From disagreements over responsibility to friends, schoolwork, technology and family time, teens can sometimes feel the pressure of parent problems. Whether it's that your teen needs a listening ear or you know a teen who has serious problems with his parents, avenues exist for teens to get help and support. Even as a loving parent, you can recognize the need for your teen to reach out, find support and feel understood -- even if it's by someone other than yourself.
If your teen needs someone to talk to, suggest a mentor for her. Mentors can be found through local resources, charities and school systems who can act as a listening ear for your teen and sometimes, arbitration between you and your teen when you're having a serious problem. A mentor works because she's an uninvolved third party, which means your teen might feel more comfortable talking it out. The National Mentoring Partnership notes that teens spend about 40 percent of their time outside of the home; mentoring can help your teen find a safe and secure place to go.
Teens suffering from parental issues such as abuse or parental substance shouldn't be left to fend for themselves. Even if the parent can't connect with a teen, hot lines and support groups can act as a listening ear for a struggling teen. For instance, teens can text Teen Line by sending "TEEN" to 839863 for help via text -- standard messaging rates apply, call the Boys Town Hotline at 1-800-448-3000 or seek out online support forums to talk about their parent issues. Help is available if your teen or a teen you know needs someone to talk to.
Teen parent issues could simply be a symptom of a deeper problem, such as a lack of communication or even teen depression. If you think your teen or a teen you know needs more than just someone to talk to and could benefit from a mental health worker, ask your family doctor for a referral. Spending time in therapy as individuals and together as a family can help you discover your true issues and remedy them through communication and expressions of caring.
Sometimes, the best help for teens with parent issues are the parents themselves. If you and your teen aren't getting along, don't give up: A study published in a 2012 issue of the "Journal of Adolescent Health" found that teens who had involved parents were less likely to engage or be affected by problem behavior during those crucial teen years. The best way to help your teen is to talk, but more importantly, listen. You might learn a thing or two to help repair your relationship and work on something healthier and more satisfying for both of you.
- National Mentoring Partnership: The Value of Mentoring
- KidsHealth.org: A Parent's Guide to Surviving the Teen Years
- Boys Town: Help At The End Of The Line
- Journal of Adolescent Health; Engaging Parents in the Family Check-Up in Middle School: Longitudinal Effects on Family Conflict and Problem Behavior Through the High School Transition; Mark J. Van Ryzin, et al.; January 2012
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