How To Help Your Teenager Who Has Emotional Problems

At the time your child was born, you probably never imagined the hardships that were ahead. All you did was hold a tiny of bundle of love and the world was great. Now you have a teenager who has problems that you believe are greater than they should be. If that's the case, here are some thoughts that might lead to important action on your part.

Assess The Situation Without Emotion - This might be one of the most important parts of your journey to get help. Perhaps you have been in denial, telling yourself that your child's problems are simply due to the difficulty of growing up. Maybe you've thought that the problems would just go away. You might have even thought that praying very hard would bring miracles. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Have my child's grades gone down at school?
  • Has he or she become negligent in personal hygiene?
  • Does my child hang around with a new set of friends that worry me?
  • Has her or his behavior toward other family members changed for the worse?
  • Has my child become a hermit?

Obtain A Professional Assessment - If the questions you asked yourself have led you to realize that professional help is needed, you can take the next step.

  • Find a counselor that specializes in children and adolescents.
  • Be sure that your insurance will cover at least part of the expenses.
  • Before you bring your child to the counselor, make an appointment where you can speak freely.
  • Be frank with your child, explaining that your concern comes from the deep love you have for him or for her.
  • Be firm. Your teenager might resist, but persevere until you succeed in connecting him or her to professional help.

What You Can Expect - The meetings between your child and the counselor probably won't be what you've seen in movies or on TV. 

  • Instead of reclining on a couch, the counselor will sit face-to-face with your child, reading expressions and even body language.
  • The counselor will learn the techniques that will work best with your teenager.
  • Games may even be played that will lead to trust and open discussions.
  • The counselor will probably do testing to determine the seriousness of the situation. 
  • When warranted, your child might also be seen by a psychiatrist.

Time With The Psychiatrist - If your child does connect with a psychiatrist because of testing results or simply because the counselor warrants it, this could be a very good thing.

  • For example, if it is determined that your child is going through serious depression, the psychiatrist will most likely prescribe medication.
  • In almost all cases, the psychiatrist and the counselor will work together to bring your child to a healthier place in his or her emotional life.
  • Trust the psychiatrist, as he or she has experience and the training needed to detect serious problems that medicine would help.
  • However, don't ever hesitate to question side effects that might occur.
  • It's a good idea to write down concerns or questions even before you meet the psychiatrist for each visit.

It would be very wise to keep a journal of your child's progress. Bring the journal to both the counselor and the psychiatrist so you can refer to it, if needed. Contact a company like Northern Virginia Psychiatric Group PC to learn more.