10 Back-to-School Tips for Parents and Teens

Getting back into the academic swing of things can be a challenge for both teens and their parents, especially after a turbulent or life-changing summer vacation.

If neither you nor your teen has been keeping up with your school-based schedules and routines, it’s important to start things off on the right foot – and place special emphasis on consistency. 

In this article, we’re exploring 10 back-to-school tips for parents.

Back-to-School Tips for Parents

Going back to school can be an exciting yet stressful time for both teens and parents. Preparation is key to ensuring a smooth transition.

For teens, it’s a chance to reconnect with friends, engage in new learning opportunities, and perhaps embrace new responsibilities. Parents can support this by discussing the upcoming school year, setting goals, and establishing a routine before school begins.

Together, shopping for school supplies, talking about expectations, and addressing any anxieties can help everyone feel more prepared. Engaging in open communication and collaboration will foster a positive start to the new academic year.

Here are 10 back-to-school tips for parents and teens.

1. You Are Your Teen’s Greatest Influence

An important reminder for parents is that teens are still at an impressionable age – and while parents always worry about peer influences, parental influences remain stronger, and are a much more potent determinant of a teen’s behavior and habits. That means continuing to provide an important role model on how to healthily manage stress, confront and solve problems, and communicate with others effectively. 

2. Manage Your Emotions

Focus on your responses and emotions when talking with your teen. It’s normal for teens to lash out or become irritable when anxious, and getting back to school can be an anxious time. Don’t match your teen’s energy – be patient and stay calm. 

3. Establish a Healthy Routine

Getting back into a healthy routine with your teen before school starts can be a massive boon. Wake your teen up early, make sure they’re getting ready with you, and help them organize the last few days of their vacation to match the structure of an average school day.

4. Set Realistic Expectations and Goals

Studies show that teens seem to feel like they’re under too much academic pressure – even when their parents haven’t communicated wanting a specific grade or career from their teens. Schools are often designed to push for better grades and performances, without a care for whether this pressure helps teens develop skills that are important for adulthood. 

5. Practicing Extracurricular Self-Care

Prioritize sleep, nutrition, and exercise to boost your and your teen’s mental well-being, in and out of school. Remind your teen that it’s important to use school as an opportunity to build healthy habits, learn more about relationships and communication, and focus on skill-building, rather than the best possible scores and grades. 

6. Reach Out to Your Teen Often

Encourage your teen to talk to you, to their friends, or to school or counselors if they’re struggling; and make sure they understand that they’re not alone. 

7. Talk To Your Teen About Healthy Boundaries

Set limits on screen time and social media use for better mental balance during school weeks and talk to your teens about creating important and healthy boundaries between work (academic responsibilities) and play (from hanging out with friends to just relaxing online). 

8. Mental Resilience Starts with a Positive Mindset

It’s easy to spiral into dark thoughts, especially when the going gets tough, or when faced with an anxious change – such as going back to school. Rather than sharing in your teen’s worries, help them focus on strengths, achievements, and growth. Take weight off their shoulders by denouncing perfection – and encouraging them to celebrate the wins they’ve already achieved. 

9. Impart the Value of a Support Network

Support networks are the connective tissue of a healthy life, for teens and adults alike. We’re social creatures, and we need each other. Encourage your teen to build connections with supportive peers and lean on them when their help is needed (and vice versa). 

10. Getting Professional Help

During the back-to-school season, the pressures and anxieties may be especially intense for some teens, leading to potential mental health or substance abuse issues. A teen treatment program can be a critical support system for both teens and parents.

Such programs provide professional assessment, individualized treatment plans, counseling, and ongoing support tailored to each teen’s unique needs. For parents, it offers education and guidance on how to support their child’s mental well-being. Ultimately, the program can help foster resilience, enhance coping strategies, and ensure that the teen is mentally and emotionally prepared to face the challenges of the new school year.

Questions and Answers

Here at Visions, we field questions from teens and parents alike, especially about the challenges of balancing your own needs with your ongoing (and often growing) responsibilities. Some of the questions we get from both teens and parents on the topic of getting back to school include: 

How can I communicate my needs to parents or teachers if I’m feeling overwhelmed? Sometimes, it helps to start by writing things down. You don’t even have to show anyone what you’ve written – but itemizing or at least putting your feelings into print can help you consolidate and sort through your emotions, and be more direct with how you’re feeling, and what you’re feeling. 

What should I do if I’m having trouble making new friends? Common interests are often the best way to meet peers at school or outside of school. Look for clubs or extracurricular opportunities to spend time with others in an activity that you enjoy, whether it’s video gaming, sports, chess, tabletop games, or specific subjects of study (in a study group). 

What can I do to help my teen avoid burnout during the school year? Keep a close eye on how your teen is spending their time. Are they procrastinating more than usual? Are they putting off their chores and academic responsibilities? These are usually telltale signs that your teen is having trouble with both managing their time, and mentally managing their workload. Make sure they’re keeping on top of things a day at a time, rather than pushing through an avalanche of overdue schoolwork. 

How can I help my teen if they’re anxious about returning to school? Some teenagers get more anxious about returning to school than others. Sit down with your teen and talk to them about what they’re worried about. Listen to their worries and acknowledge them. Talk to them about what you might be able to do together to help resolve these worries. Ask them what they might be looking forward to at school, such as seeing old faces again or the routine and structure of a school week. Help them focus on the positives, first and foremost. 

Sometimes, the stress of getting back to school can reveal a deeper problem. Adolescence is a common period of onset for mood and anxiety issues, which can develop into conditions over time. However, these conditions, like depression and social anxiety, are treatable. Get in touch with us at Visions to learn more about our teen treatment programs


Now that you have some back-to-school tips for parents, you can move forward and help your teen transition back to school.

As the new school year begins, remember that mental health is as important as physical health.

By fostering better communication skills, setting realistic expectations, practicing self-care, and seeking support when needed, both parents and teens can navigate the back-to-school transition without a hitch. Work with us at Visions to help your teen achieve their best self. 


Helpful Tips for Parenting Teens

Parenting is a rewarding journey, but the adolescent years can often pose unique challenges. As children transition to teenagers, they strive for independence, experiment with their identity, and sometimes, test boundaries, all while dealing with hormonal changes and societal pressures. It’s a tumultuous time for them and for you as a parent. This article aims to provide helpful tips for parenting teens, guiding you through this critical period, and helping you foster a nurturing and understanding relationship with your teenager.

Promote Healthy Communication

Good communication forms the cornerstone of any relationship, and it’s no different when it comes to parenting teens. Maintaining an open dialogue with your teenager allows you to understand their thoughts, feelings, and concerns. Here’s how you can promote healthy communication:

Be an active listener: Show your teen that you value their opinions. Reflect back on what you hear and ask clarifying questions to ensure understanding. Avoid interrupting or making quick judgments.

