Teenagehood can be the most challenging part of growing and communicating with teenagers can become harder than you thought. There are many different factors and considerations that can be helpful when communicating with teenagers because small misunderstandings can close down the communication channel and make it hard to interact with them. There are many challenges When engaging teenagers in counselling, but there are also rewards.
There are different issues teenagers struggle with, compared to what they experienced during childhood or what they will experience in adulthood. During this stage, there is that dilemma as they feel like they need their independence but are also needing guidance. Teens, when compared to adults, have the tendency of making decisions without putting into considerations the consequences of their actions, and they feel invincible. Parents have a role in helping teenagers see the consequences of their actions. Many of these considerations will have to be put in place when counselling for teenagers.
Replacing Negative Self-Talk
When teens are going through a hard time, it’s possible they experience a lot of negative self-talk, which means the thoughts they are having about themselves are usually negative. Teens that are really struggling automatically assume that they will fail rather see the task as a positive challenge. One technique you can use when counselling teenager is helping them change these negative thoughts. Have them write down the things he/she is thinking about before the session. Go over the list with him/her changing the negative thoughts to positive. This helps to reframe the situation they are in and feel more able to deal with it.
Another technique that professional therapists use when counselling for teenagers is through group counselling. Group therapy can make things easier because the teens can realize that they are not alone in the problems and they can easily help each other out. Teenagers tend to listen more to their age mates than an adult. Getting another teenager who has gone through the same problem can be effective because they can easily relate and connect to people on their level.
Repeating Information through Questions
You have to be careful not to push teenager away by combating them over every issue. A good alternative is repeating information that you find unreasonable or irrational back to the teenager in form of a question. If a teenager says I don’t care that they don’t like me, Instead of saying Of course they like you, you can say So it doesn’t bother you that others don’t like you? How does it make you feel? When you put these statements into questions, it will not seem like you are objecting to what they are saying but instead asking follow up questions.
Getting the environment right
Find a place where you will be free from interruptions because there is nothing worse than having to start all over again after you had made progress. Ensure the teen is comfortable with the place. He/she must feel comfortable with the place in order to have a productive session. The seating should also be comfortable, and the heating and ventilation should be okay.
Pass across the message that you are there to help them and attend to the issue or problem they are having.
You should get across the message that what they are going to say will remain between the two of you and no third party is going to be part of what you are talking about. Communicating to their parents can be done to help them and with their consent. This will make it easier because they will have already known what to expect.
Getting the listening right
If you want to succeed when it comes to dealing with a teenager, then you should be able to make them know that you are listening to what they are saying. An easy way to achieve this is through attentiveness and showing that you are listening through your body language. This be through facing the teen and making eye contact. Sitting side by side can also be less threatening. Try not to interrupt them when they are still talking. By nodding and quietly saying yes, you will encourage them to open and tell you more.
When the teen has finished talking, you can report back to them through a summary of what they have just said and asking them if you got it right. When doing this, you should look and sound calm, caring, and unhurried.
Ask the right Questions
When asking questions, go with open-ended questions rather than closed questions. An open question is one that you cannot answer with a no or a yes, you have to give a more detailed answer. An example of such a question ‘What are you currently feeling about this?’ An example of a closed question is “Are you sad?”
Another disadvantage of a closed-ended question is that you can imply the response they are expected to say, forcing the child to say something that they wouldn’t have given. An example is Will you stop having a negative outlook on life? The kid will know he/she is expected to say yes.
Teens will know when you start judging them and they will not be able to listen to what you are going to say. They will also not open up to you and tell you their problems. Even if what they are saying is irrational or doesn’t make sense, try to listen and find the right way of dealing with it. This will encourage them to open up and you will be able to understand where they are coming from, and makes it easy to deal with the problem.
Counselling for teenagers Can be rewarding with the right approach, provided they know you are there to listen to what they are trying to say.