Last week in Step #1 we covered the importance of setting healthy boundaries & limits in conjunction with natural consequences. Many times, parents can avoid trouble with their adolescent son by starting there.
When that doesn’t work, move to Step #2:
Step #2=Seek Counseling
Many boys don’t know how to deal with the pain that comes with adolescence; they don’t think it’s a big deal to party or rebel against the rules. If you suspect your adolescent son is experimenting with drugs and/or alcohol for relief, it’s time to seek counseling. A counselor can assess if a more extensive treatment program is necessary.
Isolating himself is another sign that he’s in trouble. Depression can ensue very quickly and is much easier to deal with when identified early. I recommend a support group and exposure to healthy, mature and responsible men. There are many organizations he can get involved in. Some examples are church groups, sports, volunteering in the community etc. It’s time to seek counseling when he disregards or refuses to interact with people.
During adolescence things are changing for him, and he’s no longer a little boy. He’s going to “test you” and push boundaries & limits, seek counseling if it’s persistent and disruptive to your family. He may need the expertise of a professional to get him to open up about the root of his pain.
If he appears to have no sense of direction. He “doesn’t think you understand or know what he’s going through.” Every adolescent boy is unique; many times a parent has a different idea or path that they feel is right for their son. It’s very important to honor his “unique self” and allow him to be himself! If he refuses to communicate and lacks motivation-seek counseling.
These situations can be dealt with most of the time by getting a licensed professional counselor involved. Look for someone that has expertise in working with adolescent males. Typically, a male counselor is a better choice for adolescent boys; they have an easier time talking with another male. It eliminates the embarrassment they can sometimes experience when talking with females.
Finally, if you don’t connect well, or get action from the licensed professional counselor you’ve selected, find another!
I advocate for the power and dynamics of family first. Many times with the coaching and involvement of a counselor the family unit can heal. Medication, in my opinion, is a last resort.
Next week I’ll cover Step #3. If after setting boundaries & limits didn’t work and enlisting the help of a counselor has also failed we’ll go over the next step.