Teens Coping With Anxiety

Teen doing yoga

A Note From The L.A. Teen Therapist

If your teen stressed out or anxious about school or friends, I can help them learn to self-soothe and self-reflect. – Sandra

When a teen is willing to talk about their fears and anxieties, I try to listen carefully and respectfully, without discounting their feelings. I help them understand that increased feelings of judgement and/or embarrassment about their body, performance, and peer relationships are fairly common in adolescence.

Some teens are naturally more shy and quiet than others. As their bodies, voices, and emotions are going through changes, this population may become even more self-conscious. In extreme cases,  the adolescent may isolate themselves, unable to overcome their intense feelings of self-doubt and worry.

By encouraging your teen to examine their situations and experiences, I help them reduce the overwhelming nature of their feelings. Although their concerns may be real, there are techniques I can teach them to better manage their stress and anxiety.

Extreme anxiety in teens often benefits from a therapeutic intervention. Talk therapy, role-playing, conscious breathing exercises can help turn this painful situation around. An effective treatment plan is individualized to your teenager and family. While anxiety disorders can cause considerable upset in your teen’s life, the prognosis is very good.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Initial Consultation.

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

How Is Your Teen’s Body-Image?

A Note From the L.A. Teen Therapist 

Do you know anyone who looks beautiful from the outside, but are really not nice people? Have you noticed others who are not beauty queens, but you love being with them?

Its not uncommon for teen girls to compare themselves to the airbrushed images of today’s fashion models. The media is full of photos of teens who appear to look flawless.

Without make-up, perfect lighting and good camera angles, the teen girls you see on television and billboards do not look the same as they do in real life. They get pimples and have bad hair days–like everyone else.

Each person is born with a unique look. The size and shape of one’s facial features as well as one’s body shape is usually a combination of genetics. Thus teens needs to learn how to work with what they’ve got.

Have you noticed that teens who eat fresh fruit and vegetables, and drink plenty of water seem to have good skin? Teens who exercise regularly also seem to have nice muscle tone and fit well in their clothes.

Before your teen decides to change, you may want to ask them a couple of questions. Who are they changing for? Who are they comparing themselves to? What do they like about themselves? What can they realistically change?

If they decide to make some changes, make sure they come from a place of loving themselves … for their physical appearance is just a small part of who you really are. (And hopefully, the friends they choose to surround themselves with are wise enough to know this)

If your teen is struggling, I can help you to discover the cause and remedy it. I invite you take that critical next step, and allow me to demonstrate the support I can offer to you and your family.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Is Your Teen Depressed?

depression teen girl cried lonely isolated on white

A Note From The L.A. Teen Therapist

Teen depression seems to be on the increase. What is causing this epidemic in our teenagers? ~ Sandra

During the teenage years, the pressure to conform with their peers can be incredibly strong. Social media, advertising and television are all telling kids how they are supposed to look and feel, and what is important in life.

A teen’s natural expression, talents, achievement and character can look inadequate next to trends being promoted through social media. Kids who feel different or deprived may spiral down into self-judgement, and loathing. Depression has been the result of changes in our society where a teen’s needs for companionship, healthy goals, responsibility, connection to others and life-meaning are not being met.

Parents are often distressed by their teen’s pain, and lack of interest in activities. Yet, pushing for a different outcome without addressing the cause simply creates more pressure, and distance between the parent and their child. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, “The idea that one must be, and look, endlessly cheerful is a destructive and daunting expectation for teens. In actuality, it is perfectly normal to experience “the blues.” He went on to suggest that kids need to learn that happiness is not some end point to be achieved, but rather something that occurs in moments … and that more a more effective goal is to seek a sense of peace and contentment through life’s ups and downs, learn how to see and accept life as is, and find ways to respond appropriately to each situation.

It is important for parents to make a distinction between Situational Depression; a normal reaction to stressful situations or losses, and Clinical Depression; believed to be caused by brain chemistry and not related to external situations. Regardless of the cause, it can be beneficial for teens to work through these periods with help from a trained professional. Emotional well-being means learning how to find resilience, contentment, comfort, and serenity among the various expressions of one’s moods. This is a journey that occurs as one matures. If your teen is in crisis, I would be happy to asses the situation and help remedy it.

.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Is Your Teen Being Bullied?

bullyorbullied

A Note From The L.A. Teen Therapist

A solid anti-bullying campaign starts in the home – with loving parents. – Sandra

“As a father, I will serve as the champion defender for my son. I do not want him to be the target of a bully’s reckless comments, but I cannot isolate him in a protective bubble. He will, one day, feel the sting of someone’s deliberate arrows of cruelty. And to prepare him, I will spend plenty of time coaching my son on how to neutralize the comments from an angry peer.” ~ Nick Vujicic

UNDERSTANDING BULLIES:
Many times a bully is seeking power. If they don’t receive a sense of having some legitimate power at home – because they are in an environment where they are constantly being told what to do, as well as how and when to do it – they may seek power outside the home which can present in the form of bullying.

