What is Adolescent Counselling?

Adolescent counselling helps the youngster understand own feelings,thoughts and how they behave. Counselling is a process which provides safe environment to explore and express oneself and enable them to change and flourish despite the difficulties they face by adapting healthy coping styles. Adolescent Counselling is similar to Adult Counselling but uses developmental psychology approaches.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), at least 20 percent of young people are likely to experience some form of mental illness such as depression, Mood disturbances, Substance abuse, Suicidal behaviours, Eating disorders and others.
Adolescents today face multiple challenges as well as distractions. They are flooded with all kinds of pressures right from exams and deadlines to lure of internet or relationships. If left on their own they may suffer from low self-esteem, Adolescent Counselling helps them successfully navigate through these tough times.
What are the Challenges of Adolescent Age?
Adolescence is the period of transition between childhood and adulthood. Stress, obesity and better nutrition are thought to be shifting puberty age earlier than before. It is also now a known fact that brain development continues into early 20s. These years are the years of self-discovery and forming identity. Some teens become perplexed as they have to make some difficult choices about academics, friends, gender identity etc.
Peer Pressure: Desire to fit in and form friendships is important for any adolescent. Peer influence is reflected from clothes they wear to music they listen. Influence can be positive also if they have friends who are good at sports/other skills or academics. In this age often family takes a backseat and friends, appearance, romantic interest become very important. Teens often indulge in high risk behaviours such as experimenting with alcohol and drugs, rash driving, sex as they are not able to handle this pressure. A 2013 study reveals that teens are more likely to engage in risky activities in presence of their peers compared to when they are alone. A youngster who is not in a relationship is seen as naïve or nerd. Break ups and insecure relationship is often leading cause of depression and Suicidal tendency.
Body Image: Body image is how we think, feel or behave with regard to our physical appearance. Adolescence represents a crucial stage in the development of positive or negative body image (Croll, 2005). Indian obsession with fair skin is widely known. An estimated 60 percent of Indian women and 10 percent of men use fairness products. Media (TV, magazines, newspapers and now social media) is a very powerful tool, it is used to portray how an ideal body must be or should be. Girls’ fascination towards zero figure can be a good example of the hype. Body image issues no longer exclusively affect young ladies, males also are now increasingly getting affected. Teens often resort to extreme measures by eating unhealthy, doing excessive exercise and even use drugs/surgery to maintain body shape/size. Teens negatively evaluate themselves and be at risk for body shaming, body image disturbance, eating disorders and depression. (Fredrickson, Roberts, 1997)
Distractions: Life of a teen is intertwined with technology. Teenagers have a strong need to connect socially and social media is their way of connecting with friends. 90% of teens use social media to have fun, stay connected, meet new friends, express and explore themselves and share their artwork or music. Most of the teenagers have easy access to phone and internet which also makes them vulnerable to harmful and inappropriate content like porn, drugs, violence as well as danger of cyberbullying. Excess screen time is a common concern for parents as it affects the sleep, activity level and academic decline.
Bullying: Bullying is a purposeful torture which can be physical, verbal or psychological. It is very different from playful teasing. Bullying is any behaviour involving hitting, pushing, threatening, extorting money/valuables to excluding the child by spreading rumours or hurtful use of social Media. Bullying can leave deep emotional scars and shake the confidence of the child. Bullying can make simple experience like going to school a nightmare. Be careful if notice your child refuses to go to school or go by bus, is more moody or anxious, not eating/sleeping well or doing things liked usually. It is important to talk about it. Counselling can help a lot in this situation.
Fake World: Teenagers highly value being popular and having social acceptance. Teenagers use social media (Instagram/FB/Snapchat/Tiktok) to seek approval or fake likes and post their photoshopped pictures/selfies and/or share their videos. Social media is a platform to show off how happy and ‘perfect’ your life is. Studies have shown that this competitive and fake ‘like’ culture of social media leads to low self-esteem. Teens who feel unloved and neglected often get involved in an unhealthy relationship which can seriously affect the mental health of your teen.
Real Life v/s Reel Life: Teens today live more in a virtual world rather than real world. Virtual worlds allow players to explore, interact and play in digital landscapes and choose any avatar which is your online persona. (for instance, Runescape/World of Warcraft)
Doesn’t Want to Listen: Do you often worry why your teen doesn’t listen to you or ignores home rules? Do you feel this rebel streak in your teen pushes your buttons? Arguing, experimentation, defying home rules, driving fast all these typical teenage behaviours. All teenagers go through a phase in life where need for independence, an identity separate from parents and testing authority becomes crucial. Parents often blame themselves and are very concerned about this behaviour. Good news is that it is Normal! A part of growing up! Disconnected Families: In this fast-paced life, parents have lost the connect with their children. While spending time with children, parents constantly keep checking phones for mails or message or picking up calls which make a child feel that they are not as important as the other on phone.
Why we need to Understand Teens’/ Adolescents’ Behaviour?
Certain Events that may Impact Adolescents’ Mental Health
How to Know that Teen Needs Help?
What Role Parents Should Play for Healthy Adolescent Development?
What can Adolescents do?
Benefits of Adolescent Counselling
What Parents should do When Teen/ Adolescent Refuses Counselling?
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