Tag: Teenagers

Strategies for At-Risk Teens A Guide for Parents and Mentors
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Strategies for At-Risk Teens A Guide for Parents and Mentors

As a parent or mentor, assisting at-risk adolescents can be a difficult and complicated endeavor. At-risk adolescents are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as drug or alcohol abuse, or to suffer from mental health issues, such as anxiety or melancholy. However, there are techniques that parents and mentors can use to assist these adolescents in thriving. Here are some suggestions for working with teenagers at risk:

Establish a Relationship on the Foundation of Trust and Respect

As a parent or mentor, one of the most essential things you can do is establish a strong relationship with the at-risk adolescent. This involves establishing a relationship based on mutual trust and esteem. Take the time to get to know the adolescent, to attend to their concerns, and to demonstrate concern. Make an effort to comprehend their position and refrain from passing judgment. When the adolescent feels valued and heard, they are more likely to be receptive to guidance and assistance.

Provide Emotional Support

Teens at risk may struggle to regulate their emotions and require additional emotional support. Encourage the adolescent to express their emotions in a healthy manner, whether through speech, writing, or creative outlets such as art and music. Inform them that it is acceptable to feel sad, furious, or frustrated, and assist them in identifying healthy coping strategies. You can also demonstrate healthy emotional regulation by positively expressing your own emotions.

Promote Healthier Behaviors

Teens at risk may be more likely to engage in risky behaviors, but by providing positive reinforcement, you can encourage healthful behavior. Praise the adolescent for making healthy decisions, such as engaging in physical activity or volunteering, and encourage them to participate in constructive activities, such as sports, music, or community service. Encourage healthful behaviors such as adequate rest, nutritious eating, and abstinence from drugs and alcohol.

Establish Limits and Consequences

It is essential to establish distinct boundaries with at-risk adolescents and communicate the repercussions of violating those boundaries. This helps to establish structure and consistency, which can be reassuring for impulsive adolescents. Define clearly which behaviors are acceptable and which are not, and apply consequences consistently and fairly.

Seek Expert Assistance

Seek professional assistance if you’re struggling to assist an adolescent at risk. A mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor, can offer you and the adolescent additional support and guidance. In addition, they can assist in identifying underlying issues that may be contributing to the adolescent’s risky behavior and offer specialized treatment or interventions.

Supporting at-risk adolescents can be difficult, but it is also extremely rewarding. When you establish a strong relationship with an adolescent at risk and provide them with the necessary support, you can assist them in overcoming obstacles and thriving. Remember to approach situations with patience, empathy, and consistency, and seek professional assistance when necessary. You can positively influence the life of a high-risk adolescent if you employ the appropriate strategies.

Understanding Co-Occurring Disorders in Teenagers and How to Help
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Understanding Co-Occurring Disorders in Teenagers and How to Help

A dual diagnosis is given to a child, adolescent, or adult with a mental health illness and a AUD/SUD. Dual diagnosis patients have co-occurring disorders. Adolescent mental health issues that often co-occur with alcohol and substance use disorders include:

  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • PTSD
  • BPD
  • Misconduct
  • Disobedience
  • Anorexia

Experts believe that 60-75% of adolescents with alcohol or substance use disorders also have mental health disorders. Co-occurring illnesses confront teenagers and mental health professionals for various reasons.

First, mental health and alcohol/substance use illnesses share symptoms. Second, people with co-occurring disorders commonly self-medicate with alcohol and drugs. Finally, alcohol and drug use can worsen mental health condition symptoms, which can lead to increased usage.

Self-Reinforcing Cycles

This creates a cycle of symptom/self-medication/symptom/self-medication that’s hard to stop, and diagnosing co-occurring disorders is difficult because their symptoms can mask those of mental health disorders and vice versa. That’s not the same as above. As mentioned above, alcohol/substance use disorders and mental health issues have similar symptoms and may make each other invisible, causing physicians to miss one while focused on the other.

Clinicians and co-occurring illness patients often struggle to answer the question: which came first, the mental health disorder or the alcohol/substance use disorder? The answer is not always clear. However, with proper treatment and diagnosis, an adolescent with co-occurring AUD/SUD and mental health disorders can overcome both conditions. Treatment and diagnosis will follow.

