No one assumes that parenting a teenager is going to be easy. We all approach it with a certain amount of fear and trepidation. And rightfully so! Adolescence is a time of change and development as our sweet and sometimes not-so-sweet children emerge from the chrysalis of childhood to search for their identity as young men and women. Some of them do the identity search independently, some do it quietly, and some do it kicking and screaming the whole way. In many cases, the person you thought was your child turns into something quite unrecognizable.
We use the term “Extreme Teens” to refer to the kids who have lost their way and are falling behind their peers in the struggle to develop their autonomy, their independence, a solid sense of identity, and real maturity. Their “symptoms” include substance use, self harm, anxiety, depression, sexual acting out, friend group changes, social media craziness, truancy or school refusal, disrespect, isolating, and more. Their immature behavior can leave parents wondering on a number of fronts:
- What am I doing wrong?
- Am I doing too much for him/her?
- Am I paying attention enough?
- Should I let him/her suffer the consequences of poor choices?
- How can I help her if she won’t talk to me?
- How do I keep my child safe?
- How do I hold a limit with him?
- Why won’t she listen to my advice?
- Why is he so angry at me?
- What do I do about substance use?
- How do I deal with his/her other parent?
- What happened to my baby????!!
At the Parenting the Extreme Teen we look at teenagers through the lens of something called the Maturity Model. Using material from Dr. John McKinnon’s book An Unchanged Mind, we help you figure out how to connect with your teen, see your teen accurately, and set limits effectively. And let’s be clear — it is not easy. This bi-weekly support group will allow you to share as much of your struggle as you are comfortable sharing with other parents who are also trying to figure this out.
We will help keep you on top of developing strategies that you can implement. Some of these strategies will sound very familiar to you, because we often know what to do. And equally often, we get in our own way when it comes to doing what we know we need to do. Parenting the Extreme Teen helps you look at yourself, and what gets in the way, because, let’s face it — we are the only person we really have control over anyway.
Parenting the Extreme Teen is a blame-free zone. We don’t blame your child and we don’t blame you. We try our best to understand and be compassionate about where the teen is coming from and to accept our own imperfect parenting selves. Parenting is not something that anyone does perfectly and we don’t expect that. This is an opportunity to be human and flawed and not judge or be judged, but to just be curious about how to do things differently.
Come and join us! Go to http://www.creeksidetherapy.ca to Schedule an Appointment to see the dates we meet on. $20 per session.
And stay tuned because soon we will have more dates for our Workshop Series on Parenting the Extreme Teen. These are more formalized trainings offered through Tara McGee from Collingwood Psychotherapy and Yoga Centre that complement the Support Group.