Foster an open environment: Encourage your teen to express their feelings and thoughts freely. Make it clear that they can talk to you about anything, without fear of judgment or punishment.

Keep lines of communication open: Regularly check in with your teen, and not just when there’s a problem. Show interest in their daily activities, friendships, and hobbies.

Teaching Accountability and Responsibility

Instilling a sense of accountability and responsibility in your teen is essential to their development. Here’s how you can help:

Set clear expectations: Be clear about what you expect in terms of behavior, chores, academics, etc. Make sure your teen understands the consequences of not meeting these expectations.

Encourage decision-making: Allow your teen to make decisions, and let them face the consequences, whether good or bad. This will teach them to take responsibility for their actions.

Recognize effort: Positive reinforcement goes a long way. Acknowledge your teen’s efforts and achievements, even if they’re small. This encourages them to take responsibility in the future.

Nurturing Self-Esteem and Confidence

During the teen years, self-esteem can fluctuate greatly. Here’s how you can help nurture their self-esteem and confidence:

Praise effort, not just results: Encourage a growth mindset by praising effort, resilience, and determination, not just successful outcomes.

Promote healthy body image: Reinforce the message that everyone is unique and that worth is not tied to physical appearance.

Encourage their interests: Support and encourage your teen’s hobbies and passions. This can give them a sense of accomplishment and boost their self-confidence.

FAQs About Parenting Teens

In this section, we’ll answer some of the frequently asked questions about parenting teens. These questions are based on the common concerns and uncertainties that many parents have while navigating through their child’s adolescent years.

How can I support my teenager through emotional turmoil?

It’s important to provide a safe and non-judgmental space for your teenager to express their emotions. Regularly check in with them, validate their feelings, and assure them that it’s okay to experience emotional ups and downs.

How can I set effective boundaries with my teenager?

Clear communication is key when setting boundaries. Discuss the rules and expectations and the reasons behind them. Be consistent and fair in enforcing these boundaries, and allow for negotiation as your teen matures.

How can I promote healthy habits in my teenager?

Modeling healthy habits is effective. Demonstrate the importance of a balanced diet, regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and good hygiene. Encourage your teen to incorporate these habits into their routine.

Contact Visions to Learn How We Can Help

Are you facing challenges while parenting your teen? Do you need professional assistance to navigate through this complex period? At Visions Treatment Centers, we’re here to help.

Navigating through the adolescent years can be daunting. We understand the challenges you face and the concerns you have for your teenager’s well-being.

Our team of experienced professionals specializes in adolescent mental health and substance abuse treatment. We provide comprehensive, clinically-based, dual diagnosis treatment plans that are customized to suit the needs of your teen.

We believe that every teen deserves the chance to thrive. By partnering with us, you’re giving your teen that chance. We’ll work with you, your teen, and other professionals to ensure a successful, long-term impact.

Contact us today at (866) 889-3665 or at Let’s work together in shaping a brighter future for your teen.

Fostering a Healthy Parent-Teen Relationship

Parenting teens can be challenging, but with understanding, patience, and the right strategies, you can successfully navigate these years. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. Help is available. By implementing these tips and knowing when to seek professional guidance, you can build a stronger and healthier relationship with your teen.


Building Resilience in Children and Teens

It is normal to worry about your child, especially about how they might cope with the struggles that lie ahead for them. Even without the facets of anxiety, depression, or other overwhelming mental health struggles, life can be plenty challenging in its own right – and for children transitioning into adolescence, or from adolescence into adulthood, change and the anxieties surrounding it might be a daily aspect of life. 

The Importance of Building Resilience in Children and Teens

What is resilience? Mental resilience is fostered through a sense of self-confidence, as well as a sense of competence in the face of uncertainty. You can never prepare your child for every outcome, and you can never know what lies ahead. But you can help your teen be more confident in their choices, learn to develop independence, and foster the right emotional toolset to cope with hardship. 

Why does this matter? First and foremost, it’s about recognizing and dealing with the impact of stress in our teen’s lives, as well as taking charge of the way we as adults cope with stress in our own lives. It’s important to be cognizant of how your behaviors affect your children, and how you model stress management and healthy coping skills for your teens. 

Whether or not your teen is at an increased risk for anxiety, depression, or may have had past experiences with trauma or violence, it’s also important to remember that we can’t control or predict the future and have no way of knowing what’s coming our way. Building mental resilience helps children and teens prepare by having a stronger buffer against unknown stressors. But how do we do that? 

Steps to Building Resilience

It wasn’t too long ago that physical punishments, reprimands, and stoicism were valid ways to teach children how to cope with hardship. Yet none of these are very good at achieving anything, aside from perpetuating trauma and violence within a family. Research shows us that true mental resilience is achieved through feeling positively connected to your caregivers and peers, following a routine, and developing a stable relationship with at least one caring adult. 

Focus on Coping Skills

Life is full of problems. Instead of feeling overwhelmed or powerless before all the different ways life can get in the way of things, it’s important to help children and teens develop a positive attitude towards problem-solving, as well as healthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress and frustration, such as self-calming skills (breathing techniques, taking a walk, talking to a friend, spending time with a pet) and positive brainstorming instead of negative rumination. 

Fostering Competence and Independence

In addition to helping teens focus on a positive attitude in the face of stress, it’s important to nurture their interests and skill-building. Encourage them to try out a variety of things, pick up new hobbies and interests, and instill important life-long habits, such as cooking, household tasks, taking up more responsibilities around the home or at school, using a routine to create better time management skills, and so on. 

Encouraging Healthier Thinking Patterns

It’s easy to get lost in despair when things are not going well – especially in recent times, whether due to the recession or the pandemic. Instead of dwelling on the negatives, work with your teens to focus on the positives. Encourage them to exercise control wherever they can, such as taking the time out of their schedule to maintain a hobby for their own sanity, taking breaks from school work to move around or play, or spending time with friends. 

Whenever your teen spirals into negative thoughts, pull them back and ask them to remember a time when things were easier – and help them convince themselves that things will be easier again. 

Modeling Healthy Coping Skills for Your Children

Children and teens react negatively to hypocrisy, and it’s difficult for your lessons to land if they’re being contradicted, as per the age-old “do as I say, not as I do”. Set cues for your kids as best you can by improving your own stress management and coping skills, taking time out to focus on your interests from time to time, and sticking to a routine to give your teens a sense of consistency, even in hard times. 

Frequently Asked Questions

We at Visions often hear questions from parents about building resilience in children and teens. It’s not always a straightforward process, and there can be hiccups. Some of the things parents often ask us include: 

Can trauma affect teen resilience?

Yes, it can. However, trauma is entirely subjective. Not all potentially traumatic experiences may lead to post-traumatic or acute stress. Trauma can still impact a teen’s resilience to other mental health issues, even if they do not qualify for a stress disorder. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your teen after a potentially traumatic experience and to talk to them frequently about how they’re feeling. 

