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    Navigating Adolescence: Does Your Child Need Counseling?

    Adolescence can be a very challenging time in a person’s life, consisting of rapid physical, emotional, and cognitive changes. As parents, staying in tune with your child’s changes and providing them with the support they need is important. Specific challenges, issues, and behaviors may call for more extensive help and parental support. Recognizing the signs your child may need to see a counselor is essential. Here are 10 questions you might consider asking yourself when wondering if your adolescent child needs counseling:

    Adolescent sad standing in rain#1 Behavioral Changes: Have you noticed significant changes in your child’s behavior, such as sudden aggression, withdrawal, or extreme mood swings?

    #2 Academic Performance: Is there a noticeable decline in their school performance or a lack of interest in academics?

    #3 Peer Relationships: Are they having difficulty forming or maintaining healthy friendships?

    #4 Family Dynamics: Has there been a recent major change in your family dynamics, such as divorce, loss of a loved one, or relocation?

    #5 Emotional Expression: Does your child have trouble expressing their emotions, or do they often seem overwhelmed by their feelings?

    #6 Physical Symptoms: Are there unexplained physical symptoms like headaches, stomachaches, or sleep disturbances?

    #7 Substance Use: Are there signs of substance abuse or experimentation with drugs or alcohol?

    #8 Traumatic Experiences: Has your child experienced a traumatic event, like bullying, abuse, or a natural disaster?

    #9 Self-Harm or Suicidal Thoughts: Have they engaged in self-harming behaviors or expressed thoughts of self-harm or suicide?

    #10 Communication: Are you finding it difficult to communicate with your child, or do they seem unwilling to open up to you about their thoughts and feelings?

    Asking yourself these questions will help you recognize whether your teenager needs help. By paying attention to your teen’s behavior, mood, and ability to cope, you can ideally intervene early and get them resources to help them handle their struggles. Counseling is a proactive step to assist your teen during this critical stage of their life.

    Making the Decision

    parenting takes an emotional tollEmotionally, as a parent, the decision to have your child seen by a professional therapist can be both challenging and relieving. Here’s a closer look at the emotional toll and the sense of relief you might experience throughout this journey:

    Emotional Toll:

    • Initial Concern: At the outset, you might experience a sense of worry or even guilt. It’s natural to question if you could have done something differently as a parent to prevent your child from needing therapy. These feelings can be emotionally draining.
    • Stigma: There might be a sense of societal stigma or shame associated with seeking therapy, especially when it concerns your child. You might grapple with concerns about how others will perceive your family’s situation.
    • Fear of the Unknown: Embarking on this path might also trigger anxiety about what the therapy process entails. You may worry about how your child will react or if they’ll be comfortable opening up to a therapist.
    • Reservations: It’s common to feel uncertain about whether therapy will be effective and if it’s the right choice for your child. These reservations can lead to moments of self-doubt and emotional turmoil.


    • Validation of Concerns: Once your child begins therapy, you might find a sense of validation in the therapist’s assessment and recommendations. This can offer relief as you realize that your concerns were justified and that you’re taking proactive steps to address them.
    • Professional Guidance: Having a trained therapist work with your adolescent can be a source of great comfort. You’ll gain confidence in knowing that your child is receiving expert guidance to navigate their emotional and behavioral challenges.
    • Open Communication: Therapy often opens up channels of communication that may have been blocked or strained. As your child begins to express themselves more freely, you’ll likely experience relief knowing that they’re sharing their thoughts and feelings with a professional who can help them.
    • Progress and Improvement: Witnessing your child’s progress and improvement over time can be immensely gratifying. As they develop coping skills, manage their emotions better, and make positive changes, you’ll feel a profound sense of relief and hope for their future.
    • Emotional Support for Yourself: Therapy isn’t just for your child; it can also provide emotional support and guidance for you as a parent. You can learn valuable strategies to better understand and support your adolescent, alleviating some of the emotional burden you may have carried.

    In the end, the emotional toll and relief of having your adolescent child seen by a professional therapist are often intertwined. While the decision to seek therapy can be emotionally challenging, your child’s positive outcomes and well-being can ultimately provide a profound sense of relief and peace, knowing that you’re doing everything in your power to help them thrive.

    New Heights Counseling: Bridging Understanding and Support for Families

    At New Heights Counseling, our professional therapists understand the complex dynamics that arise when an adolescent child faces emotional or behavioral challenges. We recognize that these difficulties impact the child and take an emotional toll on parents and the entire family. Our mission is to bridge this gap by providing empathetic, informed, holistic support throughout the therapeutic process.

    Understanding the Adolescent Experience:

    Our therapists are well-versed in the unique struggles that adolescents often encounter. We comprehend that profound changes, including physical, emotional, and social transformations, mark this phase of life. Adolescents may grapple with issues such as identity development, peer pressure, academic stress, and the complexities of navigating family relationships.

    By acknowledging these challenges, our therapists create a safe and non-judgmental space where your child can freely express their thoughts and emotions. We use evidence-based therapeutic techniques to help adolescents build resilience, develop coping strategies, and gain the confidence to overcome obstacles.

    Empathizing with Parents:

    We also recognize the emotional turmoil that parents experience when their child is going through a difficult time. The feelings of worry, guilt, and frustration can be overwhelming. Many parents question their parenting abilities and feel the weight of responsibility for their child’s well-being.

    At New Heights Counseling, we want parents to know they are not alone. Our therapists are here to offer support, guidance, and a listening ear. We work collaboratively with parents to address their concerns and provide insight into practical ways to support their child’s emotional growth. Involving parents in the therapeutic process is crucial for creating a nurturing and stable home environment.

    Comprehensive Support for Families:

    Mom and daughter laughing togetherOur approach is family-centered, recognizing that the well-being of the adolescent is closely intertwined with the family’s dynamics. We aim to strengthen family bonds, improve communication, and create a supportive network that fosters growth and healing for everyone involved.

    Whether your child struggles with anxiety, depression, substance abuse, or any other emotional challenge, our therapists are equipped to provide tailored interventions and treatment plans. We emphasize a collaborative approach that involves parents, caregivers, and, when appropriate, the adolescent’s school or other relevant parties.

    At New Heights Counseling, we understand that the journey to healing and growth can be challenging, but we are here to help you navigate it. Our therapists are committed to providing compassionate, effective, evidence-based counseling services that lead to positive outcomes for your child and your family. We can reach new heights of understanding, resilience, and well-being together.

    To schedule an appointment with a New Heights Counseling therapist, please reach out to us today. You can call us at (850) 757-1552, and our friendly staff will assist you in finding the right therapist for your child’s needs. Alternatively, you can send us an email at Contact New Heights Counseling, and we will promptly respond to your inquiry.

    Appointment Schedule (Last appointment – 4 PM)

    Person scheduling new heights counseling session on iPadSunday Closed

    Monday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

    Tuesday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

    Wednesday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

    Thursday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

    Friday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

    Evenings/Weekends by Appointment

    Additional Resources:

    About the Author:

    Hillary Marshall, New Heights CounselorHillary Marshall is a PRE-LICENSED Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern and passionate about helping others. She has experience working with adults, children, and couples. She is Level 2 trauma trained in EMDR and works with clients who are impacted by the decision of Roe v. Wade. Hillary approaches each client with compassion and empathy, She is dedicated to her clients’ care and services in Fort Walton Beach, CrestviewNicevilleDestin, and surrounding communities. Hear from Hillary at Watch Video and book an appointment with Hillary Here!