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Especially when we are going through hard times

The following is a portion of an essay from a 16 year old student.

"Teens are sometimes not able to express themselves easily. Some kids deal with anorexia, bulimia, trying to look good, not being too fat, not being too thin, pressure from friends, fear of having no friends, being told we have the wrong friends.

Sometimes when parents observe troubling behaviors in their children they lose their common sense in attempts to help. They will buy an expensive gift or take them on a luxury trip, hoping it will show their child how much they are loved. Some will send their child off to camp for the summer so when they return they will be ‘fixed.’ By doing things like this the most reasonable solutions and steps to recovery will have been overlooked.

One of the hardest, but simplest things a parent can do is listen, especially when your teen is going through hard times. If the child is harming herself, being able to talk with you might help her make the first step toward recovery. Through that process the parents and teens will uncover things that maybe led to the destructive behavior. The process of finding the source and dealing with it will not be fast or simple, but at the end the family will be left with closeness and a positive outlook for times ahead.

Listening is not a parent’s first instinct or idea on how to help their teen, but it truly will reap the most benefits in the long run. By talking less and listening more, parents will have a better understanding of what their child is going through. When they are listening instead of talking it makes it easier for us to approach them with problems.

Even if your teen does not want to talk, just being there and sitting with us can be comforting. The presence of someone who cares is the best treatment for a vulnerable or emotionally unstable teen. In a time filled with loneliness someone with an open mind and open ears is the most needed.”


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