What If Your Teenager Doesn’t Want To Go To Counseling?



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Some teenagers are excited to visit a counselor. They love talking to an impartial adult who can help with their various problems. However, not all teenagers agree with counseling, and persuading a hesitant teenager to go to a counselor feels like a never-ending struggle.

This constant struggle can leave us, parents, wondering, “Do I need to force my teen to see a counselor? Can I bribe my way to him? Or should I surrender to the idea of counseling for him?”

If you are suspicious that your teenager is suffering from a mental health condition, substance use concern, or behavioral problem, then treatment is vital. You can try numerous things to help your teenager get the treatment he needs from a counselor.

Forcing Your Teen To Visit The Counselor

A young adult who is obliged to get counseling help won’t probably be determined to change. Even if he is hauled to their consultations, they won’t likely open up about their concerns – at least not constructively. But it doesn’t mean that you should not make it obligatory for him to go to his consults.

Often, experienced counselors are capable of making a teenager feel more relaxed after several visits. Sometimes, teens that express their hatred for counseling or claim that they are fine without it might begin to open up to a counselor. It may just be that your teenager doesn’t want to admit to you that he actually likes to go to counseling.

Certainly, there may be moments when your young loved one requires help, whether they approve or not. If there is a danger of harming himself or others, do call 911 or bring him to the emergency department. If he is presenting with dangerous behavior, having him treated must be obligatory.

Telling Your Teenager About Counseling

If you believe that your teen can benefit from counseling, the manner you tell him about it is vital. The initial conversation that you are going to have will most likely set the stage for your young adult’s approach towards counseling.

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It’s not unusual for teenagers to be shy about their problems, and this could make it difficult for them to confess that they are struggling. So you mustn’t send him a message that could cause them to feel embarrassed. Please do not suggest that your teenager is insane or not intelligent enough to decide for himself. Rather, tell him why you believe that he can benefit from talking to a seasoned and trusted counselor. Allow your teen to ask questions and hear him out when he expresses his opinions about it.

It can be more engaging to him if you say, “I was wondering if it would be beneficial for you to be talking to someone other than me.” Or you could say, “I don’t know all the answers to your questions, so I was wondering if you would agree that talking to someone professional would work for you.”

If you’ve had some experience with counseling yourself, telling your teenager about it would most probably eliminate the stigma and further normalize the situation.

Discussing It With Your Teenager’s PCP

Whatever your concerns are about your teen, whether it’s depression, anxiety, ADHD, or PTSD, the initial step would be to talk to your teenager’s primary physician, who is very much capable of evaluating his needs and can help assess whether or not he would improve with counseling. If additional management is needed, the physician can pinpoint the proper regimen and professionals for your teen. And though your teen is hesitant to go through these regimens, knowing your options is very important.

Your teen may not welcome your suggestions about how a counselor can help him. Still, they will probably listen to their physician, who he believes can explain how counseling can help and how treating him can manage his symptoms.

What To Do When Your Teenager Declines Counseling

If your young adult does not want to see a counselor, do not worry. Here are some helpful options that might work.

  • Make a written contract with your teenager. If it’s a minor concern that you’re worried about, make a contract with your teen, both agreeing that he attend one or two counseling sessions before he decides whether or not he will continue his visits regularly.
  • Find A Counselor By Yourself Without Your Teenager. Usually, parent training is effective in helping your teen. A counselor is capable of educating you on how to instruct your young adult. If he is aware that you are talking to a counselor about him, he might be curious and interested in telling his side of the story.

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  • Talk To Your Teenager’s Guidance Counselor. Ask the school counselor if there are available services that your teen can have access to. A teenager who is hesitant to consult a qualified professional outside of school might be more comfortable talking with his school counselor.
  • Consider Counseling Online. Occasionally, teenagers who are embarrassed or reluctant to speak with a counselor personally will perhaps benefit from online counseling. Although online counseling is not effective for everyone, you must talk to a counselor or your teen’s doctor about the possible advantages and disadvantages before starting with the sessions.