Does social media and technology play a role in teen resilience?

Studies show a correlation between excessive screen time and lower self-esteem, as well as rates of anxiety and depression. However, it’s important to differentiate between cause and effect. Does this mean anxious teens are more likely to withdraw into a digital world, or that social media can make teens feel worse about themselves? In many cases, it may be a little bit of both. 

Are some teens inherently more resilient than others?

Sometimes, parents are worried that their teens’ insecurities are an innate trait, more than anything else. The truth is that all teens experience insecurity. Some teens may be more anxious about it than others, more or less confident by nature, and more or less resilient to stressors. But that does not mean that children and teens aren’t adaptable – in fact, they’re incredibly adaptable, and resilience can be taught. 

How can I tell if my teen’s resilience is an issue?

Self-esteem can be a good measure of a teen’s personal resilience. Positive, healthy self-esteem and signs of self-confidence often mean that a teen is coping well with their daily stressors. That being said, it doesn’t hurt to talk to your teen about how they’re feeling, and ask them questions related to their mental health, such as whether they sometimes get sad for no reason. 

Creating a healthy home environment and investing in both your mental wellbeing and that of your children is important. However, parents are not always equipped to help their teens in cases of serious mental anguish. If your teen has been struggling, and you aren’t sure what to do, then contact us at Visions Adolescent Treatment for help. We can walk you through our teen residential treatment programs, and provide a better insight into how your teen is doing. 


Building resilience in children and teens can set them up for the future by allowing them to foster healthier coping skills, accepting life’s uncertainties, and equipping them with positive thinking patterns. More so than tough love or childhood hardships, focusing on your teen’s personal abilities, interpersonal skills, and self-confidence can prepare them for anything they might face. Learn more about teen resilience, fostering adolescent coping skills, and teen mental health at Visions. 


How Do You Help a Teenager with Low Self-esteem

Having low self-esteem is not particularly abnormal, especially among teens. In fact, research tells us that girls in particular tend to have lower self-esteem in their teen years, and that these feelings improve as they become adults. The same or similar can be said for boys – it’s one of the reasons nearly half of all boys regularly exercise exclusively to put on muscle mass. 

Teenagers and personal insecurity is a classic combo. But that does not mean it isn’t a cause for concern. While having low self-esteem is common, it is also one of the larger red flags for long-term mental health issues. Low self-esteem correlates with increased risk of self-harm, increased likelihood to smoke and drink, higher rates of eating disorders, and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety

Does that mean your teen is doomed to suffer from a mental health disorder as a result of their self-image? No. But a low self-image can compound the risk of conditions like depression, anxiety, or eating disorders, and may be a precursor to other forms of self-deprecation and internalized hatred. 

So, how do you help a teenager with low self-esteem?

What Does a Teenager with Low Self-Esteem Look Like? 

Low self-esteem may be expressed in multiple different ways. Generally speaking, however, there are two distinctly separate forms of teenage low self-esteem: aggression towards the outside, and aggression towards the inside. 

An insecure teen is an unhappy teen. They dislike, or maybe even hate certain parts of themselves, and see no use or potential path towards change. They take it out either on themselves – becoming quiet, withdrawn, needy, or passive – or on others – becoming aggressive, abrasive, and anti-social

Either way, teens who struggle with low self-esteem tend to have a harder time making genuine connections with others. They may still have “friends”, but these may be people who stick around for status or as part of a clique, especially if the teen in question is a known bully. Past the surface, however, one of the major problems with a low self-esteem is an inability to form healthy relationships. A poor relationship with yourself is a bad start for a relationship with anyone else. Either they cling excessively to others, or push them away. 

All teens with low self-esteem also experience negative self-talk, which reinforces their feelings towards themselves, and makes it hard for other people’s positive assertions and estimations to come through. You can’t expect a few words of praise to help resolve a teen’s deep seated issues with themselves, at least not at first. It takes consistent and genuine recognition to help a teen realize their own potential, embrace the positive parts of themselves, and learn to develop a healthier relationship with themselves, and then with others. 

This self-talk further warps a teen’s self-image, which is not always the same as your self-esteem. Your self-esteem is a value judgment, a summary of how you see your qualities as a person. Your self-image is your physical representation – how you look to yourself. 

Teens with poor self-esteem tend to have a worse self-image of themselves, needlessly criticizing every last physical detail, obsessing over unrealistic or unattainable physical standards, or even experiencing harsh body dysmorphia, wherein they might see themselves differently to how they really look to others, i.e., seeing themselves as fat despite being overly skinny, too lanky and lithe despite being muscular, or too tall or too short despite being of average height. 

Why Does My Teen Have Low Self-Esteem? 

One reason teens experience low self-esteem more than adults do is that they are insecure about their place in the world. In other words, it may be a part of growing up – coming to terms with who you are in the grander scheme of things. 

But not all teens experience low self-esteem, at least not to the degree that it begins to impact their mental health. There are a few reasons why some teens are more likely to struggle with low self-esteem: 

  • Genes play a role. Some people have a higher genetic predisposition towards anxiety and self-esteem issues, for example. 
  • Home environment and parenting play a role. Teens with a history of abuse or trauma, such as witnessing domestic violence, are more likely to struggle with self-esteem problems. 
  • The history of a teen’s mental health plays a role. Some teens might have been social butterflies as children but struggle to maintain their relationships with others as they reached puberty, because of the onset of a condition like ADHD or depression. The symptoms of these conditions can affect friendships, and make it harder to communicate with others, or result in hurt feelings. This can impact a teen’s self-esteem, especially if they were socially outgoing. In other cases, low self-esteem can be a symptom of the condition itself, such as most anxiety disorders. 
  • Societal pressures are also a factor. These are especially relevant in the modern age of social media. Teens aren’t just seeing idealized proportions and unrealistic beauty standards in TV or on billboards; they’re seeing them on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. They say comparison is the thief of joy, but it’s hard to impossible not to compare yourself to others as a teen today. Every element of your day-to-day is scrutinized online, and even if you don’t share images or videos of yourself, you can easily find pictures of people who might look like you, or whom you might relate to, being bullied, or criticized online. Teens who belong to marginalized groups or minorities – such as ethnic minorities or the LGBTQ+ community – may struggle with a low self-esteem due to colorism, racial preference, police brutality, and a heteronormative society. 

Attacks on a teen’s self-confidence need to be met with measures to help your teen feel more comfortable in their own skin, and develop pride in their abilities and innate qualities as a person. 

