The transition to adulthood is very difficult. Parents almost always overlook this fact and the child who is making this transition, simply does not have the experiential base to understand this fact. I think it is safe to say that every “healthy” adolescent suffers greatly during this period. I would be quite suspicious of the overall health and potential of an adolescent who does not suffer during this period.
This is a challenging period of time. It is a time when you need to discover who you are, what will make you happy, are you lovable enough to be loved, will you ever find someone to love you, what career should you choose for yourself and of course hundreds of equally important questions that must also be answered.
It is a time when you simply “don’t know” but a time when you will begin to find the answers to that which you, simply “don’t know.” It is a time when adolescents often turn to drugs, begin to cut themselves, withdraw from their friends and family, and become deeply immersed in their own thoughts. Put simply — it is a time of change and that change isn’t easy or pleasant. The typical reaction from parents is to repeat endlessly, something like, “don’t worry, it’s not so bad, it’ll all get better, you are worried about nothing, just get up and move around, why don’t you call your friends, cheer up — your father and I love you.”
What I am telling you is true but you don’t know me from Adam. Why would you believe me and why should you believe me?
I’m afraid I can’t offer you a convincing argument.
I went to school for a very long time. I am well and thoroughly credentialed. I have studied issues pertinent to mental health with both a fervor and a love but still — we don’t know each other. I deeply believe in the correctness of what I am telling you. You don’t have to believe in me, you just have to do your own work to find out that what I am telling you is true.
It is true and someday you will come to find the truth in my words. Still, you don’t know me personally.
That’s where counseling comes into play. You will get to know a counselor from your personal interactions. You will go in there every week and you will get to judge not only their words but they, themselves. Maybe, you’ll decide that “they’re not too bad and that they probably know what they’re talking about.” That would be a good outcome.
Words on the Internet, can help but they are not counseling, not close, not by a long shot. Counseling can really help to make the transition from adolescence to adulthood, easier — very, very much easier. Good luck.
Dr. Kristina Randle