Integrated Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

Adolescents with co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders struggle to acquire a proper diagnosis. Diagnosing addiction and co-occurring mental health issues takes time for the following reasons.

  1. After abstaining from alcohol or drugs, SUD or AUD symptoms may develop.
  2. Clinicians, adolescent clients, and families must adjust the treatment strategy as mental health condition signs occur.
  3. Clinicians at the treatment center or provider must be trained, experienced, and skilled to treat both conditions.

Dual-diagnosed adolescent parents must understand that treatment works. An integrated therapy paradigm that treats the complete person is the best way to manage co-occurring diseases, according to research.

What Can a Parent Do for the Child?

If you think your kid has both a mental health issue and an addiction problem, have them assessed by a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other mental health expert, especially one who treats addiction and mental health disorders in adolescents. A biopsychosocial profile will give a mental health expert a detailed view of your teen’s issues.

After a comprehensive evaluation, your kid may be recommended for therapy. Outpatient counseling twice a week may be enough. However, dual diagnosis may prevent outpatient therapy from helping your teen heal and move forward.

Your child’s therapist may suggest more extensive treatment. Intense treatment may include:

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)

This treatment goes beyond weekly therapy or drug and alcohol counseling. Programs determine treatment duration and frequency. Teens in intensive outpatient programs live at home, attend school, and receive 3 hours of treatment per week.

Partial-Hospitalization Programs (PHP)

This treatment goes beyond intensive outpatient. Like IOP, program-specific therapy amounts and timing vary. Adolescents attend school part-time and receive daily treatment for four hours. If needed, they live in a sober living facility.

Residential Treatment Centers (RTC)

In residential treatment centers, your child lives at a non-hospital treatment center. Depending on your child’s progress, this rigorous treatment may span 28–120 days. Residential alcohol rehab has many benefits, including full-time alcohol therapy and a drug-free atmosphere. Your child can focus on healing without drinking.

Adolescents with dual co-occurring disorders may benefit from IOP, PHP, and RTC regimens.

Psychiatric Hospitalization

If your teen is suicidal, insane, or needs 24/7 medical supervision due to heavy alcohol consumption, they may need hospitalization. Heavy binge drinking, an increasingly harmful practice among teens and young adults, may require medical monitoring. Medical monitoring may be needed for potentially life-threatening alcohol withdrawal.

These levels of care – excluding psychiatric hospitalization, which prioritizes urgent safety and stability – typically use one or more of the following therapeutic approaches:

  • Personal counseling
  • Counseling groups
  • Counseling families
  • Exercise and mindfulness are experiential
  • Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART Recovery

Your teen’s treatment depends on the center and degree of care.

Supporting Your Child

Supporting and encouraging your adolescent with a dual diagnosis and extensive treatment is crucial. Recovering can affect your relationship with your teen. You can support your teen and ease recuperation by doing these:

  • Communicate
  • Learn their diagnoses
  • Discover mental health and substance use disorders
  • Participate in therapy and recovery
  • Listen actively
  • Keep showing up and being sincere, sympathetic, and kind, and they’ll eventually open up
  • Recover at home. Consider removing alcohol and drugs from your home
  • Family alcohol consumption may affect your teen’s alcohol use disorder
  • Be an example for your teen
  • Be tolerant if your teen relapses. Avoid criticizing or overreacting

Understand that co-occurring disorders are hard to control. Your teen’s troubles don’t indicate a problem. They’re fighting two chronic, recurrent diseases. Be willing to address your personal issues that may cause conflict or stress with your teen or negatively affect your family dynamic.

Unconditional love supports your child during treatment. Open, honest, and direct communication follows compassion and empathy. Dual-diagnosed teens need you. They need your advice, wisdom, and support. They need your unconditional love and support through the ups and downs of rehabilitation. Teens who know their parents support them are more likely to recover.

