Adolescence = “Growth”
Don’t tell me, let me guess. The “growing pains” in your household have become a whole lot more excruciating in the last couple weeks/months/year. As a parent, this is a tough time. You are watching your adolescent experience the significant physical and biological changes that occur during puberty. They are rapidly changing emotionally, socially and intellectually. All this growth can certainly rock the house.
And then….adolescent alcohol and drug use.
If you are here, your teen must be using alcohol or drugs at some level. Perhaps they are experimenting with different types of alcohol or different types of drugs and that is making you nervous. Maybe they are using “socially” with their friends on the weekend. Or it is possible that they have moved beyond those phases and are using alcohol or drugs on a regular basis, perhaps even daily. Their use is affecting their school work, their relationships, and their free time. And most noticeably, their use is affecting the family.
As a parent, you may be experiencing one or more of the following emotions:
- Anxiety: “Are we doing the right thing?” “Are their friends a bad influence?” “Are we being too strict – or too lenient?” “Are we making the right decisions?”
- Fear: “What if they get hurt?” “What if they overdose?” “What if they become addicted”
- Anger: “Why aren’t they listening to me?” “Why don’t they pay attention?” “Why are they doing this to our family?”
- Concern: “What are they doing?” “Who are they with?” “What if they get in trouble with the law?” “What if they don’t finish school?” “What if they cause permanent brain or body damage?”
- Embarrassment: “What if other parents hear about what they are doing?” “What if they do something stupid in public?” “What will I say to the neighbors?”
It May Be Time For Counseling
Outpatient adolescent substance abuse treatment has proven to be effective. Regardless of the stage of their substance use, most adolescents will say that their alcohol or drug use is not a problem. And notably, adolescents frequently do not enter treatment unless they are required to do so through outside forces: parents, school‐based student assistant programs, or the criminal justice system.
You can help. By enrolling your adolescent in outpatient adolescent substance abuse treatment, we can help them to:
Increase their Self-Confidence
By learning self-reflection and building new skills, teens can begin to look inward at their values and beliefs. Identifying their personal beliefs will help them to establish their priorities and teach them to change their feelings and behaviors to fit their beliefs rather than conforming to everyone else around them.
Determine their strengths
By learning to identify what do they do well and where they need more skills, teens start to develop their own character. Discussing various situations they have successfully managed in the past helps them to identify which of their skills can be used in future situations.
Visualize the Life They Want to be Living
By having teens consider the areas of their lives that they like and don’t like, we help them to start to see their role in defining their future. As they begin to make changes, they may build stronger friendships, approach life with more confidence, and cope with stress and feelings in healthier ways.
Empower Them to Make Changes
Therapy is one place to learn to establish personal boundaries, communicate needs, and express emotions. The therapist will act as a guide and a consultant to help teens make the changes they are seeking. Therapy is also a place where teens can practice new skills, make plans to try new skills in other settings, and a safe place to share anger, disappointment, struggles and frustration when their plans don’t go as they had hoped. Ultimately, they are in control of their next steps.
Through the process of therapy, the goal is your adolescent will begin to recognize and understand the role that alcohol and drugs is playing in their life, gain an understanding of addiction, learn about recovery, and make a decision to change their substance use.
Tanja Gorenc works with adolescents.
You might not be ready to commit to working with me right now…If you’re not ready to get in touch that’s totally OK. The truth is that the decision about who you want your teen to work with is a big one. I generally don’t recommend you make it without doing some research first.
For example, you might want to find out more about:
- Myself and my journey into the counseling profession
- My experience and qualifications
- Our beliefs about working with clients
And of course, if you have any specific questions, please just ask. I’d be happy to answer them.
If you are ready to move forward and seek therapy for your adolescent, get in touch. I am happy to help.