Okay, now things are getting really out of control.
Your teen’s behavior has reached new lows and is creating a crisis in the family. Just yesterday, you learned that they stole money from their younger sibling’s piggyback to buy marijuana.
Then, there was the argument of all arguments. You said things that you regret, and they punched a hole in the wall of their room.
Not every family has a teen in trouble, nor do they always see these behaviors.
However, these examples (and many more) highlight the reasons why it may be time for family counseling.
When Your Teen Steals
Stealing from other family members, including parents or siblings, is serious. Mainly because it crosses a line in which your teen no longer sees you as a person. At least, at the moment. All they can see is the money that’s in your wallet or the coins in the piggy bank.
Why is this happening? The simple answer is that your teen is stealing because they have a need so intense that they must go to extraordinary lengths to fulfill it. That means taking what they need at the expense of other members of the family.
When Arguments Escalate Frequently
Another sign that it’s time for family counseling is that the arguments are occurring more frequently and with more intensity. Before, it was a short spat, and it would be over. Now it’s drawn-out battles where both of you say things you regret later.
Also, things get physical. Maybe not actual fighting. Instead, a glass is smashed to the floor, or your teen punches a hole in the wall.
These are indicators that emotions are getting so high that it’s tough for your teen (and you) to maintain control, and it’s time to seek family counseling.
When Family Members are Room-Bound
On the other hand, there’s a problem when there is no interaction at all. Your teen stays in their room all the time. Even getting them to come out for meals takes a lot of effort.
What could they be doing with all that time in their room? That depends, but most likely, they are getting their needs met for fulfillment and belonging in other ways.
For instance, if they have access to a computer, playing online games. Or, they’re texting and messaging friends via social media apps. Whichever way they’re doing it, the objective is to escape their reality.
The problem, of course, is that they ignore their other family members. If you or even a sibling try to reach out, they snap back and push you away.
When the Silence Is Deafening
Even if they’re in the same room with you, it can feel as if you could hear a pin drop. The silence is so deafening you can’t stand it. They won’t engage with you.
Maybe they plug in their headphones and tune out.
Or both of you have experienced so many instances of hurt feelings that you actually prefer the silence.
When Other Family Members Are Impacted
Then there’s the effect of your teen’s behavior on other members of the family. Most immediately are siblings. They hear you and your teen argue and fight. Or, they get in arguments with your teen, too.
Extended family members also have their moments. Your teen withdraws from talking to grandparents, aunt and uncles, or cousins. These family members don’t understand all the details and may jump to conclusions.
Family therapist Columbus
If you’re wondering how to tell when it’s time for family counseling, the answer is simple. It’s when there’s a complete breakdown of function and communication between family members. And if issues are compounded, like you’re seeing depression signs and/or anxiety symptoms in your teen, and you’ve tried individual teen therapy, but it hasn’t helped the family dynamics, family counseling is definitely the next step.
Family counseling may sound like a straightforward solution. But you’ll need lots of support from a professional who understands these dynamics. Blue Boat Counseling is a Columbus OH counseling practice with teen and family therapists who can offer you that support, so please contact us for the help your family needs.