Teen Therapy Center Blog

"My daughter thinks cheating is the only way to get into a good college. How do I help her stay motivated?"

We have a very interesting question for this week's Tips on Teens that deals with the recent scandals surrounding college admissions. How would you deal with a teen who essentially gives up because of the unfairness in admissions that has been exposed? Kent is here to share his professional opinion. Here’s the question:

"My daughter is starting to give up on school. She’s always been a good student, but she’s falling behind this semester. She says she’ll never get to a good college because the only way to get there is by cheating. She thinks that the recent college admissions scandal is how people get to good universities. I’m trying to convince her that with hard work she can get to the schools that she likes, but she can’t just give up. How do I help her stay motivated?"

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"How am I supposed to remain composed and supportive when my son keeps shutting me out?"

It can be hard to know what’s going on in your teenager’s head, especially when all you really want to do is help them and they keep giving you the cold shoulder! Being a parent of a teen is far from easy. This week’s Tips on Teens addresses a parenting question from a parent wondering how to handle being constantly shut down by her teen. Here’s the question:

"How am I supposed to remain composed and supportive when my son keeps shutting me out? I have a 13 year old son who has become so rigid lately. I feel like I can’t say anything right and he’ll just completely reject me or shut me out of almost anything. I really want to be there for him and support him but he really doesn’t give the chance. Honestly, it hurts and I feel like I’m being taken for granted. I’m really at a loss."

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"My teenager has ADHD can’t focus on her homework. How do we help her do well in school?"

School and homework are easily some of the more common causes of arguments with families we’ve seen. Now if you factor in ADHD and medication, things become more complicated. This week's Tips on Teens looks at a question from a parent wondering how to deal with a situation like that. Here's the question:

"My teenager can’t focus on her homework. She’s very smart and is capable of being an A student. There are always things to distract her. Sometimes she does the work, but won’t turn it in. This is causing big arguments between the two of us and arguments between me and my wife. She’s ADHD and takes medication but we don’t want to give her a booster after school because we want her to eat and the medication suppresses her appetite. How do we help her do well in school without the arguing?"

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"My 14 year old son thinks he is ugly. I think he looks fine. What should I do?"

It is fairly common for a teen to have an exaggerated view of his or her own self-image. But how can a parent help their child if this happens to be the case? Society and social media put a lot of pressure on teens to look a certain way, which can make it very difficult to foster a healthy self-image. This week's Tips on Teens answers a question from a mother concerned about how to help her son. Here's the question:

"My 14 year old son thinks he is ugly. He hates taking photos and selfies, so there are almost no photos of him now. He doesn't take care of himself, because he thinks that he is so ugly that nothing can help. I think he looks fine, but he always says I think so only because I am his mom. What should I do?"

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"What should I do to make sure my son doesn’t get into more fights?"

It’s hard to know what to do when your kid gets into a fight at school. This week’s Tips on Teens question comes from a parent concerned that his 6th grade son recently got into a fight. Kent is here to give his advice on this topic. Here’s the question:

"My son is in 6th grade and got into his first fight at school. Both boys got suspended. No one got seriously hurt. What should I do to make sure that he doesn’t get into more fights?"

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"Is what we are doing in regards to nudity inappropriate?"

When is nudity appropriate around the house with kids? At what age does this become a boundary issue? This week's Tips on Teens looks at a question from a father regarding nudity in the household. Here’s the question:

"I was hoping to get some reassurance on our views on nudity around the house. My wife and I thinks it’s totally fine for our kids and us to be naked around the house from time to time but some of our extended family has been giving us a hard time about it. They think it’s inappropriate. I honestly believe it’s important that we as parents don’t create shame around our bodies and nudity. We have two children, one age 8 and the other 11. Is what we are doing in regards to nudity inappropriate?"

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"How do I stop my 11 year old son from being so disrespectful to his sisters?"

It's often difficult for parents to know the difference between "sibling rivalry" and unacceptable behavior. This week’s Tips on Teens question comes from a concerned parent about his 11 year old son's behavior toward his sisters. Here's the question:

"How do I stop my 11 year old son from being so disrespectful to his sisters? I am constantly yelling at him to stop chasing and teasing them. They are older, so I don’t think he’ll hurt them, but I’m afraid that he will learn to be disrespectful and anti social to women in general as he gets older and hurt someone and get arrested."

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"What can I do to help my son lose weight?"

Overeating can be a serious mental health problem that is often overlooked until it gets out of hand. This week on Tips on Teens, Kent answers a question from a mother concerned about her son’s weight and eating habits. Here’s the question:

"I was hoping to get some advice on my 14 year old son. He’s extremely overweight and I’ve done all I can to try to help him lose weight. He’s over 300 pounds and is constantly eating unhealthy food, fast food, sweets, and so on. My husband and I try to limit how much he is allowed to eat, but we find that at nights he’ll sneak into the fridge and take food he’s not supposed to be eating. We confront him on this every time, but it never sticks. I’m so worried because I know this is taking years off his life. We’ve taken him to a nutritionist, therapist, doctor, and nothing is working. What do I do to help him lose weight?"