How To Build Up Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is built one day at a time. It is a long-term process, one that takes a lot of investment in your teen’s mental health. Some important things to keep in mind include: 

  • Focus on self-improvement. Help your teen discover and channel their efforts into avenues that they can succeed in, whether it’s academically, musically, physically – but also encourage them to continue to work on the things they might not be naturally good at. 
  • Praise your teen’s efforts. It’s not always about the outcome. If you only praise your teen when they’re getting an A+ or win gold, then you’re teaching them that anything less is worthless. It’s important that your teen learns not see things as black-and-white – and that they can be proud of the strides they’ve made.  
  • Help your teen moderate their language, especially self-talk. Remind them to avoid using self-deprecating words and to quit bad-mouthing their own efforts. 
  • Give them greater control and choice. Independence is a powerful tool towards helping a teen build their self-esteem. Allowing them to make their own choices can help them not just make mistakes and learn from them, but feel proud for making the right decision when it counts. 
  • Be a character model for them. Do you recognize some of your teen’s traits in yourself? Then it may be time to work on your own confidence, as well. 

Is a Confident Child a Healthy Child?

Outward displays of confidence may be a positive thing, but it is important to differentiate between what your teen chooses to project to the outside world, and how they might be feeling inside. Famously, Mr. Olympia winner Arnold Schwarzenegger shared that he felt immense anxiety and body dysmorphia in the days leading up to a competition, despite his on-stage bravado and extremely competitive persona. He would look at himself in the mirror and wonder how he’d won

It’s no different for many of today’s social media influencers. Even if your teen seems to be confident about themselves – whether it’s their appearance or their abilities – keep an eye out for subtle red flags, such as a low tolerance for criticism from others, obsessing over peers, constant comparisons, or self-deprecating comments made in private. 


How Parents Can Help Gen Z Teens

Parents sometimes make the mistake of assuming that the generational differences between them and their teens are akin to first contact between alien cultures. 

While it’s true that there are generalized statements that are more or less true for specific populations – such as the difference between people born in the early 70s and people born in the late 90s – more often than not, teens are teens, parents are parents, and people are people. Your children are much more like how you used to be than you might think or care to recall. 

Teens nowadays may be statistically less likely to drink, have sex early, or experiment with drugs, but their behaviors regarding risk-taking haven’t changed much. Most teens are still somewhat rebellious and will likely seek to push boundaries as they grow up. Teens don’t want to drive as much as their parents did, but an overwhelming majority of 70 percent still think having a driver’s license is essential as a teenager. 

And yes, teens grew up in the age of the smartphone and can’t recall a day without the Internet, but they use it for much of the same things other technologies were used for by teens throughout all of history: recreation and procreation. 

Understanding some statistical and behavioral trends that set Gen Z teens apart from the Millennials and most of their parents, Gen X adults, can help some parents better reconcile and recognize where their teens are coming from. But first and foremost, it’s important to dispel the myths and worries about grand intergenerational conflict or incompatibilities between today’s parents and the children they’re raising. 

Spend Less Time Worrying

No matter what anyone else says, the facts support that for most healthy young adults growing up today, the greatest influence in their lives is their parents. Parents play a crucial role in a person’s every developmental stage, from infancy to late adolescence and early adulthood. Peers play more of a role as teens age, but a parent’s influence only wanes after a teen or young adult moves out. 

As such, trusting in your teen’s judgment and how you’ve raised them is essential. Teens may have different interests than you did. However, you differed from your parents in many ways in your younger years while still sharing many of the same values and priorities, especially if your relationship with them was strong. 

You don’t need to understand why your teen prefers to hang out with friends on Discord rather than learn how to drive to the mall to go see them every weekend in person to know that your kid is doing fine socially, given the way society has changed. However, understanding and accepting these differences can go a long way toward a stronger parent-child relationship. 

Understanding Generation Z’s Formative Years

Generation Z refers to people born after 1996, including many young adults and parents. 

The defining characteristics and unifying cultural experiences of Generation Z include the commercialization and global usage of the Internet, unprecedented cultural globalization, historic levels of economic recession, the explosion of portable personal computing devices and the Internet of Things, global warming, a swathe of armed conflicts since the end of the Cold War, and more recently, the COVID pandemic

Many of these events and circumstances have made Gen Z more fiscally and socially reserved than previous generations. 

More concretely, this means more teens are saving for retirement than previous generations, as many grew up watching their parents scramble for money or struggle under credit debts. As such, they’re generally wary of debt, and less likely to take on credit. Socially, Generation Z still likes to party – but will party less than previous generations.  

This Is a Digital Generation

In addition to the financial downturn, the Internet is perhaps one of Generation Z’s most essential and formative factors. It means that today’s teens are more likely to spend time in front of a screen than previous generations and are more content to spend time with friends virtually. 

Teens today grew up in the presence of social networks. This relatively new Internet-related invention allows people to form and cultivate relationships online through status updates, personal albums, image posts, and private messaging. Many long-lasting Generation Z couples met online, often across state or national borders, due to a common interest or shared online experience. 

Video games are also surprisingly important to Generation Z. More than a fad, they have become an entertainment industry that surpasses Hollywood in grossing. Kids are less likely to go to the movies, and more likely to spend time on Fortnite or League of Legends.

Video games such as massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) have become their own social networks. Friend groups often stay in touch much longer than they would have in older generations through instant messaging, social networks, and online group activities such as gaming. Millennials are also familiar with this – the average age for a gaming consumer is closer to 34

Kids and young adults today value their screen time. More than an idle source of infotainment, laptops and phone screens have become a view into a second world that exists parallel to the “real” one, filled with connections and people and friendships that are equally important as those made face-to-face. Understanding this can help parents value why their teens spend so much time online, and respect that the Internet represents a large part of their ongoing social experience. 

But that doesn’t mean teens today should learn to devalue the importance of living in the real world. 

Help Your Teen with Real-World Experiences and Interactions

One of the best ways you can help your teen cultivate better mental and physical well-being is to encourage and promote their real-world experiences without downplaying or judging them for their online social lives. Take your teen out often. Plan more outdoor activities with the family.

It’s not enough to passively encourage your teen to go out more. Why should they? Instead, take them with you on trips and experiences, take them to work with you to get a little bit of a taste of what it’s like outside of school or the home office, and help them get comfortable with various real-life tasks and situations. Expand their responsibilities, such as asking them to help in the kitchen, teaching them to cook, and eventually putting them in charge of groceries as they better understand how to prep and stock a kitchen. Help them develop their independent living skills, whether it’s navigating a tax return or going to the DMV. 

This could also be an opportunity to cultivate your teen’s professional or occupational interests. Encourage your teen to spend more time at local conventions for their respective interests or potential professions. Be in their corner and cheer them on. 

Teens today are justifiably worried about how the world is changing and their place in it. They are more academically pressured than ever while contending with a rapidly evolving marketplace, growing wealth inequality, rising prices, and the advent of new and volatile technologies in the workplace, such as AI-generated content and code. 

Teens might feel more acquainted with the digital world and the changing pace of their environment. However, parents can still help them find a better balance between themselves and their obligations, health and professional priorities, and stress and calm. Between enjoying the bounties of nature and benefiting from our advances in information and communications technology. 

