Why is my teenager so difficult?

Every week in my hypnotherapy clinics I see around 5-10 teenagers with various behavioural problems. Mum’s or dad’s call me and say: “He’s so self -centred we can’t cope with him anymore!” or “She stays in her room all day, says nothing, does nothing, what IS WRONG with her?”

My answer is usually “Nothing – he’s a teenager!” It’s true! It is a normal stage in a teenager’s development to behave like this. Perhaps you can remember back to when he was a toddler and he was learning to do something but he was struggling, he couldn’t explain why he couldn’t do it or what help he needed and he got all in a ‘tis – was’! well, this is the same situation now with your lovely child, just a few years on and he needs just as much help now as he did then. You see, your teenager’s brain doesn’t actually finish developing properly until he is in his early twenties, possibly even mid-twenties, and things like making decisions are the things that develop last.

However, don’t mistake the “normal teen behaviour” for something that may need looking at – anxiety for example, or depression.

“But how on earth can I tell what’s actually normal and what’s not”? I hear you ask.

Look at the following symptoms:

  • Bad decisions
  • Self – centred behaviour
  • Outbursts of emotion and rage
  • Staying in bed for hours on end
  • Appearing anti – social

Those are all normal teenage behaviours. However, if they are showing these symptoms:…..

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of appetite
  • Hardly communicating
  • Strange behaviour
  • Self- harm (cutting, picking, etc)
  • Thoughts of death and suicide
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Sadness or hopelessness

Your teen needs help!

Can you see the difference?

A teenager’s head is full of all sorts of mixed up feelings and emotions. It’s no wonder they explode occasionally. Not only have they spent the past 15 or so years learning the different stages of life and what is expected of them both at home and at school but as a teen they now have all that – plus – the dreaded hormones – to deal with, AND EXAMS!

So, what’s the answer?

If you are not sure whether your child is just “ being a normal teenager” or has a deep seated anxiety or any other mental health condition, you need to consider how long the symptoms have been going on, how different your teen is acting from his usual self, and how severe the symptoms are. Stress and hormones can explain an occasional outburst of teenage angst, but not an unhappiness that is continuous and unrelenting.

Depression is very damaging if left untreated, so don’t wait and hope that the symptoms will go away. Do your best to listen to your youngster. Get him or her to communicate and let him do most of the talking. Acknowledge the pain and sadness he/she is feeling – this will help him to feel supported. If, however your son or daughter won’t open up to you, try and get him to talk to someone – a teacher, a family friend or a mental health professional.

The teens I treat at my clinics are usually just normal teens who are struggling a little with some anxiety of exams, or a relationship issue. I use some hypnosis to help them through the anxiety, teach them some relaxation skills to help them cope if it should happen again and a little talking therapy and NLP to help their confidence. Within a few sessions, they are usually back on track.

So, if you are worried about your teen – remember the three- step rule:

  1. Talk to him and get him communicating.
  2. Offer support but don’t “interfere!”
  3. If you are genuinely worried – seek help!

If you would like to talk through some of your concerns feel free to contact me at: www.focus-hypnotherapy.co.uk

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