RAISING TEENS IS STRESSFUL PERIOD!

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Great show on NPR Morning Edition last week, Want More Stress in Your Life? Try Parenting A Teenager. If you’re feeling stressed and a bit crazy by your teenager, guess what? You’re not alone. The stress of dealing with teenagers is universal. Every parents has it. I raised two children of mine own, not to mention counseled hundreds of teens and parents, so I think it’s safe to say that I know what I’m talking about. When you are dealing with your teenager, there are many things to worry about. The trick is to figure out what is normal worrying – driving, college, dating, social media, etc., and what is more. What I want to focus on here are the normal things that are just part of teenagers growing up.

My advice is to:

  • Educate yourself about the wide varieties of normal teenage behaviors.
  • Take the time to know your child – their strengths, traits and vulnerabilities. Know the environmental stressors that affect them, and know the signs of trouble. Trouble includes substance and alcohol abuse, bullying, overly impulsive behaviors and school problems. Especially, look for deep changes that don’t go away-like sadness, withdrawal, talk of suicide, odd behaviors etc.
  • There’s some great advice also in the interview. Reach out to other parents for support. Don’t be afraid to open up, many of them are going through the same thing. Talk not just about your concerns, but also about the decisions. The other thing is to spend time with your teenager – without the techno world interfering. No cell phone, Facebook or tweeting. Just spend some quality time together. Make sure that you’re also ready to listen. This time is great for learning about what interests, as well as, concerns your teen.

For those of you who have concerns that the behavior is indicative of something more, I have written a number of blogs that specifically address the “more” including drugs, suicide, and many other disorders that are alarming for parents. Please check them out and if you have questions, please email me.

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DISCLAIMER
Information contained in this blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical or psychiatric advice for individual conditions or treatment and does not substitute for a medical or psychiatric examination. A psychiatrist must make a determination about any treatment or prescription. Dr. Paul does not assume any responsibility or risk for the use of any information contained within this blog.