Raising adolescents can be a challenging task in today’s society. Adolescents are introduced to new information and experiences at an alarming rate. Often parents, and their children, feel out of control during this stage of parenting. Having a teenager in the home can have a significant impact on all of the family. As parents, it is often difficult to distinguish between normal and abnormal adolescent behaviors. Teens today face many pressures, between dealing with peer pressure, the pressure to look or dress a certain way, and the need to feel a sense of belonging. The issues that can arise during this time of great transformation include dealing with mood swings, choosing negative peers, problems with communication, impulsivity, and self-discipline. Families of adolescents are often confronted with issues such as rebellion, acting out, experimentation with drugs and sexuality, as well as struggling to keep a cohesive family.
The emotional demands placed on our teens generate obstacles to developing important life skills. Un-treated depression in adolescence can lead to incidence of depression in adulthood, involvement in the criminal justice system, or in some cases, suicide. The most troubling fact is that struggling teens often receive no counseling, therapy, or medical intervention, even though the National Institute of Mental Health reports that studies show treatments of depression in children and adolescents can be effective.
If you are a parent with a teen whose behavior has changed and negative patterns have existed for more than 2 weeks, please contact a local mental health practitioner with expertise in treating children and adolescents to further assess the situation. Depression responds best to therapy and treatment when it is identified early.
Parents are committed to getting their children yearly check-ups for their child’s physical and dental health. In today’s world don’t you think it is time to consider if your adolescent’s emotional, mental, and relational health deserves a yearly “check-up”, too?