If birth and elementary school are the first couple chapters of your son or daughter’s life, let us call the adolescent years “Chapter 3”. Your teen’s story is just beginning, but some important scenes have already been written. I consider it an honor to walk alongside adolescents through a chapter or two of their lives. In my years as a counselor (and former years as an English teacher and baseball coach), I have watched the value of a safe place in the lives of many teenagers. We (parents and myself) cannot force teens to talk about any issues. But something magical happens when an adolescent has the opportunity to sit, feel, and open up in the presence of someone who cares, knows the mind and heart, and provides unconditional acceptance.
The truth is, sometimes it takes help from the outside to restore a family. This can be especially true in the life of a teen. To state the obvious, adolescence is just plain hard. I don’t know anyone who would voluntarily go back to middle school. High school may have been a bit easier, but not by much. Teenagers need a safe place to process their lives and struggles. I believe in the healing power of a one-on-one counseling relationship in an adolescent’s life. And sometimes individual counseling evolves into family counseling. Whether your teen’s struggle is identity, relationships, drugs and alcohol, anxiety, sexuality, or something else, my end goal is always connection, restored relationships, and to serve as a safe harbor as he or she processes Chapter 3.
A Place for Parents
One of the best gifts our kids can give us is the opportunity to pursue our own growth. I know, as a parent myself, I do not get excited about this either. But it is true. Our kids illuminate the issues in our own heart which need attention. Furthermore, I always tell parents the best thing they can do as a parent is their own emotional and spiritual work. So if your kids’ behavior is out of line and you have pulled out all the stops to no avail, you might take it as kick in the pants to look at the man or woman in the mirror.
I regularly walk alongside parents as they navigate the uncharted waters of parenthood. Sometimes our sessions focus on parenting techniques. Mostly we look at your own heart. As fathers and mothers, we must know our own story in order to parent from an emotionally healthy place. Plus, the better you know your own heart, the better you will see, know, and have tools to connect with your children.
I gladly help parents find a fuller sense of themselves so they can offer themselves more wholly to their kids.