The term atypical describes an adolescent path of development that is more complex than others.
Is your teen paralyzed by anxiety? Is your child hypersensitive to criticism? Does your son or daughter refuse to go to school? Do they struggle in social settings due to ADHD, an auditory processing disorder or high functioning form of autism?
I often meet families with atypical teens in high school. The increase in academic responsibility, together with the heightened expectations that they blend in socially, can tip these young people over. Parents may find their once cooperative child becoming highly reactive, isolating in their room, not turning in assignments, complaining about their friends, and in extreme cases, self-harming.
What doesn’t work when trying to help these teens to thrive? Getting angry, punishing them, belittling them, and labeling them only makes things worse. What they really need from you at this time is your understanding. They need to feel that you are on their side, and will do what is necessary to help them move beyond their current challenges. You do this by making time to learn more about their experience. How long have they been struggling. Where are they most affected? What do they need from you?
It can be terrifying and painful to watch your child struggle. This is where a consultation with a teen therapist can make all the difference. As a seasoned professional, I help parents uncover the problem underlying their teen’s symptoms. I also guide parents on effective next steps, as well as help them contain their own anxiety as they go through the process of healing their child’s pain.
Atypical teens are some of my favorite clients to work with! They are smart, delightful, and funny, just wanting to be seen and accepted for who they truly are. Please allow me the opportunity to demonstrate the support I can offer.
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Taking the Trouble out of the Teen Years
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