DESTRUCTIVE TEENAGE BEHAVIOUR
Did you know your Teenager's destructive behaviour is a coping mechanism?
Do you want to find a long term solution for your Teenager's struggle?
Whether it be an eating disorder, self-harm, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, addiction, rebellion, anger, crime or substance abuse - it is hard to watch a child change into a person you no longer recognise. Often their behaviour triggers insecurity in us - the parent - as well as fear, overwhelm, and guilt at having 'failed'.
But the truth is you haven't failed. Your teenager is transitioning from childhood to adulthood. Accordingly, they need to adapt their behaviour and coping mechanisms to help them through a period of experimentation, pushing boundaries and testing relationships. And you need to remember - just like the weaning stage, the potty training stage, the feeding themselves stage - IT IS JUST A STAGE!
What they are also discovering during this critical time is that their world - which once appeared safe, secure and stable - is no longer that. Gone are the days when they were protected from harm by having a parent pick them up, set them on their knee and make things better.
For the first time, they have to face adversity, conflict, struggle, pain and suffering.
And they do so by developing COPING MECHANISMS.
Coping mechanisms are strategies we develop to minimise, mask or hide the pain (from the past), isolation (in the present) and fear (from the future) from some of the following: Discrimination and isolation from friends. Not fitting into the right social group. The competition around academic results and social media comparison. The pressure to perform, study, socially engage, choose a career, find a job, please parents, fit in at home and find a sense of belonging in a community or tribe. In addition, most teens require coping mechanisms to deal with trauma from adverse childhood experiences (ACE's)
When teenagers cannot make head or tail of their EXTERNAL environment and feel unsafe, their feelings and emotions flit all over the place, and their INNER world converts to chaos. Their coping mechanisms then serve to do one, or all, of three things: Numb the pain, release the pain, or help survive the pain.
In the same way that we need coping mechanisms to get through life's tough challenges - so do they!
My business partner Jo is an extraordinary athlete. She is one of those annoying people who can run 100k and do those long marathons with the word ultra in them! (I have to say the word ultra scares me - but then so does her level of fitness!). We know fitness is good for our Mental Health - but I cannot exercise to that level, and nor can many of us. We can, however, exercise to a lesser degree and, in doing so, adopt a healthy coping mechanism where we release happy hormones to make us feel better.