Big changes in teen years – Does my kid need to see a therapist?
By Dr. Rosana Marzullo-Dove
Posted on 8/1/2023
Have you been noticing your teen being:
– Being on your face
– Retrieved to their room
– Hard to communicate with (They don’t want to talk about what’s going on).
Well, there’s a good explanation (and a solution) for this situation.
First of all, let’s talk about brain and independence development.
At around age 14, ALL human brain goes through a process called pruning; which is a way the brain “cleans up” unused neurons/pathways, to give space to what’s coming: High school/ college/ adulting time. At that age, and forward for a couple of years, your teen’s brain will be less capable than you think.
Have you ever heard a parent saying to their teen: “How you cannot understand it?– Are you stupid?” or “You did not think of the consequences?” – Well, in reality, they may have not been equipped with a good functioning brain at that time to process their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Second, that is the age teens start to develop independency – when they start to believe they have all the answers, they are “mature enough” to make decisions, and they definitely don’t need their parents to tell them what to do.
In their daily schedule, teens could be impacted emotionally at home, at school, or at their outings. For example, a minor argument with their parent can make the whole day go sour. They might take offense when a colleague is passive-aggressive with a comment or bullying them, or they feel rejected when they are not invited to friends’ tables or weekend plans. They might not be feeling smart when the teacher calls on them or correct them.
In fact, teens believe that their negative feelings will stick around forever. They have a hard time interpreting feedback and have no self-soothing tools.
All this emotional turmoil can be also expressed through their behaviors and may be interfering with their sports and academics.
SOLUTION: They need to learn techniques to navigate the highs and lows of life. These techniques can be learned and practiced in psychotherapy.
If you notice your teen having a hard time with this life transition, please consult us at Tampa Therapy and Wellness (813) 530-5180 and our therapists will help them with proven techniques/skills to navigate their teen years.