Do you find your teenager isolating themselves in their room? Does your teen struggle to keep up with and balance the normal everyday tasks? Is your teen feeling lonely despite having friends?
Everyone feels lonely at one time or another. This feeling of loneliness can push people to reach out to others for support. However, some teens do not reach out for support because they feel that something is wrong with them. Today’s teens spend much more time alone than in previous generations. Previous generations would get together with friends in person, go to parties, go to shopping malls, go to the movies, or ride around town together as soon as they were able to drive.
Loneliness may look different with your teen than it does with others. There appears to be a real loneliness that’s possible even with kids who appear to be quite social. They may be keeping a distance from their peers because they are feeling depressed and lonely. These teens might not want their peers to learn that they are lonely and depressed. Maybe their peers won’t understand and be the most supportive people. Some teens change the people they hang out with so they will not be understood or supported. They use these new “friends” to hide their feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Your teen’s personality might help determine their tolerance for loneliness. An introvert generally feels more comfortable on their own but they are choosing to spend time alone. Conversely, extroverts seem to want to be in crowds and with other people because they get energized from that experience. Therefore, if your teen usually likes to be with other people but is spending more time alone, they might be suffering from loneliness.
Social media has a significant impact on teens and their feelings of loneliness. We are wired as humans to have real world interactions which includes eye contact, touch, and listening to others. Social media seems to connect our teens virtually but it also encourages feelings of exclusion. Comparing ourselves to others is natural experience when scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. There has been a surge in adolescent depression, anxiety, and suicides which is directly correlated to an increased use of smartphones and social media.
A teen who has a fight with a close friend or breaks up with a partner will feel temporarily lonely and sad. However, depression which consistently lasts at least two weeks can be a serious issue. If you see your teen isolating themselves from friends and family like they have never done before, this might be a cause for concern. When teens pull away from any and all social relationships or don’t want to be involved in activities, parents should consider reaching out for some support from a therapist. Loneliness can lead to thoughts of death or suicide and this should be evaluated by a therapist.
Counseling Can Help Your Teen Cope With Loneliness
Many teenagers are successful at managing their loneliness, but others need some support. I have been working with teenagers with loneliness, depression, and anxiety for over twenty years. A strong relationship is vital to assist your teenager to manage their overwhelming feelings of loneliness as it provides the space to allow your teenager to feel safe. I provide a warm, compassionate, and safe environment for your teenager to share their concerns, build upon their strengths, and guide and understand the areas that need growth. Teens struggle with control and independence and I recognize this as part of my work with your teenager. The therapeutic relationship I build with your teen will provide your teen with the confidence and control they need.
Many teenagers benefit from group therapy as it provides an environment where they can voice their feelings and obtain support from others having similar feelings of loneliness. A group can help your teen feel stronger and less alone because they are understood and heard. Sometimes teens need to speak individually with a therapist before joining a group.
Many teenagers have difficulty communicating their needs to adults and working with a therapist allows them to practice advocating for themselves. Teenagers will buy into the therapeutic process if they feel that the therapist will be honest and keep their confidence. It is my belief that every teenager is unique with a different perspective. Sharing what is happening inside one’s mind can be a scary experience especially for teenagers, I help teenagers understand what is happening, provide them with the language, and help them come with the best solutions to support each one through their current situation.
Your teen will gain skills and confidence from treatment that will help them through the rest of their life. Imagine your life without the stress of your teen and their feelings of loneliness. You will be able to enjoy time with your teen and see them being successful. With the right guidance and support, your teen could feel more engaged with others, less lonely, and less depressed. If you would like your teenager to feel more secure and confident in their life, I would be honored to help. Please call 747-998-2148 to set up your free 15-minute consultation to see how teen counseling for depression could help you and your teenager.