that we will ignore.
It is important that our young people are clear about what the boundaries are and what situations are tolerable and which others would deserve to react to and implement a stop and draw a line. It can be very easy at this age to get confused and not be clear about what the boundaries should be with others, given this situation it is common to cross the boundaries of what is allowed. Every family is different and every core creates its own rules, but the reality is that we cannot normalize abuse of any kind.
As we can see, there are quite a few factors to consider if we are talking about teenagers. From academic matter, education, values, development, body change, character, personality, and all the emotional and inner world of each individual.
It is not easy to give absolute answers, each case is different and has its own point of view, it is important to emphasize that if you have doubts, concerns or if you just want to talk about the topic, you or your child need to talk to a professional who can constantly guide them; it’s completely normal to need help from time to time. The main thing is to have a parental attitude that always allows opennessflexibility and that you have the firmness to tolerate change.