We help families with teens and young adults who are struggling with a variety of difficulties that are keeping them from reaching their full potential—difficulties that are also putting their health and wellbeing at risk. It is not uncommon for these issues to overlap.
Many adolescents and young adults suffer from debilitating anxiety. Anxiety is both experience and brain based, and treatments that address both are successful. We work with programs that help students work through their anxiety and develop real skills to manage their symptoms long term.
A depressed child struggles to be productive, and can be avoidant and/or act out in dangerous ways. The underlying cause of depression may be trauma, low self-esteem, attachment, or a myriad of other issues, including physiological. We find programs where students will be supported and challenged while they learn tools to manage their depression and get on a productive path.
Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are some of the most common brain-based diagnoses and can continue through adolescence into adulthood. Symptoms can make it difficult for a students to succeed in school, get along with others, and complete tasks. With the right treatment, most teens and young adults with ADHD/ADD can be successful in school and lead productive lives. We work with programs that utilize the latest research to help students learn skills, manage their symptoms, and even discover ways that students can turn this profile into a strength.
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness with recurrent episodes of mania and depression that go beyond the normal mood and behavior fluctuations that many teenagers experience. Young people are especially impacted, as it is generally diagnosed between the ages of 14-25. We support families in seeking proper diagnosis and with finding effective programming to prevent relapse, as well as helping students learn how to manage their treatment.
Many times an oppositional child is really a sensitive, hurting child who feels powerless and tries to gain control by deflecting, arguing, and rejecting everything parents say. We find programs that both determine the root cause of the behavior and establish the boundaries needed so your child can develop better coping skills.
Trauma and the grief surrounding it are often at the root of many struggles. By recognizing when trauma is the root cause of a host of behaviors, we can help a young person find a setting that will help them develop skills to cope with a life trauma, abandonment, or loss.
Failure to Launch
Turning 18 does not magically make a teen an adult. Young adults often have huge developmental gaps; they might be coping with mental health issues like depression and anxiety, lack drive and independent living skills, or might be struggling with addiction and learning difficulties that make this transition seem impossible. We work with programs that address deficits, teach skills, and allow students to attend classes and/or gain work experience. We empower young adults in decision making to facilitate successful launches.
Drugs and/or alcohol abuse
Drugs and alcohol are unfortunately a big part of many adolescents’ lives. Some students are prone to addiction, for others their use is a symptom of something else they are trying (unsuccessfully) to manage. Many young people use substances for acceptance or as a way to avoid challenges. Still others “self-medicate” when they feel anxious or depressed. Drug and alcohol use during adolescence interferes with brain development, period. We can help you determine what your child’s drug or alcohol use is about and find a place to keep them safe, address the real issues, and give them skills for sobriety.
One of the ways adolescents can take the pressure off of themselves in regard to behavior or expectations is to create havoc within the family system. By getting parents to question themselves or each other, the child can avoid and deflect their own negative behavior or stay unproductive (drugs, gaming, school refusal, etc.). By objectively viewing the family system we can help parents regain control and set clear expectations. Teens and young adults like boundaries but often fight them when they have been absent. We help parents navigate this process and develop appropriate boundaries.
Manipulation or “Borderline Traits”
A child that has been labeled “borderline” or who is manipulating or using negative coping such as “cutting” or other self-harm can throw a family into chaos and fear. Often times these children have had hospitalizations or have been involved in school- and community-based prevention programs to address these behaviors. These teens and young adults are often searching for real connections but instead create problems and drama that dig themselves deeper into a pattern. We find specific treatments and programs to help families and students develop better connections and coping to break destructive patterns.
The teenager’s “job” is to attend school and engage in activities outside the home so can they begin to develop a sense of self separate from their parents. When a child refuses to participate in school, it is typically not purely an academic issue. Anxiety, depression, learning differences, and social difficulties are often at the root of this challenge. We find nurturing environments that will gradually get your child back on track so they can be successful both academically and socially in a school environment.
Internet / Gaming Addiction
Many young people find meaning and social acceptance through internet gaming. Others are obsessed with social media or even pornography. Computers, smartphones, and social media are here to stay and young people must learn to manage these instruments. We work with programs that address technology dependence and help your child become more grounded in reality and give them skills to integrate technology into their lives in a balanced way.
Parenting adolescents can be challenging for all parents and adopted children often have additional challenges during these years. Attachment issues and identity issues come bubbling up, and they can look like many of the challenges discussed on this page. Parents find themselves at a loss as to how to help. We work with programs that specialize in this process and involve parents every step of the way to strengthen relationships.
Autism/Asperger’s Spectrum Disorders and Nonverbal Learning Disorders
When a child is on the autism spectrum many parents struggle to find ways to meet the unique challenges posed. The range of behaviors and severity of these specific issues make it imperative that the right services are in place to help the adolescent or young adult function at his or her potential. We can help with testing and resources for families including school and young adult placements.