I also think it is important for us to understand that kids who are bullied may be attracting the attention of the other kids in ways that make them feel uncomfortable. Perhaps they are smaller, acting in unusual ways, suffering from mental or emotional challenges, or lacking maturity and/or social skills. The bully then exploits these other kid’s discomfort by leading them to pick on the victim – or simply react out of their own discomfort.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PARENTS:
We live in a world where differences in preference and opinion abound. Teaching your teen self-love and acceptance, and helping them to be comfortable in their own skin will enable them to respond in ways that will prevent the bullies from deriving the satisfaction they are seeking from their bullying behavior.

There are also ways to handle insults from bullies that can remove their sting. For example, if someone makes a mocking comment about one’s clothes, hair, accent or physical features, a simple response could be to say: “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Thank you for sharing yours.” For the bully is seeking a particular response from their victim, and when they fail to get that response, the bullying stops being fun for them. Unless the bully is pathologically disturbed, simple techniques like using humor or walking away can resolve the situation.

Of course, physical violence must be dealt with through adult intervention, with the intention of creating a corrective experience (i.e., anger management classes for the bully and emotional support for the victim). However, I want to caution parents to not get caught up in rejecting attitudes toward bullies as this can create humiliation and shame, a contributing factor behind bullying behavior.

It is up to parents and teachers to truly listen, as well as keep the lines of communication open with the children in their care. It is essential that kids to realize that they do not have to handle being bullied – alone. Working together, we can find a way for victims and bullies alike, to safely get assistance.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Tips On Parenting Teenagers

A Note From The L.A. Teen Therapist and Life Coach

Parenting teens is an entirely different job than parenting small children. – Sandra

Parents must make the transition from being a parent who provides for all their child’s needs to one who coaches their teen to handle their frustrations and needs for themselves. The challenge is how to deal with the willfulness, clinging, or the demands typical of this period.

Parents need to be able to respond to their teen in ways that affirm the dignity and power of both parent and child. The parent who cannot tolerate their teen choosing to defy them, by wanting to do things independently of their parents, will make that child feel as though the price of their autonomy is the loss of love.

Successful navigation of this phase of life involves setting boundaries and enforcing consequences without becoming punitive, angry, or judgmental. Respectful parenting involves seeing the frustrations teens encounter when pushing against imposed boundaries as opportunities for them to exercise the muscles of self-control, self-respect, and respect for others.

The parenting role must shift during the teen years to supporting their growing independence and preparing them to meet the challenges & frustrations of daily life. Your responsibility as a parent is to teach your child the skills they will need to succeed in the world prior to leaving your home. Respectful, conscious and positive parenting is fair, flexible, and has learning, rather than submission as its goal. Every word, facial expression, gesture, or action on the part of a parent gives the child some message about self-worth.

Hearing and respecting feelings, allowing choice, yet setting fair and clear limits on unacceptable behavior is the healthy balance that we should all strive for. Some parents use authoritarian parenting strategies that do not allow the child an independent voice or sense of efficacy. Other parents overcompensate with overly permissive parenting that doesn’t teach kids about limits and self-control. Research shows both extremes can interfere with kids’ ability to regulate their emotions and form healthy relationships as adults. Learning to cope with uncomfortable feelings is a crucial part of developing into a mature adult. 

… EMPOWERING TEENS TO BE THEIR BEST SELVES.

“The best example of Sandra’s work is in my daughter’s renewed enthusiasm and attitude towards life. My daughter now sees every problem as one that can be solved, every uncomfortable experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. Sandra’s work with my daughter has helped her become a more secure, confident and happy individual.”

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Finding Solutions To “Best Friend” Troubles

teenbestfriends

Q: I’ve been having been fighting a lot with my best friend recently, and am not sure if this relationship can be salvaged. Any suggestions?

A: I imagine that you have invested a lot into your relationship with your best friend, and would be sorry to lose it. At the same time, people change during high school, therefore it’s important to reevaluate your relationship, and your participation in your relationship, from time to time. The following questions can help you reflect upon whether your relationship can be healed, and how to go about doing so:

1. Do you truly like this girl?
2. Do you believe she truly cares about you?
3. List 3 major things that you believe would improve your relationship.
4. Would you be willing to calmly and non-judgment ally communicate this information to her?
5. How do you imagine she would respond to a calm and non-judgmental discussion about your friendship?
6. Is there anything you would be willing to offer to do differently on your end to help your relationship further grow and evolve?
7. Are you truly able to see and accept her for who she is?
8. Are the things you want to change in her perhaps a part of what makes her who she is?
9. Are you willing to negotiate and find a middle ground in your differing opinions about your relationship, or would you rather be right about her not living up to your expectations?
10. Are you taking her needs into consideration as well as your own, when you think about your frustrations with her?
11. Why do you imagine she acts the way that she does? What purpose does it serve for her?
12. Is fighting with her the most effective way to encourage her to be the friend that you want her to be?
13. Are you perhaps asking more of her than she is able to give?
14. Are you perhaps looking to her to fulfill needs that might be better fulfilled by your family, a boyfriend or your therapist?
15. What would need to change for you to want to continue this relationship?

