Adolescent Difficulties

Difficulties in adolescence can be overwhelming. Adolescence is a challenging time – a time to deal with forces that shape the self and direct the search for identity. As a teen there are so many pressures to deal with. Not only is the body changing and hormones raging, there is also a need to fit in at school, make friends, deal with homework and SATs, make decisions about the future, and submit college applications. Home life can be hectic too as the adolescent moves toward independence and strives for more self-control.

Often with the onset of adolescence, problems between parents and teenagers occur. These problems arise from adolescent separation. Parents complain that their adolescent does not want to talk to them anymore, locks themself in their room, and that they- the parent- feel left out and ignored. The adolescent often complains that the parent does not understand them, does not respect their need for privacy, and is restrictive of their personal freedoms. The parent complains that the adolescent is combative and resistant to their authority, direction, and rules.

There are a number of warning signs that the parent may need to seek outside help. These include aggressive behavior or violence, drug or alcohol abuse, promiscuity, school truancy, incidents with the law, or runaway behavior. If the parent is resorting to hitting or other violent behavior in an attempt to maintain discipline, this is also a danger sign.

How can DBT help?

DBT is designed to address skill deficits in emotion regulation, impulse control, assertiveness, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. The most common issues that present as adolescent difficulties are:

  • Self-injurious Behaviors
  • Impulsive/disruptive behaviors
  • Eating Disorders
  • Anger Management
  • Stress Management
  • Drug and/or Alcohol Abuse
  • Peer Conflict
  • Family Conflict
  • Mood Swings
  • Suicidality