In March 2018, the CDC stated 3% of children ages 3-17 struggle with depression. Furthermore, there are many factors that can contribute to this kind of mental disorder, such as home environment, hormonal changes, and peer pressure, which are the leading causes of depression and anxiety.
For an average teenager, they may not be fully aware of the cause of their mental imbalance. They may think their internal struggles are normal and believe they can correct or endure it on their own. However, as their parent, you’ll find yourself concerned and feel compelled to do something about it.
First, you should consider talking with your teen. While as an adult, you are aware attending therapy is beneficial to any person, your teen may find it conflicting and perhaps insulting.
The idea of guidance can be hard for your teenager to accept, so it’s important to approach the topic carefully.
Below are a few tips you should consider employing to get your teenager to therapy.
Prepare To Speak To Them In A Language They Understand
Prepare your conversation and its direction ahead of time.
Teenagers are smart, but certain words can have different meanings for them. They may twist what you’re saying, because of how you’re saying it, so it’s important to get it right the first time.
To some teenagers, hearing the word “therapy” is a term in which they may immediately shut down to, and they may no longer be open to a calm conversation. If you use the word “guidance” or “counselor,” your child may respond better.
Know your teenager and how they communicate and approach accordingly.
A Calm Atmosphere And Attitude
Dismiss the convenient use of a technological conversation and sit down with your teenager.
A verbal, face-to-face conversation is imperative because your teenager will pick up on your concern, more so than they would through a text or phone conversation. A text message hinders the ability to read body language and display proper emotions, both of which are imperative to a successful conversation.
Furthermore, if you keep the atmosphere calm and open, your teenager will respond in the same manner.
It isn’t a secret that teenagers want to feel like they have some control over any and all situations. This is an area where you can use that to your advantage.
After your discussion, set aside some time to research together about the problem areas he or she is facing. This will help them understand that they aren’t alone in their struggles and that they may, in fact, need the help.
Creating An Agreement
Creating any sort of agreement with your teenager will make them feel like they have some control over the situation and what you’re asking of them.
Schedule some time to spend together after a therapy appointment is finished and do something normal – perhaps an ice cream date, or a manicure.
One-on-one time will strengthen your bond, which can only be beneficial to both you and your teenager.
Be The Example
Setting an example for your teenager will help them be okay with the idea of professional help.
For example, you could schedule and meet with a therapist or a counselor, and have a one-on-one parenting-training session where you can learn how to raise your teenager who is struggling.
Make your teenager aware that you’re seeking guidance to help raise them with the structure they need. Your teenager will see how dedicated you are to helping them, and it could strengthen them emotionally, further accepting their need for therapy.
As their parent, you’ll want to successfully guide your teenager’s opinion. Therapy can help them, and seeking help is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s important they receive all the help available to them because just as a doctor would advise, there are some illnesses your body cannot cure on its own. In this case, they need the professional guidance to help their mental disorder.
I specialize in providing therapy services to teens; Contact me to schedule an appointment.