4 Reasons to Seek a Residential Therapy Program for Your Child
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4 Reasons to Seek a Residential Therapeutic Program for Your Child

For young individuals, adolescence is a stressful and perplexing time. Their bodies start to transform. They experience intense, chaotic emotions, yet they frequently are unable to articulate them effectively. Peer pressure to start drinking or using drugs may increase when peer groups become more significant than ever. It might be time to think about a residential program if your child is displaying symptoms of mental illness or drug usage.

Reasons Your Child Might Need a Residential Program

They Don’t Respond to Parental Instruction

After you’ve criticized their behavior, if your child continues to misbehave, they might need specialist counseling services. Teenagers who act out even after receiving discipline that are frequently effective, like being grounded or losing privileges, are demonstrating that their actions will not change. Such conduct might indicate that conventional punishment is no longer effective. This is particularly true if your child has been persistently detained or suspended from school due to their disruptive behavior or if they have run into legal issues.

A residential program for teenagers is a powerful tool for altering your child’s viewpoint, emphasizing the importance of behavioral consequences, and reinforcing good behavior. If things just appear to be getting worse at home and at school, take this strategy into consideration.

They Are Ignorant of the Effects of Their Actions

Teenagers are known for having poor vision and living in the present. Because of this, it is uncommon for persons who have started abusing alcohol or drugs to fully comprehend the effects of their choices. Even if you repeatedly explain to your child the consequences of their decisions, you might not be able to convince them. They probably care more about being accepted by their peers than the long-term implications of substance addiction on their health.

You should take into account a short-term residential program if your youngster consistently causes problems for the family with no remorse. They will be able to learn everything there is to know about the risks associated with addiction in such a setting. Adolescents are better prepared to make future decisions about substance use thanks to this information.

They Have Difficulty in Other Areas

Abuse of drugs rarely happens by accident. Usually, it’s connected to pressures like peer pressure or emotional upheaval. It could be time to enroll your child in a residential program if they have shown signs of deteriorating mental health, are struggling academically, or have suddenly started hanging out with a new crowd.

By removing your child from their current setting, you can avoid the numerous distractions that could jeopardize their recuperation. They can devote their entire attention to their mental health in a recognized addiction treatment center. Licensed counselors can assist children in changing their perspective, carefully considering the people they want to be around, and placing importance on their academic performance.

You Experience Cynicism or Feel Overwhelmed

Finding out that your child is abusing alcohol and other drugs can be terrifying. You probably feel like you’ve done all possible as a parent to communicate with your children. You could be unsure of what to do next if punishment, enabling, positive reinforcement, or harsher regulations don’t appear to work.

If you recognize this, don’t let it discourage you. Teenage substance misuse is a diagnosable disorder that frequently requires clinical care; it cannot always be treated at home. We advise going to a residential facility for teenagers for primary therapy if your child has resisted all of your attempts to intervene.

Top 6 Indicators Counseling Will Be Beneficial for Your Child
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Top 6 Indicators Counseling Will Be Beneficial for Your Child

You may wonder if your child needs counseling due to personality changes. These alterations can appear suddenly or after a severe event. These changes, regardless of the cause, can help you decide if your child needs counseling. Read on for six indicators your child may need counseling.

Combative Behavior

Behavior issues within and outside the house are a common sign that your child needs counseling. Your child may quarrel, protest, and get defensive at the tiniest request or conversation. If these responses occur regularly, pay attention. Your youngster may be begging for aid without realizing it.

Stay in touch with teachers and other parents at school and other activities. Let them know you’re worried and to let you know if your youngster is acting out.

Unexpected Changes in Interests

Changes in your child’s daily hobbies and behaviors can also indicate that they need counseling. Changes in eating, sleeping, and interests are usually the most noticeable and indicative. If these changes persist after two weeks, consult your child’s doctor. If emotional stressors are the source, they may be able to guide you.

Anxiety and Depression

The most obvious symptom that your child needs treatment is excessive stress and despair. While concern and grief can be acceptable, especially through life transitions and changes, when these emotions become excessive and begin to absorb your child and their thoughts, that is when you should take a closer look.

