School can seem like a battlefield for your teen.
My grades are slipping, and I don’t care. Teachers and parents don’t understand. How can they? They keep saying, “Try harder, study more.” But no amount of trying harder and studying more is helping.
The pain is overwhelming. I’m thinking about ending it permanently. Being bullied at school and online… just never ends. Lies are spread about me being a slut, and there’s no one I can talk to about it.
I’m trying to navigate all these different social groups! It’s exhausting trying to figure out where I belong when I don’t even know who I am.
I hate my body!!! All I see is a “fat girl” in the mirror.
My parents won’t let up on me to be perfect: straight A’s, dance class, music class, debate team. I have to do all this to get into a great college. I don’t have time to just hang out with my friends and have a little fun.
When every day is a struggle to be seen and accepted…
We are created to be part of a tribe of people that know us and accept us. This is true for children, teens, and adults.
For teens, the struggle is real, and it is lonely.
When they can’t find a group of kids at school to be a part of, they think something is wrong with them. Other kids are cruel, calling them names and bullying them.
Your teen probably thinks you don’t understand…
… how impossible and dark their life can seem.
At every stage in life, we want to fit in. It’s all that more impossible when you’re a teenager. Having the right clothes, hairstyle, perfect body, and being in the right social group seems to be all teens obsess about. They want to be like everyone else, that they don’t understand that being their unique self is where it’s at. They don’t want to stand out; they want to be part of the crowd.
Your teen is bullied for being smart, so they stop studying, and their grades tank. This is all part of not wanting to stand out. They get the geek label, which hurts them even more.
Getting twisted up in knots, not knowing what to do, your teen cuts themselves to relieve the pain. They may even spend a lot of time on the computer, socially isolating.
Your teen doesn’t think you’d understand, but what they don’t know is that you, too, were the smart one in school and also got bullied. Here is where you and I can help your teen.
My role as your teen’s counselor is to help them accept who they are in how they were created. I will walk them through discovering who they are in the eyes of the Lord. They will learn that He has a perfect plan and purpose for their life, unlike anyone else’s on earth. Your teen will also embrace that being different is an excellent thing. Life would be so boring if we were all the same!
Here’s how teen counseling can help…
Getting to know each other…
In our first couple of sessions, your teen and I will establish trust and create
a safe environment where they can give a voice to their pain.They will never
be judged or told they shouldn’t feel the way they do.
I will ask questions so that I can learn more about your teen, and they can
ask me questions, too: what it was like for me being their age, what obstacles
I overcame, and anything else they want to ask (within reason, of course).
I will hold everything your teen shares with me in the strictest confidence,
and we will sign a confidentiality agreement. Your teen will also know that
if they disclose self-harm plans, I am a mandatory reporter and will need to
let their parent(s) or authorities know their plan. My primary concern is your
Being heard, seen, valued, and accepted…
We’ll talk about what has brought your teen in for counseling. As we work together, it may be revealed that the reason they’re here isn’t the root issue at play. Your teen’s slipping grades is a symptom of something else that may be going on. Together, we will figure it out and address it to get your teen back on track.
We’ll look back together to see where they came from and how it’s influencing their present, and then we’ll move forward together, mapping out who they want to be (not what someone else thinks they should be).
We’ll talk about their hopes, dreams, and where they want to be in life, now and in the future.
Discovering what your teen was created to do in life…
“Who am I?” is a question I want to help them avoid – that is, I don’t want them to have to fumble around and try to figure that out on their own. Our counseling sessions will hone in on exactly who they are and what they were created to do in life. For many of us, teens especially, we get a sense of self from the media. And that changes ALL the time! It can be crazy-making trying to figure out just who they are when the standard keeps changing.
In our work together, we will go to the source that NEVER changes: the Bible. I will help your teen get into the discipline of searching God’s Word and discover what it says about them. And when they do, I will encourage them to commit the scripture verse to memory because, inevitably, that little voice that keeps telling them they’re nothing will be whispering in their ears. When they KNOW what God says about them, that voice will be silenced.
Counseling will provide them with a clear path to where they want to go in life – no more walking around in the dark, bumping into walls. In my work with your teen and with your involvement, we will discuss their talents and what they’re truly passionate about. They may not know, so we will need to be creative in this discovery process. That means you, the parent, will need to be observant. What sort of activities ignites your teen? Put another way, what gets them out of bed in the morning (for most, it may not be school!).
Once we have come through this discovery process, we will collaborate on turning something that may be a passion into a viable vocation. We may not get it the first time out, but that’s all part of the journey of discovery. Of course, the Lord will be with us every step of the way. This means we will need to help your teen to hear and listen to His voice.
We’ll discuss goals for our time together… and practical, realistic steps for achieving them. Your teen’s grades may slip because they simply can’t manage their time well to get all their assignments completed and turned in on time. This is where you, the parent, come in. Help them schedule their assignment due dates on a calendar and check-in with them on their progress. If they need help, be available to them. Encourage them along the way as they achieve each step of their goal.
It’s essential to be flexible and trust the process.
I am the counselor, not your teen’s parent, which is why I will need your full cooperation and input in helping your teen. You know your teen better than I do, so I value and welcome your insight.
I will meet with your teen first and spend about 30-45 minutes with them in our sessions. We will check in on how things went for them the week prior and discuss what they would like to work on in the current week. This may be a fresh way of tackling problem areas for your teen, so there may be resistance initially. It could be that they’re used to being told what to do, and now they will be asked to participate and give input in how they can resolve their problems. When they’re older, and on their own, I hope they will look back on the value of learning how to do this.
In the second part of the session, I will meet with you, the parent. I want to hear from you about your teen’s progress, what you think may still be a problem area, and why you believe it is true.
Parents may come into the sessions believing that I will tell them how to raise their teen(s), what they’re doing wrong, and if they’re doing anything right. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m not here to take over your parenting; I’m here to come alongside you and provide you with tools to help your teen long after our counseling relationship has concluded.
Everything that we do in our sessions together may not work the first time out. This is all part of the learning process. Some things may need to be tweaked a bit or completely thrown out. That’s okay!!! Every person is a unique individual. And what may have worked for someone else may not work for you. So we keep going until we get it right. This is the beauty of the process: we get to learn together.
It’s time to get out of the rabbit hole!
If you’re a teen or a parent of a teen, I’m here to listen and help – to help you and your family get healthy in mind, body, and spirit.
No matter why you’re seeking counseling, it starts by reaching out to me. You’ll find me on the other side, waiting for you with care and compassion.
A new day is dawning… you can do this!
Call me to schedule your free 20 minute consultation.