7 Signs It’s Time to Put your Teen in Counseling

Deciding when to get your teen in counseling is not always black and white. Parents can feel nervous about this step and potentially feel unsure about the stigma that comes with having their child in therapy. You are not alone in your concerns. Here are some ways to help you know when it may be time to get your teen in to see a professional counselor.

teen in counseling1. They are Asking

If your teen is asking to be in therapy, this is a good time to take the plunge. Sometimes parents may wonder if their teen is just wanting to go because their friends are doing it and it feels trendy; I have heard this concern from several parents when their teen begins seeing me. 10 times out of 10 the teen is actually doing what they know they need. The fact that they are coming to you and asking is a sign that they feel safe enough in your relationship to ask for what they need. Take this as a sign that it is time to put your teen in counseling.

2. They Seem More Withdrawn

Are you noticing your teen becoming more withdrawn lately? Are they spending more and more time isolated in their rooms, scrolling through social media, or playing video games? This could be a sign that they are not okay. Start with asking them how they are and if something is wrong. Connection with a parent is always the best thing, but if your teen continues to isolate and seems distant, it may be time to seek a professional because there might be something deeper going on.

3. They Deal with Overwhelming Anxiety

When your teen complains regularly of feeling anxious when doing normal activities, it may be time to seek professional help. Anxiety is a scary feeling and can, at times, be debilitating for teens who just want to enjoy their lives and get through their school day. If anxiety is plaguing them, consider taking them to see someone who can help them find the root of these feelings, as well as help them cope more effectively.

4. They Have Recently Experienced a Loss.

Loss can include not making the team, going through a hard breakup, losing a friend, or experiencing a death in the family. Loss is hard to deal with at any age, and for teens who are juggling school, a social life, homework, extracurricular activities, and everything in between, grieving loss can be tricky. If your teen has experienced a loss in their life, it may be a good time to get them in to talk to someone.

5. They are Hyper-Focused on Weight and Eating too Much or Too Little.

Pay attention to your teens’ eating habits and the comments they are making about food. This is a tough age with intense pressure to look a certain way. This is a common time for eating disorders to begin. If your teen seems hyper-focused on over or under-eating, this may be an indicator it is time to seek professional help.

6. They are Self Harming

If your teen is self-harming, it is time to see a professional. Self-harm is often a method of getting out deep feelings of hurt, anger, or sadness. It is a scary thing to see as a parent but it is a cry for help. If your teen is self-harming, you must get them help as soon as possible.

7. They Have Suicidal Thoughts

Finding out your teen has suicidal thoughts means it is time to get emergency help. If they have a plan and method, you need to take them to the nearest emergency room for a suicide assessment. Therapy will be the next step after they are stabilized, but do not hesitate to act if your teen is suicidal.

If any of these have you thinking it may be time to look into getting your teen into professional counseling, here are some tips for where to look for a therapist:

  • Ask your mom friends if they have any recommendations of someone they have seen or they have taken their teen to. Your people know you and are your greatest resource for a therapist who is a good fit for your teen
  • Ask around at church or place of worship. This is a great way to find a therapist who has similar values to you and your teen
  • Ask a moms group on Facebook. these groups are great for getting referrals and you can usually ask anonymously if you want to keep yours or your teen’s privacy
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Marisa Cockrell
Marisa was born in Central Texas and grew up in the small town of Belton. She attended college at Texas State (Southwest Texas back then) and met her husband there while completing her degree in elementary education. Marisa and her husband, Paul, moved to Katy, Texas in 2001 for her husband’s job as a high school pastor. Marisa worked as a teacher until her oldest son, Kaleb, was born in October of 2003. Always feeling as though she were a “girl mom”, Marisa and her husband went on to have two more boys (Caden (2006) and Grayson (2010)! When the last one came along, she decided it was time to homeschool, nurse a newborn, run a small homeschool coop, and attend seminary at the same time. Marisa attended Dallas Theological Seminary and graduated with a degree in professional counseling and theology. Marisa is now the owner and founder of Here Comes the Sun Counseling, where she enjoys walking with people through their stories of grief and pain. Marisa has hired some of the best therapists in the city, and she is committed to providing her community with counselors who are not only gifted at what they do but passionate about the people they are privileged to help. In her free time, Marisa enjoys time with family. Now a house of almost all teens, Marisa finds herself up late most nights, laughing and talking with her boys. Marisa believes that one of the coolest things about having teens is NO MORE BABYSITTERS! She thoroughly enjoys exploring new restaurants and things to do with her husband while the kids fend for themselves at home!


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