Regressions in Behavior

A new sibling, divorce, or other big life events in the home might cause regressions. However, when regressions seem unrelated, investigate. Common regressions that suggest your child needs counseling include:

  • Bedwetting
  • Frequent temper tantrums
  • Clinginess and separation anxiety
  • Language regression

Frequent Loneliness

If your child withdraws socially, this may indicate an emotional issue. When depressed or anxious, children often isolate themselves. When this continues to happen on a regular basis, and starts to take away from their interpersonal relationships, that is when it comes time to think that it may be more than just a sad day. This is especially true if shyness and introverted inclinations are not prevalent personality features for your child.

Unsure of child social isolation? Disturbed children socially separate in these ways:

  • Eating lunch alone
  • Avoiding social events
  • Lack of motivation to leave the house

Discussing Self-harm

Finally, if your child expresses thoughts of self-harm, seek help immediately. This can appear softly as hopelessness and loneliness. Sometimes suicidal thoughts and cutting are more obvious.

Suicidal thoughts and cutting may seem excessive for younger children, yet self-harm can be communicated in many ways. Young children self-harm by hitting themselves, bashing their heads, and scratching. Note any self-harming behaviors and get your child aid.

Get Your Child The Help They Deserve

Getting treatment for your child should not be an emotionally draining and lengthy effort. Alpha Connections offers many youth counseling programs. Alpha Connections goes above and beyond by giving mental health treatments tailored to each kid in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

The sooner you pinpoint the symptoms your child needs counseling, the quicker you can get them the care that they need. With the indicators given above, you can be sure that you will know what to look out for when it comes to your child’s mental health and emotional well being.

Getting Your Teen to Volunteer
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Getting Your Teen to Volunteer

Community service is a great way to teach responsibility. Developing a sense of gratitude and empathy for the less fortunate will go a long way in enriching their lives. It may be a challenge convincing them something is good for them, but it is important to instill this value as something they can appreciate and be passionate about.

Developing Their Helping Hand

Start by finding a cause where your teen may show an interest. Consider their abilities, the time commitment needed, and the attitude of the organization. Maybe they are interested in animals, children, sports, health, or senior citizens. Motivate them by explaining the purpose behind the volunteering.

Let them make their choices about who or what they are helping. No one likes to be forced to do something. They need to feel like they are trusted and can be independent. The more trust you put in them, the more responsible they will become to earn it. Do your best to empathize and be understanding with them. This will make them more open to compromise.

Teenagers are not always the best at listening to their parents, but they do see your actions. Walk your talk. If they see you with a passion for helping, they will be inspired to follow your example. Do your best to make it fun and interesting. Try to incorporate games into your learning activities. This works especially well if they are working with kids from poor communities. It can create a bond between your volunteer teens and the kids they are helping.

Be Sure to Offer Positive Feedback

If you want to keep their motivation strong, be sure to let them know they are appreciated. They want to feel noticed and know their efforts are recognized. That will inspire them to work harder. When you tell someone you appreciate what they do, they tend to work even harder.

Give your teen this purpose and let them do the work. Tell them to know you appreciate their efforts and see the hard work and improvement. Watch them grow up, work hard, and reap the benefits of their efforts. Your teen will grow up to be socially aware, confident, competent, and useful members of their society. Hopefully, they can help make a difference and can move on to inspire other young people. It is all worth the effort to help our youth succeed in life.

Fighting With Your Teen
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Fighting With Your Teen

You tell your daughter she cannot borrow the car to drive to the mall until she finishes cleaning her room. She says it is her room, and she will keep it how she wants. From there, the conversation gets ugly with name-calling, yelling, and slamming doors. Now you are receiving the silent treatment from a sullen teenager while you walk on eggshells to keep the peace.

What Happens Now?

Raising teenagers can be a challenge. Your priorities and those of your teenager are completely different. She is worried about being invited to the prom or keeping up with the latest fashion trend. You are worried about getting the power bill paid and making sure she gets a good education. Having one of these arguments is rough, but learning to deal with the aftermath can help.

