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How to Deal With a Teen That Feels Abandoned

by Ireland Wolfe, studioD

Abandonment issues often arise from repeated childhood loss. When children feel abandoned, they may develop feelings of shame and poor self-esteem. Many different situations can cause your teenager to feel abandoned. It can be actual physical abandonment by a parent through divorce or death or it can be a subtler loss. If a child does not feel safe, he may develop abandonment issues. Because children completely depend on their caretakers, they are very sensitive to any real or perceived abandonment.

Allow your teenager to express his feelings. Give him space to vent without offering judgment or solutions or minimizing his feelings. If your adolescent is uncomfortable with talking, encourage other forms of self-expression such as art, writing in a journal or making music.

Show love and affection consistently. Reliable affection can help your teenager feel more secure and alleviate abandonment fears.

Praise your teenager for specific accomplishments to help build her self-esteem. Encourage her to try new things and congratulate her when she does. This helps her feel better about herself.

Encourage your adolescent to develop bonds with other trusting adults, especially if the feelings of abandonment have to do with an absent parent. Try a mentoring program in your community or through your church.

Develop a consistent routine and schedule for your teenager. Tell your child when you will be home or where you are going. Call if you are going to be late. These small considerations can help your teenager feel more safe and secure.

Provide a good example for your teenager. Set healthy boundaries with family members and friends. Even more importantly -- emulate these traits for your teen.


  • Consult a mental health professional in your area for more support. Your teenager may be more willing to share his feelings with a professional counselor.


  • If your teenager expresses any suicidal thoughts, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.


About the Author

Ireland Wolfe has been writing professionally since 2009, contributing to Toonari Post, Africana Online and Winzer Insurance. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in psychology and Master of Arts in mental health counseling. She is also a licensed mental health counselor, registered nutritionist and yoga teacher.

Photo Credits

  • Jetta Productions/Lifesize/Getty Images