Sometimes, talking to a trusted adult, like a parent, teacher, aunt or therapist, can help you gain a different perspective and find your way through troubling experiences – like these.

… EMPOWERING TEENS TO BE THEIR BEST SELVES.

“The best example of Sandra’s work is in my daughter’s renewed enthusiasm and attitude towards life. My daughter now sees every problem as one that can be solved, every uncomfortable experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. Sandra’s work with my daughter has helped her become a more secure, confident and happy individual.”

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Get Teen Boys To Treat You With Respect

A Note From the L.A. Teen Therapist & Life Coach

Teen girls need to decide what types of behavior they are willing to tolerate from teen boys.  – Sandra

I know that it can be aggravating when guy friends tease you, but did you know that teasing is a very common form of play among guys? If you observe groups of guys who are friends, whether they be young or old, you will often hear them teasing each other. The fact that they are teasing you probably means that they like you.

At a certain age, being treated with respect becomes very important to a girl. Adolescence is a time when girls and guys start practicing more grown up behavior. During this time, however, girls tend to mature a faster than their male friends. Thus, they may still treat you like one of the guys, instead of the way you would prefer.

If the teasing is getting to be too much for you, you may want to consider setting boundaries. This means that you politely excuse yourself from situations where you don’t feel comfortable. Essentially, you are giving them a clear message that their behavior is not okay with you.

Only you can decide what types of behavior you are willing to tolerate. The good new is that as guys get older, you will discover that your male friends will put more effort into trying to please you. The key is to communicate your feelings in a polite and open manner.

Girls and guys often see the world differently. It is important to remember that during adolescence, you are learning about each other through your interactions. Patience, kindness, and forgiveness go a long way towards building a bridge between you. At the same time, you have a right to decide how you want to be treated, and its up to you to choose your friends wisely.

… EMPOWERING TEENS TO BE THEIR BEST SELVES.

“The best example of Sandra’s work is in my daughter’s renewed enthusiasm and attitude towards life. My daughter now sees every problem as one that can be solved, every uncomfortable experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. Sandra’s work with my daughter has helped her become a more secure, confident and happy individual.”

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Parenting Teens After Divorce

depression teen girl cried lonely isolated on white
A Note From The L.A. Teen Therapist

It’s often difficult for teens whose parents have split apart. Read on for helpful tips. – Sandra

A teen doesn’t like the feeling that he or she must act as a messenger between hostile parents. Adolescents want parents to talk with each other so that the messages are communicated the right way, and don’t feel like they are going to mess up. It is unfair to make your teen carry messages to your “ex” because you find it too awkward or aggravating to do so yourself.

Avoid arguing and discussing child support issues in front of your teen. Most teens upon hearing these things feel that their existence is a burden on their parents. Do not put your teen in the middle of your child support disputes.

It hurts your teen very much to hear one loved parent criticize the other loved parent. When teens hear bad things about one parent, they hear bad things about half of themselves. Even if you are sure you’re right, try to avoid criticizing the other parent around your kids.

DESTRUCTIVE REMARKS THAT YOU SHOULD AVOID:

  • You’re lazy/stubborn/bad tempered, just like your mother/father.
  • Your mother/father put you up to saying that.
  • Your dad/mom doesn’t love any of us or he/she wouldn’t have left us.
  • You can’t trust her/him.
  • He/she was just no good.
  • If she/he loved you, she/he would send your support checks on time.
  • Someday you’ll leave me too, just like your father/mother.

All of these remarks raise fear and anxiety in your teen.

It is very difficult for the teen of divorced parents to cope with feeling “caught in the middle.” If they want to tell you about time spent with their other parent (and they usually don’t), listen closely and politely, and then stop. Encourage your teen to love both parents.

Asking your teen to take your side in any situation regarding your ex-spouse can create a tremendous amount of stress for your teen. Your teen wants to love both of his or her parents. Avoid putting teens in the position of having to take sides.

Complaining to your teen about how lonely you feel makes them feel guilty and sad. It’s not healthy for a teen to be consumed with worry for their parents’ ability to survive. Let your teen be a teenager.

Your teen will have the best chance of growing up to be a functional human male or female with both parents as role models and nurturers. This means that there should be some way of them having access to the good each parent has to offer.”

