The Joy Of Working With Teenagers
While studying to become a Family Therapist I observed that many highly qualified and experienced professionals, many who had raised children into teenagers, were nervous about working therapeutically with teenagers. Indeed, the first time a family with a teenager presented for therapy during training I felt a ripple of panic in the room.
Wow, I thought, I feel the exact opposite of these women I’m excited to be in a space with a teenager, I love their energy, enthusiasm, and passion. And before you say it…what passion? Sleeping? Sarcasm? Ha!
Let me tell you- in my experience EVERY teenager has passion. It is possible to tap into it and expand on it.
When you come to therapy with your teenager or persuade them to join a social skills group session I run, it is my hope that you will see how much enthusiasm I have for getting to know THEM. Each and every one of them.
They say it takes a community to raise a child- and it often takes a dedicated therapist to help guide and support your teenager’s journey into adulthood!
Having been a teacher of teenagers (and children also) for many, many years, I have gotten to know many of their passions and how to access these. Through music, art, science, sport- whatever it is, there often is passion. It may be just waiting to explode.
Teenagers Don’t Fully Comprehend The Consequences of Their Actions
Teenagers, as a generalisation, are wired for impulsivity, it is widely thought that boys brains don’t actually form cohesively until twenty-six, with girls a little before that. This explains a lot and tells us that they are not going to see the longer-term effects of behaviour. Teaching them to slow down, to really ponder the consequences of actions through role-play, visualisations and art can be extremely powerful.
I Just Want Them To Be Happy
One of the main things I hear from parents is – I just want them to be happy. Communication isn’t always flowing in the teenage years, especially for fathers and stepfathers. It can be a time where shifting boundaries and expectations on both sides can need some nurturance. Rituals can be used to observe this change and celebrate the new. Creating opportunities to build on your relationship with your child.
‘Out of the mouths of babes’
What your teenager needs usually arises in a Family Therapy Session. Teenagers typically become very brave and say things that they don’t yet have the capacity to say directly to you, this can be a good thing.
Family Therapy can open the door to new ways of communicating for all family members (not just your teen).
If you are interested in finding out how Mina can assist your family or your teen contact her here.
Author: Assimina Simmons
Photo: Annie Spratt of Upsplash