I have been a children’s therapist for over twenty years, my experience tells me that when a young person feels heard, they feel better. I often hear adults and teachers describing a young person’s behaviour as being that of a “typical teenager”, you will recognise this phrase I am sure. I have written this blog to offer a different narrative of teenagers and the uncontrollable anger older people believe exists.
The stereotype would have us believe that teenagers are a breed apart. That in some way they are less than adults because they are so full of hormones and puberty that they can barely think of anything more than sex and refusing to comply with their parents “reasonable” wishes.
We mourn the loss of the child they were before they became this teenager.
I see things differently. I believe that children and young people have a good deal of expectation placed upon them.
Before babies are born family will naturally have hopes and desires that they will crawl, walk, speak, read and develop in a timely fashion. Once they are born into our busy world parents naturally share and compare experiences and subtly this sharing takes on a competitive edge, which child knows their letters before year R, who can tie their laces before they go to school etc. You will know parents who prize these qualities.
When children arrive in school they are assessed, streamed and quantified in a way that facilitates schools in showing to the authorities and prospective parents how adept they are at making all kinds of children accomplish limited and specific tasks.
Life is about more than just reading and writing but once within the school system children will begin to develop global beliefs about themselves based on how easily they access the national curriculum.
By the time a young person reaches their teenage years they will have had a great deal done to them by older people in order for them to be useful to this version of society.
Neuroscientists tell us that as our teenage years begin our brains allow us to think critically about ourselves and how we interact with our surroundings and how our surroundings interact with us. I am not surprised that some young people are unhappy about what they find when they come into this awareness.
However, unhappy is the child that complains for should they protest they will be told they are being hormonal and abnormal and if they persist they might possibly be sent to a doctor or even CAMHS, who are able to accurately describe a variety of conditions that can be managed with medication and therapy aimed at curing them of their mental health problems that are in reality probably nothing more than a natural reaction to the life they find themselves in.
If you would like to find out a little more about the therapy I offer to young people and about how I might be able to help you, or someone you love, then please do feel free to get in touch with me, I would be happy to talk you through the way I work and how I think I can help.