The teen years are challenging years at any given time. Being a teen in today's world has unique challenges. Unless these challenges are addressed and resolved in the teen years, they have the tendency to follow our teens into their young adult years.
Those teens who participate in teen therapy and family therapy and address the challenges at that age tend to be more successful in transitioning into the young adult years. Those teens who put this off will at some point need to address the challenges. Addressing the challenges during the teen years is less complicated during the young adult years.
Unique Challenges of Today's Teens and Young Adults
The unique challenges teens and young adults face today have been studied and researched. As an adult looking back at the challenges I faced as a teen, I don't envy the teens of today. My challenges followed me into my young adult years which made for that transition a bumpy ride.
It wasn't necessary that I address those challenges as a young adult. Had teen counseling and family therapy not had the stigma it did back then, maybe my transition would have been more successful, happy, and just that much smoother.
Some unique challenges teens face today are:
Increase in Teen Depression
Teen depression has increased 59% since 2007. Teen girls are the hardest hit with 20% of teenage girls – or nearly 2.4 million – experiencing at least one major depressive episode in the last year. Teen boys come in at 7% reporting at least one major depressive episode during the last year.
Increase in Teen Anxiety
Based on finding from the National Institutes of Health, nearly 30% of all adolescents ages 13 to 18 will experience an anxiety disorder. We have seen an increase in teen anxiety disorders from 2007 to 2012 with an increase of 20%.
Increase in Teen Suicides
In 2018, the National Institute of Mental Health found that suicide was the 2nd leading cause of death among the ages of 10-24.
Teen Stress Rivals That of Adults
The American Psychological Association conducted a survey on stress among teens and adults. The survey found that teens today report experiencing as much stress as their adult counterparts. experiencing. Yet when school is in session, teens today are reporting experiencing higher stress levels than adults report.
Teens and Social Media
From healthychildren.org, almost 75% of teens own a smartphone. Twenty-five percent (25%) would describe themselves as 'constantly connected' to the internet. Seventy-six percent (76%) use as least one social media site. More than 70% report using multiple social media sites. And 80% of families report owning an Xbox, PlayStation, Wii or other platforms that can play video games.
Some of the problems that we are seeing increase which are directly related or influenced by internet or gaming activity are:
Impact on school performance
Exposure to substance abuse, self-harm, eating disorder behavior, etc.
Exposure to online predators
Teens and the Pandemic
The increase in mental health problems were on the rise before the pandemic hit. Since the pandemic, those teens struggling with depression, anxiety, panic attacks, ADHD/ADD, trauma, PTSD, substance abuse or other challenges saw an exponential increase in the impact of these struggles.
Teens Transitioning to Young Adulthood
The challenges that teens face today are many fold. If these challenges are not addressed during adolescence, they will very likely follow the teen into their young adult years.
The difference between teens and young adults mainly revolves around independence and responsibility:
Teens are very much still reliant on their parents.
Teens are starting to test out independence and while doing so, unconsciously resent the need to be dependent on their parents. This is part of what creates the irritability that teens are notoriously known for.
The teen's responsibility is to attend school, study, get good grades, maybe a part time job, and enjoy their social life.
Young adults are less and less reliant on parents and expected to 'pull their weight'.
Young adults are both excited and nervous about the independence they so wanted as a teen.
Young adults are to attend college away from home. This demands that they are solely responsibility for remaining organized, structured, focused, motivated, etc. with little outside influence.
Young adults are expected to decide what profession they want. Who will I be when I grow up is staring them in the face.
Problems young adults encounter are now largely theirs to resolve with some help from parents
The expenses of college, room and board, leisure activities now become real. As a teen, this reality had not set in as many if not all of life's needs were taken care of by parents.
As a young adult, they are being weened off the parents support and cutting the umbilical cord on their journey towards adulthood.
The Time to Act is Now:
Teen Therapy, Family Counseling & Counseling for Young Adults
Parents have much more influence to help their teens before they turn 18. As a teen, the demands of young adult responsibility have not hit.
Resolving complex emotional or behavioral challenges is much 'easier' to do when school, study, sleep, eat, and play are life's main responsibilities. Depending on how early you start, the teen will have plenty of time to learn to resolve or manage the emotional or behavioral challenges.
Parents will also be readily available to watch over and support the teen. They still live at home which gives the parents greater opportunities to support them. Learning to resolve or manage emotional or behavioral challenges is much easier when parents are there for support.
Once a teen is off to college and they carry with them depression, anxiety, panic attacks, ADHD/ADD, or other difficulties, resolving or learning to manage them becomes more challenging.