Marijuana Parenting

Is CBD for Teens Safe?

We’ve all heard of CBD, which has grown quite popular amongst adults. But what is it? Is CBD for teens safe? And how is it different from marijuana substance use?

While only one CBD product is medically prescribed under very few circumstances – two rare forms of childhood epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome – they have seen a multitude of off-label uses over the last few years, and CBD products have hit the shelves advertising a vast number of potential benefits, from performance-enhancement to soothing anxiety, improving mood, and even managing symptoms of autism.

What is Cannabidiol (CBD)?

At its core, CBD (cannabidiol) is a hemp- or marijuana-derived cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are a class of substances that bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, sharing a similar chemical makeup to some of our own neurotransmitters. Cannabinoid receptors are a feature of the nervous system in most animals.

As a result, cannabinoids can affect the brain – and body – in different ways. Unlike other similar plant-derived compounds such as opium, cocaine, or even caffeine, CBD is not considered “psychoactive,” meaning it does not cause an altered state of mind or induce a sense of euphoria.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

THC, another cannabinoid, is responsible for the “high” that marijuana use induces. Some hemp plants are also primarily designed and genetically altered to reduce or eliminate the production of THC while retaining CBD. When CBD is extracted from a low-THC plant, it may still contain traces of THC. This is primarily the difference between isolate CBD (separated from other phytocannabinoids) and full-spectrum CBD (potential for low amounts of THC).

CBD in Foods and Supplements

Marketing CBD in a supplement or foodstuff is still illegal in the United States. Nevertheless, CBD products are becoming popular, especially online. Because the supplement market is not regulated as strictly as the pharmaceutical market, the only truly isolated CBD product is prescribed CBD or Epidiolex.

Other sources of CBD may be marketed as virtually THC-free on the Internet, but you would need to check with a lab to verify this.

Prescription CBD for Children

As a prescription drug, CBD’s current FDA-approved usage is primarily for children.

But that does not mean CBD for teens or adults is safe to use under most circumstances, especially because many CBD products retain the risk of containing low amounts of THC. But is that even a danger in and of itself? Here’s what we know.

How Does CBD Affect Teens?

In its purest form, CBD is a compound that interacts with similar receptors in the brain as THC, albeit very differently. While more research is being funded on the topic, the exact mechanism of action for CBD’s neurological effects is still unknown. Furthermore, the quality of the research behind CBD is often poor or leads to inconclusive results.

Some studies indicate that using CBD for teens with autism has a positive effect on reducing symptoms of anxiety, improving behavior and calmness, and dealing with symptoms of psychosis in individuals with schizophrenia.

FDA and Off-Label Use

But while FDA approval was reached for the use of CBD for rare forms of epilepsy, the FDA does not recommend any other off-label use for the drug, and there isn’t enough concrete evidence to support the idea that the use of CBD is beneficial in any significant way. Marketing hype, internet influencers, and online anecdotes remain the core of what drives CBD’s popularity.

Medical Supervision and CBD

That may not be enough to completely dismiss CBD’s usage for some. If you are interested in trying CBD yourself or as a potential anti-anxiety alternative for a loved one, it is important to try it under the supervision of a trusted physician.

In addition to helping you locate a higher-quality source of isolated CBD, a medical professional would also be able to guide you on dosage and advise against the use of CBD in conjunction with competing medication due to potential liver toxicity. Contraindicative medication aside, however, the side effects and short-term risks of CBD use are low.

On the other hand, the long-term risks of CBD for teens and adults remain unknown.

How is CBD Sold?

Outside of prescription medication, CBD is mostly sold in the form of an additive to baked goods and beverages or in the form of oil, candy, or transdermal patches.

CBD in foodstuff can be dangerous because it is virtually impossible to tell how much you are receiving in any given portion, and because CBD partially reconverts to THC under high heat.

Oil capsules, gummies, and transdermal patches provide a more accurate dosage, with patches providing the most consistent long-term delivery via the skin. However, the efficacy of any given CBD product lies entirely in how accurate the dosage is and the quality of the CBD, down to the level to which it is isolated from THC and other cannabinoids. Without proper regulation, you are left to make a choice on your own judgment.

Is CBD for Teens as Dangerous as Marijuana?

To use a different example – cocaine is a highly addictive, highly dangerous, and illegal drug. Most people know that cocaine is dangerous, and it has developed a deserved reputation as a party drug.

Did you also know that cocaine is primarily derived from a plant? And that millions of people consume part of this plant every day? To this day, decocainized coca plants continue to play an elemental role in the production of one of the world’s most popular products: Coca-Cola.

While Coca-Cola would famously contain a few grams of cocaine per bottle in years past, the modern-day incarnation of the drink still contains an extract from the same plant that cocaine is made from.

Without its addictive alkaline, the coca leaf is not dangerous. Nevertheless, decocainized coca leaf extract production is highly regulated, and only one company in the world supplies the multinational Coca-Cola company with the ingredient it uses in its soda. The other crucial ingredient is the kola nut, which provides the drink with its only psychoactive compound: caffeine.

Similarly, research shows that hemp has its benefits once you eliminate the psychoactive THC.

But is it also harmless? Truth be told, the jury is still out on that subject.

Marijuana is Still Illegal

Marijuana continues to be a federally scheduled drug, and it is still illegal in most parts of the United States and has been since 1970. This means that while much progress has been made in researching THC and CBD in recent years, it’s still difficult to secure funding for proper studies, which means there is a lot we don’t know about the long-term uses of marijuana-based products, especially cannabinoids like CBD.

While a decocainized coca leaf no longer carries any cocaine, cannabinoids like CBD do interact with the brain, mimicking some of our own neurotransmitters, which is why it sees potential as an anti-anxiety and anti-epileptic compound.

Do Your Research

At the end of the day, teens and parents alike should beware that CBD research is still relatively in its infancy, and off-label uses for CBD – whether to treat anxiety, autism, or acne – should be seen as early evidence at best rather than concrete proof. More time is needed to learn about CBD’s potential, its mechanism of action, as well as its side effects – especially in younger teens.

If you have questions about CBD for teens, always reach out to a trusted medical professional.

For more information about teen mental health disorders, visit Visions Treatment Centers.

Parenting Treatment

Entering Your Teenager in Residential Treatment

Is your teenager vehemently against the idea of getting professional help, despite the fact that they need it? Are you out of ideas on how to get them into a residential treatment program or convince them to go see a therapist?

Depending on how your teen is acting, what their misconceptions might be, what they’re afraid of, and what they’re diagnosed with, you may have a few different ways of dealing with the hand you’ve been dealt.

What Kind of Help Does Your Teen Need?

Always look out for your child, but if your teen is worried about being sent to an inpatient facility because they feel like residential treatment or rehab is overkill, consider compromising by asking them to talk to a therapist first or engage in an outpatient program.

