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tee5150ii603 karma

Most common problem I've seen is lack of effective communication between teens and their parents/guardians. The teens have the egocentric behaviors and are reluctant to follow their guardians' rule structure. More detailed example: We've worked a lot with lower socioeconomic-level families and a common recurring theme I've heard involves usually a single-parent household; the caregiver is working several jobs to keep their household afloat and the lights on. Their child gets sucked into the teenage drama of school and social influences and acts out against the guardian in various ways (defiant behaviors in the home, lack of care for school/grades, drug experimentation, etc). The caregivers would feel deeply devastated as they claim to be working long hours in order to support their children in order to provide a better childhood than what they experienced. If that makes sense? In those type of situations there's a lot of 'reality checks' and mindfulness exercises I like to guide the family through. Teens don't like to try and see things through other people's eyes, especially their parents'. It's shocking to find out that some of these teens only communicate with their parents when there is conflict. They don't know how to talk to one another in a caring, emphatic manner and just introducing that to some families begins to yield immediate positive gains in the healing of their relationship. Not always, of course, but it happens when both parties actually want to make permanent changes more often than not.

tee5150ii258 karma

First story I usually share with folks involves the time I was pretty confident a parent was going to physically assault me. I believe this individual was under the influence of alcohol, but nevertheless, I didn't have the answers this parent wanted to hear and this individual stood up directly in front of my desk and grabbed the front lip of the desk top. They then gave me a bonfide death stare as I sat in my chair and slowly rolled it back to give a little more distance between me and this particular individual. I had to verbally deescalate the situation even though I was shaking with adrenaline as my fight-or-flight response kicked in.

tee5150ii164 karma

I'm sorry to hear about your friend. I have dealt with depression/suicide ideation myself in the past and I have definitely seen depression with the teens I've worked with. In the past three years I've probably been directly associated with several dozen teens that display depressive symptoms or have been formally diagnosed with a depression-oriented disorder. The most personal case I worked one involved a teen male that lost his mother to a drug overdose when he was in his early teens. I lost my father unexpectedly when I was 13 (thus the aforementioned depressive thoughts) and felt as if I was dealing with somebody that had very similar thinking patterns as I did when I was trying to sort through things while coping with tragedy. Talking with him brought back memories of my experience and I had to tread carefully as it's not always appropriate for counselors to self-disclose personal issues, in fact, it's almost never appropriate. I went home some nights relating what he shared to my experiences and it kept me up a little later than usual a few times.

tee5150ii161 karma

I started working with the agency as a supervised graduate-level mental health counseling student about three years ago. I did a lot of shadowing at first and eventually worked up to facilitating one-on-one counseling sessions with teens in the residential program, and so forth. After the completion of a semester-long period of what was essentially volunteering I was offered a full-time position. While employed I continued working on my Master's and just graduated earlier this year. Up until I started volunteering with this agency I had very little experience in the field. Since employed, I've held various roles and have done most anything required by staff ranging from unclogging resident toilets to conducting telephonic sexual trauma crisis counseling. It's never the same day twice, and that can be a great or extremely frustrating feature.

tee5150ii142 karma

In the moment in a situation you've described, I would probably appeal to doing everything in your power to convey you think it's a bad idea for them to continue any given behavior without using the literal words. Avoid the definite "negatives": "don't" "shouldn't" "can't" "never"; all those won't help.

Pose a statement like, "Is there any way doing that is going to benefit you in the long run?" "Isn't it worth the time to figure out a better way to handle this?" "I have a suggestion for you on how to handle this without harming your parents if you're open to hearing me out."

Appeal to the fact he or she is ready to combat their frustration and anger they're feeling in that moment. Shine light on the fact if they do something irrational and impulsive now, sure, it could make them feel better, but the residual consequences might create the next dispute.