Disciplining The Defiant Child – Tips From A Counselor



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What are vital points to keep in mind when trying to discipline your child? Counselors often get to talk to frustrated parents who are looking for a magic weapon or a powerful parenting technique that will work effectively and turn their defiant child into the obedient angel that you wish they would become.

The truth is, there is no magic weapon at all – no weapon that will instantly eliminate your child’s defiant problems. However, one crucial point is to keep in mind if you desire a discipline technique to work. The most significant key to productive parenting is regularity or consistency.

Parents who do not consistently perform discipline will have more difficulty and experience more defiance problems in the long run. If you cannot follow through with restraint and regulation, this will convey a message to your child that he can keep in doing what he does even if they get in trouble and nothing unpleasant will happen to him. It makes him feel that it’s totally fine to break your rules.

We are actually sending the same message to our kids when we are not applying consistency in terms of our anticipations and rules. Also, they will have a tough time making sense of the confusing messages that we send them. This form of parenting might result in us parents breaking our own rules more often in the long term. Why? Because the first time your child came home 30 minutes late, nothing happened, as you bent your rules. Perhaps the week after, he’s going to do it again, hoping that you’ll be in the same lenient mood when he comes home. Inconsistency results in drained, devastated parents who do not comprehend why their kid is not the polite, well-bred angel they hoped he would be.

If you are among the parents who are presently raising a defiant child and struggling to manage his manners, family counselors are the best professionals to seek. They aim to work with you to develop a parenting technique that works for your child eventually. They will also discuss various challenges that you might have encountered (or not) as parents and help you learn some suitable strategies for you to apply to your child.

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How To Deal With Your Defiant Child

The combination of frustrated parents and defiant children goes hand in hand, like peanut butter and jelly. Perhaps. One thing is sure, though – there is no scarcity of suggestions and recommendations for managing your defiant child. Some believe that a sensitive method, such that the parents would literally implore and beg until their child hears them out. Other parents lecture their kids about ‘how mom used to do it using a firm hit to the behind. But precisely just what is the perfect method to use to deal with a defiant child?

Simple Tips To Deal With The Defiant Child

Consistency Is Key. It is vital to note that it took months or years for your child to develop his present behavior and manner of interacting with other people, so it will take time to modify these patterns. By practicing regularity, you can accelerate the process and develop quicker, more permanent modifications of your disobedient child. A with the rest of the parenting techniques, this tip will not work efficiently if parents do not stick to it 100% of the entire time.

Keep Calm And Move On. Your defiant child is frequently just consuming your energy. A rebellious child usually does not feel emotionally controlled or connected at the moment. It may feel like the rebellious child acts out only to be rude to you, but this is most likely the scenario. For example, a rebellious child refuses to dress up in the morning. He doesn’t act like this because he wants you to be late for your daily office work. A potential explanation for this is that he is hungry or drained and isn’t mature enough to convey this to you verbally.

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Stay Positive. Your rebellious child permanently hears you rant about his wrongdoings – at home, school, and everywhere else. He often hears unpleasant comments about the way he acts and the consequences of his negative actions. Although they’re all negative, your child has adjusted to the fact that he can triumphantly gain all the attention with his disobedience. It’s time to change the emphasis not on your child’s unpleasant behaviors but towards his pleasant ones. Please focus on the positive behaviors that he shows because you know too well about his negative behaviors. And all that energy that you used up stressing the negative – pour it out when you praise your child for the small bouts of good that your child is showing.

Try these simple tips when you are trying to manage your defiant child. And while you’re doing so, keep your cool, focus your time and effort on your child’s pleasing behaviors, and most importantly, be consistent. We truly hope all these will work for you!



How Mental Health Affects Your Child’s Behavior

Parents provide their children with basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, education and health care, among other things. Frequently, however, we forget to check up on another equally important aspect of every person’s life: mental health. 

