We have been working with children and young people for many years, offering a safe place in which to explore the complex issues and emotional reactions to situations they find themselves in. Tracy Ede is our specialist who has worked with children and young people for over 25 years. Tracy joined Personal & Relationship Counselling six years ago and is a valued member of our team.
Young people are exploring the world and finding their place in it. They are forming identity, managing relationships and building resilience to the new situations they find themselves in. When things become difficult for someone young, it can feel like the world is collapsing around them. Not having the experience or the patience to trust in their ability to weather the storm, can lead to reactions that feel very frightening for themselves and their families.
The impact of the Covid regulations within education shouldn’t be underestimated. We have seen many young people who are struggling as a result of the isolation they have felt over the last few years. Social and physical activity help to form what we think about ourselves and differentiate us from others. It helps us to form bonds with ourselves, those around us and our environment. The opportunity for this has been missing over the last few years.
Young people can find themselves struggling with similar things to adults. What they are often lacking is the ability and experience to navigate their way to help and support, the insight to recognise it’s needed and the confidence to ask for it.
The following are some of the issues that young people and their families are often trying to make sense of;
Stress and Anxiety
At a time when life is changing quickly and there is pressure on young people to perform academically, stress and anxiety is commonly felt. Worry and anxiety displays in many ways: phobias, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and social anxiety can be debilitating. Young people are often over conscious about how they look and how they are perceived by others. They often lack the confidence, emotional intelligence and self-esteem to be able to make sense of how they feel.
Family life can be turbulent, transitions and change are difficult for us all but especially for our children who can often feel powerless dealing with confusing emotions. This can lead to a withdrawal from loved ones as commonly they don’t want to add to the problems and their behaviour and demeanour can change. Parents understandably become very concerned and can also feel powerless. It is very important to parents that their children are ok and when they aren’t, all sorts of feelings and emotions start to surface, further adding to the tensions already felt.
As young people go through school, it is common for many to come up against problems within their relationships. School environments can facilitate an unhealthy comparison to others. This can lead many to believe they aren’t good enough and unable to express themselves in ways that support self-belief. A sense of low self-esteem can develop which can be further reinforced by social media. Young people often have experience of bullying and a feeling of isolation which can have a devastating impact on them, their families and their development.
Eating Disorders/Body Dysphoria
Eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and body dysmorphia can surface as a coping mechanism against painful overwhelming emotions. They can be extremely worrying and sometimes life threatening. When they surface in our loved ones, the means to nurture through the offering of food is rejected. This is upsetting for all involved with the welfare of a young person. Disordered eating affects males and females but is most often reported in young girls.
Depression is the most common mental health disorder among young people, with research claiming that between eight and ten percent of teenagers experience symptoms at some point during their adolescence. When we feel low, we tend to withdraw from others and find it difficult to engage in social activity. Thoughts will focus on the negative and it can be difficult to feel that there is anything of value in ourselves and our lives. It is very worrying for families when a child loses an ability to feel joy and withdraws.
If you are a young person, parent or carer whose child is experiencing difficulty, please get in touch with us to arrange a free, no-obligation 15-minute phone consultation.