Sometimes, getting a foot in the door is what matters most. Once your teen is in treatment, they may reconsider a residential program as they develop a better idea of what treatment is all about and what it might entail.

Is Your Teen Worried About Treatment?

A teenager who might need professional help are anxious about receiving it. There are a number of things a teen might be worried about, even if they’re outwardly aggressive or dismissive about getting help.

For example, your teen might not want to get treatment because it might mean taking an extended break from seeing their friends and peers. Maybe they’re worried they’ll have to break up with their partner. Maybe they don’t want to feel left behind or discriminated against for being “crazy.” Or maybe they’re angry about feeling like a burden and feel like getting help will only cement that feeling.

Mental health treatments aren’t a sham or a trick – your teen stands to gain everything and lose nothing. But they have to see that.

Convincing Your Teen

Talk to your teen, over and over again. Probe them, and be sincere. What are they worried about? Why don’t they want to consider treatment? If they believe it won’t help them, then talk to them about the evidence to the contrary. They aren’t alone with their condition, and chances are that it’s treatable – if addressed early, with individual therapy, medication, and specific mental health modalities.

If they’re worried about the consequences treatment might have for their life in school or in the community, talk to them about weighing the pros and the cons. Should they stay beholden to the opinion of a few other kids and let their mental and physical health suffer as a result? Are their friends really friends if they refuse to support them or want to judge them for their mental health? Can they really trust and rely on their boyfriend or girlfriend if getting help for a serious condition is a dealbreaker?

Avoid labels, dramatic arguments, or heavy-handed threats, like a life of crime or destitution. Your teen needs to understand that this isn’t a punishment or a burden – it’s a chance at a better life, an opportunity.

It’s Not Punishment

It can be difficult to get through to a teenager if they’ve made up their mind about something, especially as a parent. While teens do generally follow in their parent’s footsteps, they’re also at an age where confrontation and contradiction are normal.

However, they might be more likely to listen to someone else. Consider talking to a therapist or professional counselor about setting up a meeting or an intervention to educate your teen on their options and convince them.

Can You Force a Teenager?

When you’re sure you have done absolutely everything in your power to try and get through to your teen on the topic of therapy and treatment, it’s time to think the unthinkable – what about getting them the help they need without their immediate consent?

It’s important to point out that this doesn’t always work out, but sometimes, you aren’t left with much choice. Some mental health conditions make seeking help nearly impossible without a significant “push” – for example, certain conduct disorders and personality disorders are dependent on denying illness, denying treatment, denying culpability, and aggressively – and sometimes even violently – confronting authority.

Considering Other Options for Treatment

Dealing with a teenager who will vehemently fight back against the idea of treatment with no room for compromise may warrant considering other options. If your teen is underaged, then you technically can consent for them, depending on your state of residence. Be sure to ask a legal professional or find out through your state’s updated legislature if minors can consent to mental health treatment – or, respectively, consent to avoid treatment.

If you are legally in control, then you can arrange for your teen to be transported to a residential treatment facility against their will. Again, this isn’t ideal, and there are many case-by-case circumstances and factors that need to be discussed with both a professional therapist and your teen before resorting to any drastic measures.

Once your teen turns 18, they are an adult, and you can’t really make them do anything, especially go to therapy or seek out treatment on their own.

Limited Privileges

You do have other means of coercing your child, such as cutting them off from certain privileges. You can’t kick a minor out of your home, but you can cut off access to their phone, car, or allowance and limit their time with friends. Again, burning bridges with your teen can be hard to undo – but it’s also important to clarify that certain behavior will reap certain consequences and that those consequences are serious.

Teen Residential Treatment Centers Can Help

If your teen is not struggling with a conduct disorder or a personality disorder, then chances are that they will eventually see reason, especially if you work with a mental health professional to help them understand the difference between the reality of residential treatment and the stereotype of mental health boot camps or psychiatric facilities.

You’re not sending your child into a Hollywood horror asylum – most residential treatment facilities focus on providing high-quality amenities for rest and relaxation and are staffed with medical professionals who will cater to your teen’s well-being and education.

For more information about residential treatment for teen mental health, reach out to Visions Treatment Centers.

Adolescence Mental Health Parenting

Red Flags in Teenage Behavior to Look Out For

We’ve heard the jokes and the comparisons before – teenagers are like little aliens, their moods change on a whim, their logic is incomprehensible, they’re incredibly difficult to deal with, and so on. While it’s true that most adults won’t remember what it’s like to think like teens, most teenage behavior still follows some sort of logic – even when it’s purely instinctual or based on very short-term benefits. But what if becomes more than that? What about the red flags in teenage behavior that nobody told you about, you know, the ones that could create a mental health condition later on?

Being a teen means transitioning from childhood into fully matured adulthood – a process that begins with the onset of puberty but lasts well into a person’s early 20s or even later. With that process come a lot of bumps and challenges. Differentiating between these and real mental health issues – which are becoming increasingly common for teens – can be difficult.

Outside of being boneheaded or self-centered, teens will often struggle with emotional maturity, consistency, and long-term planning. Sometimes, “normal” teen behavior can be conflated with a serious behavioral issue, and in other cases, it is a precursor to a serious behavioral or mental health problem.

Even if your teen infuriates you, there’s a line to draw between annoying or troublesome teen behavior and genuine mental health issues. Learning to recognize those is important, whether as a parent, friend, or close relative.

What is Normal Teenage Behavior?

Defining normal behavior is difficult. There’s the societal norm, then there’s the researched average, and the matter of what feels normal from an individual, anecdotal, or cultural perspective.

Most people can agree on a few general things about teens – such as their shortsightedness or lack of emotional maturity – but there are case-by-case differences on where normal ends and where red flags in teenage behavior may begin. There’s no real way to “treat” a teen’s sexual drive, their will towards rebellion, or their curiosity for the taboo.

For example, our laws make it illegal for kids to get drunk or engage in sexual intercourse before a certain age.

Yet despite these laws, we know that the average drinking age in the US (i.e., age of first drink) is 13-14 and that half of the population has their first sexual encounter between the ages of 16 and 20. Teens do things they shouldn’t do all the time, and we need to intervene on a case-by-case basis. But that doesn’t mean we pathologize every teen’s mistakes.

In other words, we just need to draw a line between normal individual expression and signs of pathology. In the case of the latter, your teen might be struggling with something they can’t deal with on their own, and getting help as soon as possible gives them the best chance of fighting it.

It’s the difference between trying out a beer and becoming a heavy drinker by age 17. It’s the difference between trespassing for a “prank” and routinely engaging in dangerous and illegal activities. And it’s the difference between having a teen’s typical short temper and becoming violent towards others on multiple occasions.