According to data, around 10% of young people aged 5 to 16 years old have a clinical mental health problem. Among the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders in children are anxiety, depression, ADHD, and behavior problems. 

The World Health Organization also found that 20% of adolescents experience a mental health problem every year. Unfortunately, around 70% of these cases are left unaddressed and surface in their older years. 

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Common Risk Factors Of Mental Health Issues In Children

External influences like culture, family, and upbringing are critical during the formative years. Although each child has their temperament and characteristics, they are still like blank slates who mostly rely on the environment. The things they learn in these critical years may be hard to change once children grow older. That’s why good parenting and a healthy environment throughout childhood are essential. 

To better understand how a safe environment for your child looks like, first, let’s take a look at the common causes of mental health issues in children:

1. Bullying And Peer Pressure 

Bullying comes in many forms – it can be verbal or physical, and it can also be from anywhere – either in school or at home. Most bullying accounts are unreported because it’s either the child is not aware of it, or the bully is threatening the child.

In any case, these can have detrimental effects on the child’s well-being. It can lower their self-esteem, develop trauma over time, constant stress, anxiety, and even depression. 

2. Frequent Lifestyle Changes

Children’s comprehension and emotional regulation abilities are generally not as developed as adults. Children could have more difficulty adapting to changes, and it can be harder for them to make sense of.

Some of these changes include moving into a new house, changing their schools, having a new sibling, or even a parent’s divorce. If not appropriately handled, events like these may cause depression, anxiety, or behavioral problems on a child. 

While these events are sometimes inevitable, take extra time to talk to your child about their feelings toward the changes and explain the situation in a way they will understand. 

3. “Bad” Parenting 

Children look up to their parents no matter the case because parents can both provide and deprive the child of their need. Parents affect the children by the rules they implement and how they make them feel.

Bad parenting doesn’t just mean the failure of giving the child’s necessities, but it can also pertain to unhealthy or inconsistent discipline styles

An extreme authoritarian parenting style can make your child feel unheard and that their feelings are unconsidered if the rules should solely be up to you. A permissive parenting style wherein you set rules that you barely follow can also be confusing and detrimental to the child.

For example, they may not learn at all, or they could feel entitled and spoiled. And worse, an uninvolved parent who doesn’t spend time asking or bond with their child can also create issues with the child’s social and self-esteem aspects. 

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It is recommended that parents keep an authoritative kind of parenting style. It is the middle-ground that balances between strict enforcement of rules and keeping the caring side of parenting.

With an authoritarian parenting style, parents take the time to create and maintain positive relationships with their children by getting to know them and letting them talk about their feelings.

You also have rules, but you explain the reasons behind them, rather than just saying “because I said so.” In this way, you create a loving, friendly, and guiding relationship with your child with a foundation on respect and love. 

Why Is It Important To Take Care Of Our Children’s Mental Health

When mental health issues in children are left unaddressed, it can resurface in other forms, such as appearing as a “difficult child.” Some children may turn their frustrations onto anger, aggression, and violence. 

For example, a child who experienced bullying can also be a bully and pass on the aggressiveness to others. It can mean revenge for what others did to them or simply because they think it is the “cool” thing to do.

Meanwhile, a neglected child or a child who experienced a lot of pressure may turn to desperate ways to get what they want. They might fear their parents’ disapproval more rather than the implications of their means.  

Therefore, a problematic child may or may not be because he is hard to deal with, but maybe because there are underlying reasons or events in the past that influenced his/her behaviors. The earlier the intervention, the better. 

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What Can You Do?  

Children may be younger than us, but we must treat them with equal respect by considering their feelings and gently talking to them with utmost love and understanding. Be a wise friend to them, not a dictator ruler; be reasonable and explain to them why there are rules, and ask their opinions about them. 

Remember, being a strict parent does not always mean fitting for your child. Your child will grow a better person in a loving and healthy environment. 

