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Teens are unique. They are not just big kids. And they are not just little adults. Decades of research has demonstrated that the adolescent brain is actually distinctly different than the brain of a child and the brain of an adult. Between the ages of 10-24, approximately, the adolescent brain goes through significant development, is steeped in hormonal changes and fraught with situational challenges (educational, social, familial, and identity). It is common for teenagers to begin to question, challenge, push back, and at times defy. This can potentially strain the parent-child relationship and it can be hard to know what is ‘normal’ teenage development and what is something to be concerned about.

There is no magic sign to watch for. Teen years are hard. They are hard for parents. They are hard for the family. They are hard for teens. When anyone is experiencing a difficult time talking to someone can be helpful. Going to therapy does not mean there is something “wrong” with you. It is a resource that is design to help where you are, how you are to get where you want to be.

A few signals that therapy may be helpful could be if your teen:

seems to be struggling,

says they are struggling

grades are dropping

engaging in self-harm behaviours

hanging out with a new group of questionable friends

using drugs or alcohol

expressing thoughts of suicide

But, please keep in mind, if you do choose to have your teen attend therapy, working with pre-teens/teenagers is not the same as working with adults or children. Within the first session there will be a frank and clear discussion negotiating an agreement between you, as parents, and your teen and myself, as their therapist, around what information remains private and what information parents wish to know. Understandably, as parents, you want to know what is happening for your child but often, allowing your teen some privacy within their therapy is extremely beneficial and important. Trust is a crucial part of therapy with anyone; but even more so when working with teenagers. You may not get the answers you desire about your teen but you can be assured your teen has access to support, their safety will be the top priority and that you having a strong relationship with your teen is important to me.

Let's start working together!

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