Important Red Flags in Teenage Behavior to Spot

Let’s start with the red flags. These are signs of a serious problem. In other words, if your teen is exhibiting one or more of these red flags, you should consider speaking with a professional and talking to your teen about counseling or therapy. These red flags include the following:

  • Heavy drinking and other signs of repeated drug use.
  • Knowingly engaging in illegal activities, including speeding or vandalism.
  • Becoming violent towards other teens or people on multiple occasions.
  • Often referencing death and talking about death, especially what it would be like if they died.
  • Frequent signs of physical injury and hiding/lying about cuts and bruises.
  • Burns and other signs of self-harm.
  • Suicide attempts.

Red flags are meant to highlight problems that most teens don’t have. While a large number of teens have had a beer or tried marijuana, most teens are not habitual users of “hard drugs” or struggling with addiction. Most teens aren’t engaged in routine illegal activities, whether it’s vandalism or theft. Most teens aren’t routinely assaulting each other or struggling with suicidal thoughts.

These are serious behavioral issues that warrant a professional opinion. There’s no point trying to diagnose your teen’s behavior yourself – it might look like addiction, but it might be a combination of drug use with a mediating mental health condition, like social anxiety. It might look like depression, but it might, in fact, be a bipolar disorder, which may require a different treatment plan.

If you’ve observed certain red flags in your teen, then seeking professional help is important.

Other Important Signs

However, you don’t need to wait for a teen to show red flags to be concerned for your teen’s mental or physical well-being.

Some of the behaviors listed below might indicate a mental health problem or personal issue, but they may also indicate that your teen needs someone to talk to or that they are finding themselves engaged in unhealthy coping mechanisms for their schoolwork or personal life. These behaviors include:

  • Illicit drug use.
  • Losing interest in old hobbies.
  • Rapid weight loss (or rapid weight gain) at an unhealthy scale.
  • Overexercising (i.e., to the point of repeated injury and/or hospitalization).
  • Social isolation (withdrawing from others).
  • Spending inordinate amounts of time online (never going outside or logging off).
  • Sudden and severe mood swings.
  • Struggling to enjoy things and being gloomy most of the time.
  • Having a very quick temper and becoming easily frustrated at minor things.

Talk About It and Get Help

Some people worry about pathologizing normal instances of negative behavior – for example, it’s normal to act out after a messy breakup or feel terrible after the loss of a loved one. Sometimes, we do things that aren’t in our best interest, and that goes for doubly for teens. We all cope in our own ways, and it isn’t always clean.

But the concern is still valid, even when there’s a “good reason” your teen might be acting a certain way. They may “snap out of it,” or it might start them down a seriously dark road as their symptoms get worse. If these behaviors apply to your loved one, keep an eye on them, and see if things get better. If they don’t – there’s still plenty of time to talk to them about getting real help.

Mental health issues are difficult to deal with, and many of them have their onset in the late teen years. Understanding why your teen is acting the way they are is important – but oftentimes, they might not even have a reason. Things like depression and anxiety can and often do develop without good cause, and their symptoms come and go without a specific trigger. If you’re concerned for yourself or your loved one, be sure to talk to a professional. At Visions Treatment Centers, we are here to help.

Communication Feelings Parenting

How to Talk to Teenagers for a Better Relationship

It’s no surprise that books on teen behavior sell millions – while we’ve all been teens at one point or another, it’s very difficult for an adult to remember what it was like, and it’s even more difficult to try and empathize with another person’s teenage behavior or mental health problems, even when they’re your child. For example, learning how to talk to teenagers to develop an awesome relationship can be unique and pose its own challenges for every situation.

How to Talk to Teenagers for a Great Relationship

If you struggle to communicate with your teen and are finding that it’s affecting your relationship, it’s time to take a step back and analyze how you approach conversations with your teen and where your inadvertent priorities lie.

1. Don’t Be a Judge, Be a Listener

Sometimes, all your teen needs is a sounding board – someone to talk to who will listen without trying to address every issue or step in with unwanted advice. This is even more important if your first reaction to your teen telling you anything is to figure out what kind of judgment you should make as a result of their experience.

If you tend to scold your teen more than anything else, don’t be surprised if they eventually stop telling you what they’re really doing and start trying to hide things.

It doesn’t matter if what your teen did was wrong – most of the time, your teen knows that. It matters more to understand why they did it and talk to them about that. Be there as your teen’s champion, your teen’s coach, your teen’s guidance – not another reflection of the world around them enumerating all the things they’ve messed up in the last week or two.

2. Don’t Try to “Fix” Their Problems, Because You Can’t

At least, not all the time. The crux of this piece of advice is not to treat every question or encounter with your teen as an opportunity to deliver a straight answer.

For example, if a teen is having trouble with their friend, avoid giving specific advice or telling them what you’d do. Let them figure out what they should do – and provide guiding principles to help them make the right choice.

Similarly, when your teen misbehaves, ask questions. What were they thinking? Did they have a plan? What do they want? As parents, it’s impossible sometimes to control certain frustrations and avoid lashing out with accusations or condemnation. But whenever possible, use the situation to help your teen navigate their problems themselves.

3. Provide Guidance

It’s a popular sentiment that teens continuously pull away from their parents on the way to adulthood, but while that is true, it’s often paired with the misconception that parents become a waning influence on the health, well-being, and personality of their children.

Teens are absolutely shaped by their parents more than any other individual at that point in their life, provided their parents are around to shape them – much more so than their peers or teachers. In fact, contrary to popular belief, it’s usually a teen’s parent-child relationship that affects who they choose as their peers, and it tends to be the greatest influence on their overall mental health and likelihood to struggle at school or with substance or drug use.

Your teens will continue to mirror your attitudes and behaviors whether they realize it or not and will be reliant on you as their main role models until they leave home. That’s a significant portion of most people’s teen years as well as their young adulthood, especially as the economy worsens and more young adults opt to live with their parents.

All this is to say that no matter how it might feel at any given point, remember that what you say, do, and think as a parent will continue to impact your teen substantially, even as they become increasingly independent.

4. Manage Your Emotions

A lot of teens thrive on eliciting conflict. It’s not really something they do on purpose – teens are just generally getting accustomed to managing their emotions and, as such, are quick to resort to the dramatic. That means yelling, screaming, “I hate you!” and running away at the first sign of confrontation.

The worst thing you can do as a parent is give in to your inner frustrations and start scolding them or lobbing insults and yells of your own. Always, always, try to keep your cool.

Again, we’ve mentioned that we aren’t robots, and frustrations can seep through sometimes. But as much as possible, you need to emphasize rising above as a parent in order to provide proper guidance and set an example of emotional maturity. Show your teen that, while it’s healthy to let loose and blow off steam sometimes, it’s never appropriate to deal with a situation – especially a problem – by venting emotionally, especially towards other people.

5. Don’t Press the Issue, A Stone Won’t Bleed

As much as it pains a lot of parents to hear this sometimes, timing is quite important. Your teen won’t be open to a conversation all the time, and you can’t always press the issue just because you demand it. Your authority isn’t absolute anymore, especially when a teen feels quite strongly about something.

