Teenagers are walking a difficult road: they are working to grow up and mature while changing both physically and emotionally. Because of this, many teens are prone to exaggeration or emotional outbursts. In fact, these behaviors are so typical that they are often seen as cliché, but they don’t mean that the issues teens are experiencing aren’t real.
Due to the long hours that teens spend at school, this setting plays a huge role in a teen’s life. School is where teens usually spend most of their time, including free time due to homework or extracurricular activities. For most teens, school is also where they do most of their socializing, where they meet new friends, and where they explore relationships. It is not surprising, then, that many issues that affecting teen mental health stem from school. Let’s take a look at a few of these issues and how counseling might be able to help and support teens.
While bullying frequently begins before high school, it can often turn to extreme forms during the later years of school. Cyber bulling, mocking, and verbal insults are some of the more frequent forms of bullying that high school students face. While many schools have become more aware of bullying in recent years, it can still go unnoticed or fail to be addressed effectively. Bullying can be a traumatic experience that can negatively affect self-esteem, relationships, and academic achievement.
How Can Counseling Help? Counseling can help to address issues related to self-esteem, encouraging teens to view themselves positively and to regain confidence in their abilities. Counseling can also help teens to work through the trauma in order to reduce its impact. A counselor may also be able to help parents to approach the school to discuss the issue, explore proactive measures, or consider the best course of action to prevent further bullying.
Teens skip school for a myriad of reasons. Some do it because they are bored or frustrated, while others are looking to have fun or to engage in an activity that they find more appealing. Some teens skip school because of bullying or anxiety, and many teens feel that they cannot cope with their problems at school and find skipping to be a better alternative.
How Can Counseling Help? In these situations, counseling can help by working to get to the root of the issue, and by helping the teen to find the support that they need in order to cope with the problems that they are experiencing at school. Counseling can provide additional resources and coping skills that will help the teen to work through issues that he or she encounters, or to learn to strategies that might make school more engaging.
Often, parents are disheartened to find that their teen is struggling with bad grades. While an initial reaction might be to focus on their teens perceived laziness, there may be underlying issues that are contributing to the situation. Depression and anxiety can make it difficult for a teen to focus or remain motivated to do homework or to study for tests. Many teens who struggle with school have undiagnosed learning issues or emotional issues that may also be a contributing factor. Lack of impulse control or self-motivation can lead to difficulty focusing or the need for additional support as well. Often, on-going academic issues will result in a decreased sense of self-efficacy, resulting in teens labeling themselves as “lazy” or “dumb.”
How Can Counseling Help? In these situations, counseling can help to identify the issue that underlies bad grades or poor performance and work to improve the student’s emotional well-being. Counseling can reinforce the teen’s academic self-efficacy and empower them to remain motivated toward success. A counselor might be able to detect academic or learning issues and direct the teen and their family toward professionals who could further support them in this area. A counselor could also help the teen to develop and discover coping skills and strategies for them to become better at managing their stress and time.
Lack of Direction
Many teens experience a general lack of motivation as they are at an age where it is difficult to view their future realistically. Teens are also in the process of self-discovery, which can make it more difficult for them to make decisions about their preferences. Add to this the many choices that exist today regarding careers and academics, and teens experience a significant amount of pressure around decision making for their futures.
How Can Counseling Help? Counseling in these situations can help students to identify vocational paths and offer resources for analyzing potential directions based on what the teen likes to do. Counseling can also help teens to address self-esteem and anxiety issues that may influence career and academic decisions.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues across generations, and it is often significantly experienced by teens. Anxiety can make it difficult to study, make friends, do well on exams, seek opportunities, and participate in a variety of other things that are generally part of a teenager’s life. Anxiety can be severely disruptive and impair a healthy developmental process. Additionally, anxiety can become a chronic issue, so early intervention is often the best approach.
How Can Counseling Help? Counseling can help to reduce anxiety and to promote better coping skills. It can help teens learn relaxation skills, which can prevent anxiety from interfering significantly in their life. Counseling can also help change unhelpful thinking patterns and emotions, which can improve the teenager’s quality of life.
Overall, teenagers deal with a variety of issues. At times, these issues may be dismissed as teenage drama or laziness, while they are cloaking much larger, more significant problems. By intervening and offering your teenager support in the form of counseling, it is possible to positively influence their current situation and promote a healthier, happier as well.