Teen therapy can help your teen learn to resolve or manage complex emotional or behavioral challenges. In teen therapy, the teen and the therapist will explore the underpinnings of what has created the challenge.
Once the underpinnings and drivers have been identified, the teen and the therapist will explore what the teen has done already that has been helpful. Then, the teen and the therapist will identify other strategies and approaches that help the teen resolve or learn to manage the challenges.
The teen therapist will update the parents regularly. Reports on progress made, coping skills, or other approaches taken will be relayed so that the parents can help the teen between sessions.
While a lot of valuable work in teen therapy is made, the growth and progress comes from the teen using what is practiced in therapy between sessions.
While the above may be an oversimplification of the teen therapy process, it gives you an idea of an overall approach to teen therapy.
Family counseling is a vital part of the teen therapy process. Our teen therapists specialize in teen therapy and counseling young adults. We also specialize in family therapy. The combination of both is where long term success is had.
While we often meet first in individual teen therapy and young adult counseling, we will end up finishing out the therapy process in family therapy. In family therapy is where we work on and improve things like insight, communication, problem solving, and enhancing the teen and parents’ relationship.
It is vitally important that the parents lean the skills and tools that the teen and young adult are learning in teen counseling. This way, parents can help support the use of those skills and tools in the home.
It is also vitally important that before the therapy process concludes that the teen or young adult and parents are able to effectively communicate. Communication involves both sending and receiving.
While this sounds simple, simple isn't always easy. To be able to respectfully and effectively relay information is important. It is also equally important to truly be able to hear the other person and not simply listen.
To hear another is to understand at a deeper level their emotion, perspective, and needs. Once a person feels heard, defenses are lowered, and better communication can be had.
Counseling for Young Adults
Many young adults will put off seeing a young adult therapist due to timing. The transition from teen to young adult can be a stressful time. Young adults and parents of young adults can put off counseling due to 'all that is going on right now'.
There is not a better time to start seeing a young adult therapist. It's only one hour a week. In perspective, that is about 2% of time during a regular, Monday through Friday work week.
This 2% can make all the difference in the rest of the 98% of the time during the week. And this is just counting the regular work week.
If we look at the full 'life' week taking 12 hours each day during the awake hours, it is now only 1% of a young adult’s time during the week. This 1%-2% can provide a young adult struggling with emotional or behavioral challenges a happy, healthy, and successful life.
Sharpening the Saw
Steven Covey illustrated the importance of taking time for self-care and the positive effect it has on one's life. In his book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" he shares a story:
"A man who was walking through a forest when he came across a frustrated lumberjack.
The lumberjack was trying to cut down a tree with and was swearing and cursing as he labored in vain.
“What’s the problem?” The man asked.
“My saw’s blunt and won’t cut the tree properly.” The lumberjack responded.
“Why don’t you just sharpen it?”
“Because then I would have to stop sawing.” Said the lumberjack.
“But if you sharpened your saw, you could cut more efficiently and effectively than before.”
“But I don’t have time to stop!” The lumberjack retorted, getting more frustrated.
The man shook his head and kept on walking, leaving the lumberjack to his pointless frustration.
The 1%-2% is simply taking time to sharpen your saw. Anxiety in young adults has increased as anxiety for teens has increased. Depression in young adults has increased as depression for teens has increased. The complex challenges follow those teens into the young adult years when not addressed during the teen years.
Take the time to meet with a young adult therapist. It's a small investment in time. And what you or parents, your young adult will gain from the investment in resources can pay significant dividends throughout your or your young adult's life.
Katy Teen & Family Counseling:
Teen Therapy, Family Therapy, & Counseling for Young Adults
At Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we specialize in teen therapy, family counseling, and counseling for young adults. We believe that the parents are a vital part of the teen and young adults immediate and long term success.
We combine the insight, understanding, and tools provided in individual therapy with family therapy, the parents can learn what the teen and young adult are learning. In family counseling, we can also help enhance and strengthen relationships by helping parents learn skills and tools to help their teen and young adult.
If you are ready to invest your 1%-2% into your or your young adult's future and start to see a young adult therapist, you can follow these three simple steps:
Contact Katy Teen & Family Counseling
Speak with one of our young adult therapists
Start your journey towards restoring hope, happiness, and connected family relationships
Other Therapy and Counseling Services Offered at Katy Teen & Family Counseling
At our Katy, Tx location of Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we use therapy and counseling approaches that are supported by research. These approaches have been shown to work in the shortest amount of time.
Peak performance (optimal academic brain performance)
Peak performance (optimal athletic brain performance)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR Therapy)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
About the Author
Jason Drake is a Licensed Clinical Worker. He specializes in teen therapy, family counseling, and counseling young adults. He has provided therapy to teens and families since 2003.