Has a doctor diagnosed your child with ADHD?
Has a teacher mentioned that your child’s binder is disorganized?
Are you frustrated with unnecessary defiance to household ground rules? Are you worried about your child’s lack of self-esteem?
If any of these scenarios sound familiar, I might be able to help.
A former career as a guidance counsellor and teacher at elementary schools and junior highs has given me years of practical, everyday experience with the problems and concerns of parents and adolescents. First off, I understand the last thing most teenagers want to do is talk to a stranger about a problem. Saying that, young clients and I often share a comfortable connection. I like to think it’s due to my sense of humor … along with my keen fashion sense and winning personality (okay, more likely we have a mutual interest in music, movies, art, or sports, but I thought it was worth a shot). Who knows? With any luck they may even want to come back for a second session.
I believe that working successfully with adolescents also requires working with families. Although it’s said that teenagers live in their own world, in reality they’re embedded in a family unit. Understanding and working within that family system is critical. My approach to helping families work better includes:
- Learning how to be warm yet firm in interactions between parents and adolescents
- Letting your child have a voice
- Setting clear boundaries with each other
- Encouraging realistic expectations of your adolescent
- Understanding one another’s needs
- Getting more involved in each other’s activities
- Knowing how and when to ask the right questions
- Allowing for mistakes and learning how to be patient
- Recognizing what is normal adolescent behavior and what isn’t
- Knowing when to ask for additional support and resources