Parenting teenagers is difficult.  I’m not quite there with my two boys, but I’ve heard the stories from friends and family members about this sometimes challenging period of child-rearing.  The themes that I hear repeatedly are that teens are not fulfilling their potential academically or socially, they can be disrespectful towards authority and they are unable to fully express emotions in a self-regulating, socially acceptable way. In other words, they are nearly impossible to understand and even harder to connect with emotionally.

We all survived our teenage years and have the battle scars to prove it.  If high school was awesome for you, you may have a hard time relating.  For the rest of us, we longed to be accepted.  Some of us reached for acceptance by ‘bucking the system’ and rebelling.  Others of us withdrew from life one social interaction and pep rally at a time.  There’s no way around it, being on the cusp of adulthood is hard.

One of the keys to success in establishing yourself as an independent, mature human being, is the ability to learn how to connect to your emotions.  Once you can successfully connect to your inner experience, you then have to know how to express these emotions in a healthy and positive way.

Teens often need help in learning these critical skills.  As parents, we often are so focused on the endless logistics of our teenager’s life, it leaves us little room to model or shape these emotional skills.   Especially so  when teenagers are not interested in what we have to say.   This is where Riverview Counseling Services can support you.  They offer a group for teenagers called the ‘Challenge Program’.  In this small group setting, with membership capped at six, teens will be taught techniques to help change their thinking and behavior patterns in a positive direction.  This is especially effective for teens showing possible symptoms of anxiety or depression, as well as any teen struggling with the social or academic aspects of school.  This is a safe place for teens to express themselves and get the help that they need.

The ‘Challenge Program’ is run every Wednesday from 5:30-6:15 by a licensed therapist.  In addition to therapeutic guidance, teens will benefit from the group dynamic with their peers.  All groups are billable to insurance.   To be a member, it is required that behavior concerns are managed so your teen can be a fully engaged participant.  To learn more about this or other Riverview groups, please contact Cheryl Denz at (630) 587-3777  x103.

Written by Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent

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