All you achieve by pushing when it’s no longer time to push is a much more antagonistic teen and an increasingly frustrated mindset.

This circles back to why it’s important to treat teens as individuals. They’re at a point where their development necessitates boundaries, privacy, and the ability to make choices that matter. Teaching them that also means understanding that there will be times when they draw these boundaries against you, and you need to give them some time to calm down.

6. Don’t Escalate

This last piece of advice can be very simple and very powerful. When your teen disagrees or responds aggressively, don’t immediately match their tone. Parents sometimes think the best way to respond to a teen with aggression is by displaying that aggression back towards them, but more often than not, this just seesaws into a screaming match.

Instead, try to take a pause. A moment of silence can mean a lot more than a loud yell. Sometimes, frustrated teens – whether it’s school stress, relationship problems, or even just simple hunger – can respond to questions like “have you done the dishes yet?” or demands like “take out the garbage, like you were told twice today” with venom.

But if you give them a moment to reconsider what they’ve said with a simple, stern look, you may be surprised how often you’ll get a begrudged “okay, fine.” In moments like that, a win is a win, and it’s better than taking on their energy and spewing it back at them to no avail.

Practice Talking to Your Teen Today

Talking to teens isn’t easy. The context of any given moment, the million things on your teen’s mind, the way their emotions are at play at that given moment, and their individual personalities can make each and every conversation a minefield of its own.

Learning to deal with that takes time, patience, and a keen mind to understand how your teen tends to think and work. But it’s worth it. Becoming a better listener and developing a healthier verbal relationship with your teen can be a good predictor for positive outcomes in life, including better academic achievements and mental health.

For more information on teen mental health and treatment, visit Visions Treatment Centers.

Mental Health Parenting Therapy

Can a Teenager Refuse Mental Health Treatment?

Can a teenager refuse mental health treatment?

It’s an important question many parents ask themselves when faced with a teen who refuses to get help for their worsening mental health symptoms. The answer is that it depends. For the most part, minors cannot refuse care – but some states do insist that mental healthcare providers need a minor’s consent to continue treatment. And most therapists and psychiatrists will not work with a teen if they are not interested in seeking help, unless their care has been court-appointed.

If your teen is an adult – meaning, 18 or older – then there’s nothing you can do to force them to seek treatment. The most you can do with a teen under the age of 18 is force them to show up to the therapist’s office – but without their consent and willing participation, the whole exercise can feel a little pointless. And remember, depending on the state you live in, you may not be able to force your teen into any kind of mental health treatment without their consent.

An inpatient program can help, a little bit. You can make your minor go to rehab, but it’ll likely damage your relationship with them if it isn’t something they ever agreed to, and it can take a lot of time for them to begin opening up to the lessons they will potentially learn while in recovery. This can be a very expensive mistake.

What Should I Do If a Teen Refuses Treatment?

Depending on your teen’s condition, they may be interned in a psychiatric hospital or may be forced to go to rehab against their will. Psychiatric hospitalization is a short-term treatment plan utilized in cases where people suffer from an acute episode of self-harm, suicide, psychosis, or other mental health conditions that cause harm to themselves or others around them.

After psychiatric hospitalization, a person is often referred to an inpatient program or an intensive outpatient program, such as a partial hospitalization program, to transition back to living at home. All in all, it can take multiple weeks for them to return home and feel better.

In some cases, a court might force someone to go into rehab for their condition. Court-mandated or court-ordered rehab is only imposed in cases where people committed a crime in connection to their drug use. If your teen went on a drinking spree and drove drunk, endangering others, they may choose to go to rehab instead of facing jail time.

But if you’re aware of your teen’s condition and its worsening symptoms, you will want to fight as hard as you can to make sure it doesn’t have to come to that. You can work with a therapist to convince your teen that getting help is the best thing for them to do right now.

Should I Even Force Mental Health Treatment on My Teen?

It’s rare for your only option to be to force your teen into treatment, whether it’s a therapist’s office or an inpatient facility for drug use. You may still have options in between.

The most obvious downside to seeking forced treatment is that your teen doesn’t want it. This means they won’t be receptive to treatment. They won’t trust their treatment providers, be dismissive towards therapists and other treatment specialists and professionals, and have a harder time benefiting from treatment in any possible way.

It’s hard enough as it is to successfully seek help for conditions like teen depressiondrug addiction, and teenage anxiety and come out the other end with improved symptoms and a better quality of life. It’s much harder when you start off vehemently against the idea of getting help. However, you may have other options.

Talking to a Professional About Interventions

Interventions are basically confrontations between loved ones or family members with the goal of convincing the target person to seek the help they need. Interventions might feel famously cliché, but when done right, they can break through to a person and make them realize that getting treatment really is the best thing for them and what they need to do right now.

Teens may be becoming adults, but they’re still ultimately children, and they may be your children. Mental health symptoms can be scary and make the world a more terrifying place to be in. Seeking help might be something they’ve been conditioned to avoid or not accept, and helping them remember or learn that it’s okay to be helped can open them up to finally seeking care.

It’s important to talk from the heart here, but it’s also important to stick to the framework your therapist provides. It’s easy for interventions to break down into arguments, and that will not be conducive to your goal.

Try To “Sell” Your Teen on Mental Health Treatment

Your teen might have all manner of misconceptions about what treatment really means. Maybe they’re worried about having to take medications and being forced to endure all manner of side effects. Maybe they’ve heard horror stories about bad therapists and poor experiences in rehab centers. It’s important to talk to them about their treatment expectations and find out what it is they’re specifically worried about.

Most teens who struggle with anxiety or depression to a debilitating degree are aware of the fact that they’re different and that they might have trouble with things other people don’t.

Talk to your teen about treatment and what it might mean for them. If your teen feels like committing to treatment ignores all the problems they’re facing at home, consider making a commitment for them. Talk to a therapist about family therapy or group therapy. Take notes and apply what you learn in therapy at home together.

However, some conditions are harder to seek care for. For teens with schizophrenia, it might be hard to convince them to get help if they’re currently experiencing a psychotic break or have been more paranoid than usual.

Some personality disorders also feature paranoia as a primary symptom, which can make it harder to get treatment. Other conditions, like narcissistic personality disorder, may become violent or irritable if you imply that they need help. It may be in your best interest to talk to a therapist about approaching your teen with these conditions.

Commit To Mental Wellness at Home Together

One of the reasons group therapy is helpful to many people is because it helps remind them that they are not alone, and that they are not the only people who need help, or who are getting help. It also allows people to forge new friendships with others who have shared their experiences and have a unique insight into what it might be like to live with certain conditions.

If you and your teen both similarly struggle with certain symptoms, getting help together can not only improve your mental health but strengthen your bond as parent and child.

It’s not easy to convince someone who doesn’t think they need help that they should reach out for it. But if you reach out together, it might feel a little easier.

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