Children and Adolescents

All children will experience the normal stressors associated with healthy growth and development. When a child has a mental health disorder these stressors are more challenging. Mental health issues can be exacerbated as children enter adolescence. It is common for mood and conduct disorders to emerge at this time.

Per the Center for Disease Control 2019 report, increasing rates of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse in teens reflect a mental health crisis. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for adolescents. Various factors influence these trends. Prevention with the use of evidence-based practices is the best defense.

Children need support and guidance that is individualized to their unique strengths and weaknesses. Early intervention can improve treatment outcomes and reduce the persistence of issues into adulthood. Counseling fosters a child’s natural resiliency through the development of a positive self-image. Children will learn new tools for effectively managing stress and overcoming challenges.

Bullying and Cyberbullying
In Florida, 67% of students report being bullied. If your child has been bullied, you may be concerned with the impact it’s had on them. Being bullied online, at school, or elsewhere can lead to anxiety, depression, traumatic stress, stomach-aches, decreased academic achievement, absenteeism, substance abuse, and self-harm.

Therapy can help provide your child with support and helpful tools for managing bullying effectively, resolving associated distress, and rebuilding self-esteem. Bullying is never about the target and is always about the bully. Bullies put others down to feel better about themselves. Of course this doesn’t lessen the hurt felt by the child who is bullied. In counseling, children explore coping strategies, decision making, self-advocacy, social skills, and increase self-esteem.

Visit stop bullying.gov to find state laws, policies, and resources for kids and parents.

The Cybersmile Foundation has a 24/7 helpline for bullying and cyberbullying.

Social Media and Screen Time
It’s a difficult time to be an adolescent. On top of the usual academic and social stressors of high school, the emergence of smart phones, social media, and selfies have created an entirely new platform for competitiveness, bullying, and negative self-appraisal. Every generation has experienced these difficulties to some extent, but the kind of connectedness today’s teens are experiencing is unique. While their knack for filming, editing, and cyber communicating is relevant and enviable, they face unique pressures and require a specific skill set to overcome challenges.

Is The Screen Addictive?
Technology can foster educational, creative, and innovative drives through various programs and applications. It can also be disruptive and addictive. While social media use has been linked with increased anxiety and depression, regulated and moderated internet use is a salient part of healthy development.

Self discipline and impulse control is something all children need to work toward as they begin deciding between what they want now, and what they want most. It may be discovered that behind the screen lies the real issue: your teen may need help with anxiety, coping skills, time management, communication, impulse control, or self-efficacy.

In counseling, teens can get the help they need to grow into a healthy and thriving young adult.