Teenage years are among the most challenging phases for both teens and their parents. Teens usually start to face a lot of new pressures and can sometimes react in unhealthy ways when they encounter a problem. Teens may need counseling in order to cope with this problem and take the right approach to solve them. Parents must know the signs and always be on the lookout for these signs so that they can take the right steps and find the right counselor for their teenage children.
Some struggles teenagers face are a normal part of growing up, like experimenting with new ideas, dealing with peer groups, and going through changes in identity, interests, and moods. It is always important for parents and guardians to exercise a great deal of patience when dealing with them to help them open up and express the problems they are facing.
Lend Your Ears
Sharing some words of wisdom may not always work. If teenagers are seeking some counseling, it means they want to be heard by someone. So, most importantly a counselor must lend an ear to the patient and allow them to talk and express themselves in the best way they can. The very feeling of being heard and understood by someone gives them a sense of satisfaction. Don’t attempt to share your opinion without listening to them first.
Do Not Judge
While counseling teenagers, one must not be judgmental. Teens tend to cocoon themselves into their own world of thoughts and beliefs that can sometimes be different from reality and are probably not comfortable enough to share their ideologies with all. When you get a chance, allow them to open up, without being judgmental in any way. Any inclination of being judged by someone would lead them in shutting down again.
Relate to Situation
Every individual is different and so is every case study. Hence, as a counselor, it may not be wise to tag each case with prior experience. That may rather jeopardize the process. However, whether you do or not, it is always a good practice to say that you can almost relate to the teenagers’ specific problems as you might have gone through a similar situation once. Some of them may wish to know more about that situation and want to put themselves into it. In case they don’t show any interest in knowing your story do not talk about it.
Dig into the Psyche
Try to gauge the mental state of the young ones within the first few sessions. You should be able to understand the nature of the situation, as in whether it is dramatic or serious or casual, etc. Generally, the psyche of teenagers is grey – a mixture of black and white. Understanding the right aptitude helps is rendering the right professional help.
When faced with a problem, teenagers tend to grow their own conceptions about the consequences. Hence, rather than offering a solution, it is good to try to pacify them by asking questions like, is it so bad? Do you think it will always be like this? Such questions help teens to figure out probable solutions all by themselves.
While dealing with teens, one must keep in mind that they seek respect and that should be given in abundance to them in every way. It is very important to read their likes, dislikes, preferences, and aptitude. Once you know these fully well, you will be able to make them realise their abilities, guide them towards a positive frontline of activities, make them shoulder responsibilities, and lead a disciplined life. Learn how they perceive their family conditions, background, and surrounding. Having said all, just remember, counseling doesn’t mean teaching. It’s just a way of helping or guiding teens in the right direction.