However, if you are having trouble with parenting, seek professional help as early as you can. A child psychologist or a guidance counselor will help you arrange a plan to assess what are the reasons behind your child’s behavior and what are the suitable therapy plans. 


The Role Of The Family In Helping Teens Recover From Substance Abuse

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Teenage years play a crucial role in a person’s overall development. It is the period when a child starts to explore and act on their curiosities in a manner that may be adverse. For some, it results in exploring substance use and other troubling behavior that may affect their growth. If it all gets worse — it can lead to addiction.

Early Warning Signs

For parents and family, this rapid change in the behavior of a teen can be challenging to address. It’s not easy to supervise a teenager’s activity, especially if both parents are working. As such, they can put up barriers when it comes to communicating their worries and needs.

Here are the warning signs that you must watch out for when it comes to teen addiction:

  •     Sudden change in behavior and in the way they talk
  •     They often appear dazed and are hard to talk to
  •     Hiding drugs or drug paraphernalia and alcohol in their room
  •     Bloodshot eyes and smelling
  •     They no longer take part in hobbies that they used to enjoy
  •     They are not introducing their new friends to you
  •     A sudden drop in their school grades

If the family fails to address these warning signs, it can result in worse outcomes, such as becoming an offender. As a teenager, becoming an offender may often lead to repeating the offense as an adult if not given the proper intervention.

Addressing The Warning Signs Of Teen Substance Abuse

If you observe the warning signs on your teen, it is possible that they may be under the influence of addiction. As parents, you need to them cease using it.

It is essential to talk calmly. Show that you are present and willing to listen to what they have to say. Then, you have to set a clear and safe boundary for them to follow. 

It is also essential to get involved and start knowing your teen’s peers. In most cases, peer pressure may trigger the cause of substance addiction. After reaching a rapport with your teen, only then can you start a specific treatment and recovery path.

Treatment And Recovery Options For Teen Substance Abuse

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There are several available treatments for substance abuse. Often, the effective interventions involve the guidance of a counselor or a therapist for an objective view of the situation. They can help you come up with recovery plans that usually happen in sessions.


1. Group Therapy


Occasionally, teens who get into substance use can successfully recover by taking part in group therapies. Learning the adverse effects of addiction from teenagers who got cured or listening to an impactful speaker can encourage them to stay clean.

Moving, educational, inspirational stories can raise understanding and knowledge on substance abuse that can reach your teen in ways you simply cannot.


2. Individual Counseling


Teens often become dependent on substances because of stress from family, job, academics, or the environment. Individual counseling is a positive step towards analyzing and diagnosing the root of the problems. By knowing the source of the problem, the counselor can offer effective treatment alternatives.


3. Family Therapy


Fundamentally, the point of therapy is to develop deep family ties and a healthy home environment. Working with specialists that help families support their teen’s recovery has many advantages. It includes:

  •     Improving communication skills
  •     Restoring trust between family members
  •     Strengthening personal boundaries
  •     Coming up with clear life goals and expectations
  •     Preventing recurrence and maintaining self-discipline



4. Peer Group Activities

Teenagers are extremely emotionally sensitive from their peers’ opinions, especially in middle school and high school.  Peer group activities can build their bond with other teens in recovery while sharing their strengths and coping skills.


5. Recreational And Experiential Therapies


Most teenagers that undergo recovery may benefit from regular physical activity and creative self-expression. It allows them to divert their energies against substance use and their other problems.  It can be significant support for young clients in enduring the emotional challenges of therapy.

Programs such as art therapy, music therapy, wilderness activities, and equine-assisted therapy can provide emotional stability while teaching them essential coping strategies and social skills.

BetterHelp is the easiest way to get therapy while staying at home

Relapse Prevention

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The road to recovery does not end after the treatment period. More often than not, aftercare is a crucial element in a successful recovery. This part of recovery needs the help and support of the whole family. Without carefully planning how they will go on after treatment, it can lead to a relapse.

