With an ongoing worldwide pandemic, online schooling, hormones, and well, LIFE, your teen may be feeling out of sorts.
But when is this normal teenage behavior she’ll grow out of, and when is therapy a necessary choice?
Check out below these five signs your child needs therapy:
Signal #1: She can’t stop her anxiety
You know when your kiddo is anxious, and that isn’t necessarily abnormal. But when your teen is chronically anxious, life can be miserable. How do you know when the anxiety needs professional help?
- She seems restless or on edge
- Has difficulty concentrating on her school work
- Seems more irritable than usual
- Has difficulty sleeping or is not getting enough sleep
These are signs that her anxiety has reached a level where talking with a therapist can help.
Signal #2: She lashes out at you
Irritability and anger is a form of communication. So if you teen is depressed there can be some benefits to a child who yells at you (as opposed to one who isolates, shuts down, and won’t talk).
So two questions to ask yourself when your teen lashes out and you’re unsure how to respond: “What is she trying to tell me? What is it my daughter needs me to know?” Maybe she feels a lack of control in her life, or feels frustrated and has no confidence in herself. When you start listening to her, the answer may surprise you. It’s often at this point you start to scratch the surface and see that there may be more behind the anger than simply attitude.
If her lashing out is occurring more often than out, she has difficulty controlling herself, or you struggle with helping her to calm down, therapy is a helpful choice to diffuse the situation.
Signal #3: She self-harms or has thoughts of suicide
Self-harming and suicidal thoughts are immediate signs your child needs professional help.
If you suspect your child is thinking of hurting herself, or has verbalized it, or you have seen evidence of it this requires immediate professional help. Call 911, got to the nearest emergency, or call 800-273-8255 (Suicide hotline number) for help.
Signal #4: She Isolates from Friends and Family
Right now teens more than ever are holed away in their room because of all the online obligations. But you know your kiddo, and you know when it seems more than normal. Is she not able to get out on walks? Not watching movies with the family? Refusing to talk about her feelings? These are all signs of isolating and could be signs your teen needs help therapeutic help to sort through challenges in her life.
Signal #5: She asks to talk to someone
Sometimes you don’t see what’s under the surface, but your child does. That’s no reflection on you as a parent. Your daughter may feel like she may be a burden to you, or disappoint you. She may just find it easier to communicate with a therapist who is not immediately involved.
Bottom Line: Covid-19 and uncertainty in the world can contribute to anxiety, depression, and other mood disorder symptoms. If your child continues to struggle with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.
Jenmarie Eadie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who is passionate about helping teens to become less stressed by giving them and their parents tools, support and encouragement. She received her Master’s in Social Work from Arizona State with a dual concentration in Children, Youth, and Families; and Behavioral Health. Her proudest accomplishment is following her dream of opening up a practice that is designed to focus on the whole family. She currently serves families in Southern California.