Your daughter may want a little time to cool off and process. Give her the space she needs to work through her feelings, and do not push her to “be okay” with you right away. There will be tension in the room, but hopefully, you will be able to tolerate it while you both process the argument. Maybe it is you that is causing the tension after building resentment by what your daughter said. Are you frustrated with yourself because you gave in? Are you sad because she hit too close to home? Be sure to examine your feelings to know you are not causing the tension. Do not worry. The tension is temporary and will eventually diffuse itself.

Apologize if you said something hurtful. Take responsibility for it and let your daughter know that you realize your imperfections. Do not apologize for setting boundaries or rules to follow. If she is giving you the silent treatment, just talk to her as you would any other day. If she does not respond, just go about your business.

Use your disagreement as an opportunity to show your daughter by example the best way to manage anger and tension. Let her know you love her even when she is mad at you. Check your feelings, and be sure not to hold a grudge. Most things said in the heat of anger are not worth hanging on to.

Your feelings during this cooling-off period are essential, and so are your daughter’s feelings. Do not discount either. Instead, say something like, “I know you are feeling angry after our fight just like I am. I hope when we are both feeling better, we can talk about it and then move on.” If your daughter feels respected and has the space to process her feelings, the tension will dissipate before you know it.

Do You Smell Alcohol on Her Breath?
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Do You Smell Alcohol on Her Breath?

She must have seen the commercials on television about the pitfalls of teens drinking. But she came home from a friend’s house acting a little wobbly, and you could smell alcohol on her breath. She is too old to spank, so how do you react to this dangerous behavior?

Find Out Why

There could be a variety of reasons why your daughter decided to drink. She was at a party, and that is what all her friends were doing. She was afraid to turn down a drink because her friends would call her names or turn their back on her. If it has become a habit, the problems may go deeper. She may be dealing with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, or stress. It is important to find out the underlying issue.

You can help her by staying calm. Listen to why she is drinking and let her know you understand that she faces pressure and challenges in her life. If she realizes that she can talk to you openly about her feelings, you will be more likely to get the information you need to help. Try to explain the dangers of teen drinking without the lecturing tone of voice. It can make you more depressed or lead to permanently damaged memory. Getting drunk can lead to bad decisions or even legal problems.

Communicate and Learn

Let your daughter know that you want to keep honest communication open, but they do need to learn the consequences of their unwise decision. Do not punish them by humiliating them in any way, or you will ruin that line of communication. Ask her what she feels her punishment should be. You might be surprised by what she produces.

Have your daughter do a research paper on underage drinking. This will help her to learn about the consequences of these actions. It may also be a wonderful way for the family to come together and brainstorm ways to deal with situations in their lives when alcohol might be present, like a slumber party or get-together. This could be a helpful exercise for the whole family.

Catching your teenage daughter drinking can be a serious situation, but with calm patience and effective communication, it is a problem through which you can work. You may even find it brings the family closer.

Is Your Teenage Son Stressed?
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Is Your Teenage Son Stressed?

It is hard to watch sometimes. When your teenage son was little, your son was anxious about dentists, monsters, or being alone in the dark. Now he is still your little boy, but he is also a young man, and his anxiety is much more complicated. When kids become teenagers, their anxiety becomes more internal. They may get moody and irritable. They explode if you mention anything out of place. Do not worry, he will be okay. It is all a part of growing up, and you can help.

Helping Teens Cope

Teen years are a time of change for your child as they head towards adulthood. They are changing emotionally, physically, and socially. They are worried about how they measure up to the world around them, especially their peers. So how can you help?

  • First, get your son to talk. Talking helps to process all the chaos spinning around in his mind, especially when there is someone listening.

When he talks, he can sort through his feelings about things. When you listen intently, you will be more in tune with any way that you can help. One thing that seems to help is physical activity while you have a conversation. Go for a walk together. The fresh air and gentle rhythm of your steps provide encouragement for the words to come to the surface.

  • Acknowledging his fears and anxiety is essential. What he is anxious about may never happen, but his feelings are still real. Acknowledge his anxiety and let him know you are confident he can manage it. Use warmth and compassion and hope they can use this to develop self-compassion as well.
  • Encourage him to talk positively to himself with little pep talks. Be sure to let him know it is okay to ask for help. Humans are not designed to go through this life alone, and you are always there for them. Reassure him this is something we all go through, and he is not alone. Getting good sleep, eating right, and even meditation will all help guarantee success as well.

