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The Rollercoaster Ride of Adolescence

There is no denying the fact that teenage years are tumultuous, to say the least. It is a time in our lives filled with all kinds of physical, emotional, and psychological changes and developments. We make the transition from finishing our schooling and moving onto college – leaving our comfort zones and making mature and calculated decisions about our future. It is a time to blossom, excel, relish, enjoy, and discover ourselves. However, along with all these milestones of the teenage years is the likelihood of hitting a few hurdles.

In this digital age, when we find every teenager’s face buried in a screen – cellphone, tablet, laptop, you name it – a whole new dimension to the usual teenage issues has come into being. Bullying, which was once an issue occurring in classrooms and school hallways, is now also perpetrated in the form of cyber bullying. Competition, conformity, peer pressure all have online facets to them now. Social media is an ingrained part of our teenagers’ lives, yet it may be having detrimental effects on their wellbeing.

Social media platforms allow for quick, instant communication from behind a screen where it is much easier to verbalize judgmental or mean comments than it is to do so face-to-face. You even have the luxury of being anonymous. A study of national trends of depression among adolescents and young adults published in The Journal Pediatrics found that the prevalence of teens who reported a major depressive episode in the previous 12 months jumped from 8.7% in 2005 to 11.5% in 2014. Ellen Chance, co-president of the Palm Beach School Counselor Association, says they see evidence that technology and online bullying are affecting kids’ mental health as young as fifth grade, particularly girls. These are bright red flags that are warning us that something is wrong and we need to focus more on our teens and their issues.

Teen Therapy

The world our teenagers live in is very complex, with so many variables. Therefore, seeing a psychologist specialized in the field of adolescent and teenage issues can be of benefit if your teen is struggling. According to Adolescent Counselling Services, the most common reasons that teens go to therapy include depression, anxiety, substance abuse issues, behavioral problems, stress, school-related issues such as bullying, trauma, and grief. It is of utmost importance for the parents to keep a close eye on their children to be able to determine the difference between a normal sulky, moody teenager and one who needs professional help.

Therapy sessions will allow your teen to have a space where they can freely talk and express themselves to a professional who is trained to encourage and guide the sessions in a way that will help find solutions. A therapist will share activities and ideas to build the skills a person needs to be able to work towards solving their problems.

Depending on the nature of the problems the teen is facing, the therapist will suggest a type of therapy setting best suited for them. Individual therapy would include one-on-one sessions with the therapist where problematic areas can be identified and talked about with complete confidentiality. Group therapy allows for teens to share and learn from one another about how to cope and deal with their problems with a professional group leader guiding the way. Family therapy allows for the teen and parents, sometimes siblings as well, to be in a safe space where they can voice their concerns usually dealing with family-related issues. Sometimes a combination of therapies is used, like individual and group.

A Couple of Reminders

A first point to remember is that therapy requires a lot of work and commitment. A therapist won’t provide magical solutions and fix all your teen’s problems without there being solid effort and work coming from the teen as well as the parents. The therapy won’t work unless the teen accepts where their problems lie.

Also, it is important to remove the stigma that going to therapy means there is something “wrong” with you or that you are “crazy”. Teens may be reluctant to go see a therapist because they are embarrassed or scared that they will be made fun of if anyone finds out. Explain and help them understand that just as we go to an ear, nose, and throat specialist if we have an ear infection, if we are facing a mental health problem we will go see a specialist in that field. They will treat it just like any other medical problem. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes it is harder for parents to accept that their child needs professional help than it is for the teen themselves, so be sure to first educate yourself to be open-minded and accepting of the fact that therapy isn’t a taboo, it is a healing process that will benefit your child.

The teenage years are challenging – but they should be exciting and fun too. It is up to us as parents to ensure that our kids get the most out of their experiences at this age because it only comes once. Talking to them, paying attention to their lifestyle, and being there for them in every way possible (this includes acceptance and forgiveness when they falter) will help foster a healthy relationship with your teen so that you will be able to help them through their struggles.



Hurley, K. (2018). Is social media messing with your teen’s mental health? Retrieved from

Schrobsdorff, S. (2016). There’s a startling increase in major depression among teens in the U.S. Time Health. Retrieved from

Morin, A. (2017). Top 10 reasons teens go for therapy. Adolescent Counseling Services. Retrieved from