A relapse may occur because addiction is a chronic condition requiring lifelong support and management with its symptoms. As a whole family, here are the things you can do to prevent relapse:


  • Your Teen Might Seem Different 


Expect that your teen before and after treatment may be a different person. During and after therapy, act normally when you’re around them as much as possible. By doing so, they will slowly get to adjust and be comfortable while at home.


  • Steer Clear Of Enabling Behaviors


Learn and understand how you can avoid enabling behaviors. Even if you have good intentions, it can cause a trigger for teens during their early recovery.

  • Monitor Constantly

Keep track of their activities and who they’re with when going out. As parents and caregivers, you are expected to keep close supervision with teens who are recovering from addiction.

  •     Spend Time 

Regularly schedule bonding time with them. Plan something that the whole family enjoys. Also, encourage and join them in pursuing their hobbies.


Dealing with substance abuse of teens can be a challenging time for the whole family. With the proper intervention and support, you can make a tremendous difference in your teen’s life.

Keep in mind not to blame your child for what they have done. Instead, focus on what you can do to correct it for good — for your teen and for your whole family.


Why Quarantine Is Good For Rebellious Teens

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I can say that I have been blessed with the most responsible teenager in the entire world. She always comes home one time and enjoys school work. She has a lot of friends, but she has never felt the urge to sneak behind our backs. Of course, there are some crushes and admirers now, but my daughter told me that her focus is on going to college. My husband and I cannot be prouder of her because of that.

I am aware that not every parent is as lucky as we are. In our neighborhood alone, I have a few friends who often complain about their teenage sons and daughters. They always catch them sneaking out in the middle of the night or bringing friends over without permission. Some have also flunked their classes because they prioritize other activities than academics.

Whenever those parents ask me how my daughter seems to be unaffected by the puberty stage when it’s forgivable to be rebellious, I have no idea what to reply. I still don’t, frankly speaking. My daughter has always shown that responsible side of her, and it’s what’s normal for us.

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Luckily, though, my supposed “parenting luck” may be rubbing off on my friends, given that they no longer complain about their kids these days. Here are a few positive things that have happened to the rebellious teens during the quarantine.

Enjoy Family Nights

Since the entire state is under quarantine, the schools have been closed. The kids need to attend classes online during the day, but the teachers no longer give tons of assignments. This change has allowed a lot of parents to coax their teenagers to come out of their room and attend family nights.

A friend, in particular, said that a lot of excuses were thrown in the air at first in their house. Her son went out of his room but was still hesitant at first. But the more games they played, the more he showed real enthusiasm for family nights.

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Talk To The Parents For Real

A lot of parents agree that some kids turn into ogres when they become teenagers. I don’t mean to say that they look like those beasts, but they seem to forget how to use words when answering parents’ questions. You tend to hear grunts and sighs as if they can’t be bothered to put intelligible words together.

But since the entire family is quarantined under one roof, these grunting teens warm up to their mom and dad again. They talk more and even stay in a conversation without looking at their phones. Perhaps they realize that it’s cool to open up to their parents as much as they do to their friends.

Control Emotions At Your Own Pace

Teenagers typically rebel against their moms and dads because they feel like the latter won’t understand whatever they’re going through. After all, the raging hormones can make them moody and prevent them from seeing reason. It doesn’t help that they need to deal with it while being expected to excel at school and extracurricular activities as well.

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Now that the teens are at home 24/7, though, they may be able to control their emotions. There are no more friends to please or classmates to beat; they can finally focus on themselves. Thus, these teenagers may realize soon enough that they should stop rebelling ASAP.

Final Thoughts

The rebellious stage that your teenage children may be dealing with will eventually pass. It is a side effect of hitting puberty; not everyone can dodge it.

You’re lucky if being in quarantine has helped curb your kid’s rebelliousness. But if it hasn’t, breathe and think of how you can discipline them more efficiently.

Good luck!