If your son continues to have issues for an extended period of time or it begins to interfere with normal life, it may be time to seek the help of professional help from a school counselor or psychologist. The most important tip is to get your teen talking so you can understand the issue, and he can feel like he is understood and that his feelings are important.

What If My Teenager is a Thief
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What If My Teenager is a Thief

You got a beautiful necklace for the holidays, but the next time you decide to wear it, the necklace is not in your jewelry box. Then you hear your daughter was wearing one just like it at school, and you find it in her backpack. Your heart drops, you are disappointed, and you feel betrayed and downright angry. First, count to ten. Get past the emotional response and access the logical side of your brain. Most importantly, remember that this is a behavior, not a personality trait. Now you are ready to help them work through the situation.

Tips to Teaching Amends

It is understandable that you would feel hurt and betrayed when your child steals from you but try not to take the behavior personally. Their stealing is not about you or your parenting skills. Unfortunately, your teen has chosen an inappropriate way to solve their problem, and you can help change their thinking.

  • Do not let them think you see them as a horrible person. It bears repeating, remember this is behavior and not a personality trait. If they sense you have a bad opinion of them now, it could cause them to feel hopeless. They will lose hope in their ability ever to change.
  • Instead, shift the situation to the opposite way of thinking. Good people apologize when they make a mistake, not just because they got caught but because they hurt someone they care about. They also make amends for their behavior. Let your teen know you believe they are a good person, and you know they can do this too.
  • Let your daughter know that just because you want something does not mean it is okay to just take it without asking. This is faulty thinking. Ask her what she should do next time. Never let them benefit from stealing or keep what they took. If she still has the necklace, she should be required to return it with an apology, maybe even a written one, so she must think about the situation. Make sure there are consequences.
  • If she does not have the necklace anymore, she will have to work and earn money to replace it. If she does not have a regular job, then she can work around the house for designated points and be grounded until she has earned enough points to buy her restitution.

She needs to know there are consequences, but if you make amends, you can be forgiven and earn back trust. Your teenager is not a thief, she is a growing human who will make mistakes, and with a bit of patience, you can help her learn from those mistakes and grow into being a caring and loving adult.

Opening Communication with Your Teen
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Opening Communication with Your Teen

Many parents believe that at some point around the time their kids become teenagers, their kids become foreign creatures who act bizarre, dress strangely, and are impossible to communicate with. It is important for parents to have open communication. It is also important for teens to be able to express themselves and be heard. Communication is one of the most powerful tools teens can have in their arsenal. Here are some tips for getting them armed for the future.

Steps to Teaching Effective Communication

Listening is the first and more important key to good communication. We need to encourage them to talk and then listen with interest when they do. Let them finish their thought without interrupting. It is vital that they know we hear them. Teach them to listen as well. Do not just demand they listen. Explain active listening to them and why it is important for them to use in the future.

Teenagers need specifics. When talking about issues, discuss behavior, not personalities traits. Try to be logical and not judgmental. Let them know what they need to be doing, but also let them know why. Knowing the reason for behavior helps them to reason through behaviors in the future. Also, please take this opportunity to teach them skills for communicating with adults. Sometimes they feel we are a little foreign too. Help them understand we are on the same side and want the same things.

When things get a little heated, take a break. Teach your teenager it is okay for them to ask for a break if they are getting a little overwhelmed. Be patient and allow them to gather their thoughts, catch their breath, and process the conversation. Teach them to do this as well and let them know that when speaking to adults, sometimes we are a little slow and need time to process information as well.

Communication is a vital tool, and teaching your teen how to use it correctly will serve them well in their future endeavors. Learn how to talk to your teen with patience and respect and teach them these communication skills as well. It is important to talk calmly, using logic instead of emotion. It is important to listen effectively without interrupting and letting them know you hear them. It is vital to communicate, a good skill for you, and a good skill to teach your teen for the future.