Being A Teenager Isn’t Easy…
Young people have a lot to deal with: family, relationships, sexuality, school, exams. They have to manage any problems at the same time as establishing a new identity as a young adult – at a stage when they have relatively little control over their life situation. And these days there are also complex online and social media worlds to negotiate, which often present issues of their own.
Alongside all this, during early adolescence the brain grows over a billion new neurons. This has huge potential – it makes teenagers some of the most creative, dynamic, fast-learning people on the planet. But it also comes with complications, because the logical, ‘sensible’ part of their brain won’t be fully developed till their early twenties. This leaves teens like turbo-charged sports cars without any brakes.
Then there are wildly fluctuating hormones and correspondingly intense emotions. Add these into the mix, and it means that teenagers can be intuitive, passionate and brave – but also impulsive, aggressive and reckless.
…Sometimes It Can All Become Too Much
Unsurprisingly, young people can feel overwhelmed at times. They may struggle to manage risk and stress, or to find a sense of who they are, or to develop the self-esteem and resilience they will need in order to navigate adult life. They may well feel inadequate or ashamed at not being able to cope.
And yet, it’s not at all uncommon. Recent research has shown that 20% of adolescents may experience a mental health problem in any given year. More than a third of teenage girls have been or are depressed before the age of 17. And according to GPs’ figures, anxiety amongst young people has trebled over the last 10 years.
Your Teen Can Get Back On Track – And Counselling Can Help
Counselling can help your teen untangle some of this. It offers a chance for young people to get curious about themselves, in a very different way than they normally do in conversations with peers, parents or other adults. They can begin to identify their strengths; consider their priorities; name their fears; discover new solutions.
As they start to understand themselves better, they can learn to harness the huge potential of their adolescent brain, and channel their natural energy in a more constructive way.
I have worked with teenagers from all sorts of backgrounds, both as a teacher and as a counsellor. I’ve seen both how tough life can be for young people – and what an incredible capacity they have for change. I know that with the right help even struggling teens can become more capable and confident in themselves, and more stable and resilient in the face of future challenges.