Understanding Your Teenager And What They Need

Understanding Your Teenager And What They Need

Teenagers have a habit of pushing people away when they need them the most because they feel like nobody is going to understand them or even care. It can be hard to know how to help teenagers, especially when they have trouble communicating their needs to people who are in positions to help. In this article, we’re going to be looking at some of the things that your teen might need right now.

A Supportive Parent

Teenagers have a habit of pushing people away when they need them the most because they feel like nobody is going to understand them or even care. It can be hard to know how to help teenagers, especially when they have trouble communicating their needs to people who are in positions to help. In this article, we’re going to be looking at some of the things that your teen might need right now.

Some Outside Help

It can be difficult to admit that you can’t provide everything your child needs, but thankfully that’s the reason other support systems exist! There are people out there who have the specialist training necessary to support your teenager through some of the harder parts of life. When things get tough, your teen isn’t always likely to want to discuss their issues with you.

Lots of teens struggle to communicate their feelings. Problems with peers, family, or school can spiral into feelings of anxiety, anger and fear which can lead to depression. Dealing with a depressed teen is not easy because parents might feel that they are out of their depth while teens themselves may not want to admit that they have problems.

If your teen shows signs of depression, then you might want to look into depression counseling. At first, they may be a little hesitant to go, but you should encourage and support the counseling because it can be exactly what they need to be able to get through their challenges.

Getting professional help from someone who can talk things through with teens without making them feel judged or that they are compromising their privacy can really make a difference.
There are many ways that teens can get access to professional help. They include face-to-face counselling, one-on-one telephone calls, chatting over the web, and joining forums.

How counselling can help your teen

If you feel that your teen would benefit from depression counseling, a good place to start your inquiries is with your family doctor or your teen’s school. This sort of outside therapy can help teenagers to deal with certain issues and the effects they exert on their mental well-being.

Many teens might outwardly appear happy and healthy, but depression is a subversive illness that gnaws at the inside of one’s consciousness. A teen who might appear as their usual cheery self could be dealing with depression and not want to burden others with their problems. Counselling may be recommended for teens who are depressed but are otherwise physically healthy. Professional counsellors can identify the nature or source of the problem and help your teen to develop strategies for coping. Counselors can help identity common trends related to depression such as eating disorders, low esteem, and even self-harm.

The various types of counselling

Counselling for depressed or troubled teens comes in many forms, including cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), mindfulness, psychotherapy, and family therapy. Let’s take a brief look at these, one by one.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, or CBT for short, is all about making your teen think more positively about his or her life. It looks at how teens can get bogged down in certain patterns of behaviour and how these things can be changed rather than simply dwelling on past events.

CBT sessions often last six or 12 weeks, and during that time, the therapist will set aims and goals for your teen, including the setting of (homework) to work on in between sessions.


Mindfulness can take the form of breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga, during which your teenager is tasked with focusing on the thoughts and feelings that are causing their depression rather than trying to avoid them. It is often prescribed in conjunction with CBT.


Psychotherapy is generally a much longer-term type of therapy that centres on talking about past events and the way they are impacting on an individual. Sessions are typically carried out in clinics but can also be offered in the home.

Family therapy

Family therapy is something whereby a whole family unit works together with the therapist to try and get to the root of the problem. It can be very useful in improving communications between family members. It can restore lost trust, enabling the depressed teen to discuss the root cause of their problems openly and honestly without fear of misunderstanding or retribution.

How can you help?

Parental and family help can be a great source of support for teens who are struggling to cope with stressful situations. It’s important for a teen who is feeling down or who is experiencing a particularly hard time to interact with other people such as family members.

When your teen starts counseling, it may well be that your teen will not initially gel with their counsellor. You shouldn’t, however, view this negatively. After all, we all come across people we get on with and those we don’t. Don’t be put off! Try searching for other councilors around and rather than giving up. Parents should look for someone your teen is prepared to accept as a cornerstone in their life, and the first solution might not be the perfect.

Additionally, don’t forget about online options. If your teen might be more comfortable conversing with a counselor online as opposed to dealing with a counsellor face-to-face. Alternatives such as online counseling can help your teen feel more comfortable when dealing with sensitive issues.

Here are some things that you can try and that could make a difference

• Take time to consider your teen’s moods. Trust your parental instincts. They should be able to tell you when your teen is not feeling his or her best.

• Don’t be fazed if your teen feels that they won’t be heard. You may well find that you can surprise him or her and yourself in the process too.

• It’s important to ask what you can do to help. You need to appear to be the strong one, so it’s vital that you should be calm, collected, and positive.

• Always make it abundantly clear that you won’t say anything to anyone inside or outside the family if this is important to your teen. The only time you may wish to go against this practice is if you have a particular concern about your teen’s safety.

• Lend as much practical support as you can. If, for example, your teen is due for an appointment but feels somewhat uncomfortable about going alone, offer to go with him or her, even if it means waiting outside during the session.

• Ensure you provide emotional support. It may simply be a case of being passive and listening and reacting empathetically, rather than being reactive and looking for immediate answers and solutions. It can easily backfire.

Suggesting others your teen could confide in

It is sometimes said that a problem shared is a problem halved. It may well be beneficial to get your teen to think about confiding in someone else, either within or without the family unit. If you do decide to offer this as an option, you need to consider:

• Would your teen feel easy about discussing personal matters with this person?

• Is the person you are considering non-judgmental and a good listener?

• The person should be someone you and your teen have known for a while rather than someone new (unless we are talking about an outside counsellor).

It may well help if the person you are considering has been in a similar situation and would, therefore be understanding and empathetic. It is for this reason that many teens prefer forums as they feel more comfortable talking to peers that have had similar experiences.

Love And Acceptance

Above all else, your teenager needs love and acceptance from parents. No matter what they do, your teen needs your love and acceptance more than anyone else in the world. They might not come out and say it, but you are one of the most important people in their life, and all they want is for you to love them and accept them no matter who they are. It’s never going to be a challenge to love your child, liking them sometimes can be, but loving them comes without thought. It’s just a case of translating this to them in a way that they understand and never forget how important they are to you.

Hopefully, you have found this article helpful, and now have a better understanding of what your teenager might need. Take this advice, and try to be what they need you to be. If you can manage, they will come around and talk to you when they are ready.