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"What can we do to help limit our son’s screen time peacefully?"

Many parents have to set rules with their kids in order to limit screen time, and we know that is not an easy task. This week on Tips on Teens, Kent answers a question from a mother who needs help enforcing these limitations in a peaceful manner. Here’s the question:

"Our 16 year old son is addicted to his computer and phone. Two weeks ago, my husband and I decided we needed to do something. We limited his computer and phone use to 2 hours per night on the weekdays (which we think is pretty generous…). Anyways, he’s been putting up a fight. We constantly find him on for longer than the allowed time and every single night has been a battle to get him off. I really don’t know how to get through this even though we know it’s best for him. What can we do to help limit his screen time peacefully?"

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"Can you shed some light on the effects of participation trophies on kids?"

The idea of giving participation trophies has always been a topic of debate since it was first introduced. Some think these trophies help validate kids for simply trying, while others believe it teaches kids the wrong lessons about reward and hard work. This week’s Tips on Teens parenting question asks about more insight into this hot topic. Here it is:

"I coach my 9 year old twin daughters in little league. They are very good and it’s important to me that they understand that hard work leads to success. I have a problem with participation trophies. I think that it’s undermining kids’ ability to connect hard work with success because now everyone wants a pat on the back for every little thing they do. I think if you don’t win the championship then you don’t get a trophy. Maybe that will make kids work harder next season to achieve their goals. I’ve brought this up with the little league leadership and it fell on deaf ears. Tryouts are coming up and I want my girls to play to win. At the end of the season, if they have not earned first place, I want them to not accept their participation trophies at the team banquet. My wife disagrees with me. Can you shed some light on the effects of participation trophies on kids?"

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"How long should we stick with our daughter’s therapist before we call it quits?"

It’s often difficult to know if and when therapy is being effective. How can you know, as a parent, if your teen’s therapist is the right fit? This week’s parenting question touches on that topic. Kent offers his advice on this multi-layered question! Here it is:

"My daughter has been seeing the same therapist for about 6 months. We like her a lot, but I wonder if we are really accomplishing anything. My daughter seems a tiny bit better, but I'm not sure if we are getting our money's worth. How long should we stick with this therapist before we call it quits or turn to someone else for help?"

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"What can I do to help my son get over his shyness?"

Shyness is not always a bad thing, in fact it’s often quite normal to a degree. However, what can a parent do when severe shyness causes their child to be totally isolated and alone? Kent offers his advice on how to best help a teen who is overly shy. Here’s the question:

"What can I do to help my son get over his shyness? The only time he hangs out with anyone is when his older brother has his friends over. He has no friends his age. He is extremely shy and afraid to even talk to anyone his age. It’s like he has zero confidence and I have no idea where that comes from. His mother and I are very outgoing, as is his older brother. We thought he’d grow out of it but he hasn’t. It’s concerning because if he stays this way he won’t be able to get anywhere in life and I imagine he’ll be very lonely as well."

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"How do we get our son to see that his girlfriend is using him?"

It's the holiday season... which means extra expenses. But what do you do when your teenage son or daughter wants to spend a lot of money on his or her partner? For this week's Tips on Teens, we received a question from a dad who isn't sure how to handle this situation. Here's the question:

"My son is convinced that he needs to buy his girlfriend something really expensive for Christmas. He’s afraid she’ll be upset with him if the gift isn’t something really nice. My wife and I think it’s pretty ridiculous and we know this girl is just using him. How do we get him to see that?"

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"Social norms are changing because of technology, but is it good for personal development?"

It's no secret that teens are isolating (at least physically) more and more as a result of electronics and technology. We received a very thought provoking parenting question and Kent will be giving his insight on this matter for this Tips on Teens. Here's the question:

"This current generation of young people is not only okay with identifying as “not liking people,” but it is actually celebrated to be anti social. It’s like a badge of courage to not socialize at all face to face. I’m not saying force kids to get out of the house but... I realize social norms are changing because of technology. But is it good for personal development?"

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"My daughter is about to flunk Algebra 2. How do I get her back on track?"

Dealing with homework and school grades has always been a major point of anxiety and stress for most parents.  This week's Tips on Teens answers a question from a parent who is very worried that her daughter will flunk one of her classes. Here's the question:

"My daughter is a junior in High School and she’s about to flunk Algebra 2.  She’s never had a problem with math before. I’m so stressed out and worried about this I almost can’t even sleep.  She’s been doing very well up until this point and junior year is the most important for college applications.  It’s frustrating me so much because she’s squandering her opportunities to get into a good college.  How do I help her get back on track?"

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