(Acknowledging Ruben Francia)

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Your Teen’s Academic Success

A Note From the L.A. Teen Therapist & Life Coach

When children become teenagers they embark upon a journey of forming a separate identity. – Sandra

The following tips will help you support your teen in embracing the learning experience as well as developing a love of learning and the strength of character to persist beyond failures.

LEARNING STYLE
People learn differently. Some learn from listening to lectures or reading, while others learn best with visual aids or hands-on projects. If a teacher’s style doesn’t match your teen’s learning style, students can supplement learning by using flash cards or sketching diagrams to aid in memorizing new material.

When taking notes, it may be useful for your teen to draw a sketch of something that helps the information stick in their mind. During class, students should listen for key words or phrases the teacher emphasizes, write them down, and highlight them so they are easily recognizable when reviewing their notes.

PLANNING
It is important for teens to understand their homework assignments and write them in their phone notebook, daily planner or notepad. Include specific details about what is expected and the assignment due date.

If your teen devotes enough time to do good work, they’ll have greater means to succeed. Estimating how much time is needed to read a book, write a paper or prepare for an exam will help your teen establish an effective study schedule.

ORGANIZATION
Organizing study notes helps students find information quickly when preparing for exams. This can be accomplished with highlighters, colored pens and post-its. Flagging information while reading makes it easy to return to. Highlight or write important topics, phrases or terms in a new color pen so they stand out.

Nobody benefits from completing an assignment, but forgetting to turn it in. At this stage, teachers have little patience for the excuse, “I left my homework at home.” After homework is finished, teens should put homework in their binder or backpack, and set it next to the door so they can grab it and go the next morning.

COMMUNICATION
If your teen can develop a good relationship with each teacher, they’ll feel more comfortable asking questions and clarifying expectations, even if they don’t personally like the teacher.

STUDY SPACE AND TIME
Some people prefer a quiet study environment while others benefit from listening to soft music. A comfortable study space should reflect the student’s style, but it should also be free of distraction. I recommend that cell phones and social media be off limits during study time.

Teens can optimize learning by getting adequate rest, taking breaks, and being physically and emotionally healthy. Establishing bedtime limits and a nightly routine of reading or listening to relaxing music prior to bed helps teens get the sleep they need.

Test prep involves more than just studying. Teens need to be rested, alert, calm, confident and comfortable. Plan ahead to avoid distractions such as hunger pangs or feeling cold. It is also important to learn how to manage the time given for an exam and allot a certain number of minutes to each section of the exam.

HOMEWORK HABITS
Instead of watching television or plugging in to the Internet upon arriving home from school, I recommend using them as a reward for after homework has been completed. Consider establishing healthy homework habits such as:

• Homework is done immediately after school.
• Take short breaks every 45 minutes or so to re-focus attention.
• If self-discipline is an issue, homework can be done in the kitchen or common areas instead of their room.
• All social media is off-limits until homework is finished.
• Cell phone is only accessible when homework is finished.

CHECKING IN
As the new school year begins, check in with your teen by asking what they think of their teachers and how they are feeling about the subjects they are studying. Once school is underway check in daily or weekly by asking about their assignments and what they are learning. If, as time goes on, your teen expresses continuous feelings of helplessness or hopelessness this could mean a couple of things:

• They need assistance beyond the time spent in class to understand new information, and thus a tutor may prove helpful.
• They may have a learning disorder that needs to be better understood like ADD, dyslexia, or a sensory processing disorder. (There are tests as well as treatments designed to help address these challenges.)
• They could be struggling with depression, bullying, low self-esteem or even substance abuse.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

AP Courses vs. Character Building?

A Note From the LA Teen Therapist & Life Coach

A college education has become the norm to strive for in many American families. – Sandra

Does our educational system need to be revamped?

Parents pour money into private schools in an attempt to give their child the cutting edge. Teens load up on AP courses to compete for places in the college of their choice. Yet, young graduates, diplomas in hand, commonly struggle to find the job of their dreams after college.

Do we need to consider the possibility that not all children would benefit from college, and offer them viable alternatives in the form of trade and technical schools? Instead of simply loading on more coursework, setting standards that leave adolescents feeling depressed and overcommitted, perhaps its time to consider some other approaches to preparing our youth to become productive members of society.

“Grades Matter, But…”

According to Sheldon Horrowitz, Ed.D. “Grades alone cannot capture the breadth and depth of what a child has learned, how they have personalized their knowledge in ways that better prepare them for post-secondary education or the workplace – or whether they are prepared to be confident and contributing members of society.” In his article “Grades matter, but…” he illuminates the fact that the challenge for children with learning difficulties is to “exit high school undefeated by repeated hurtles” – as they struggle to meet the requirements of testing and grading.

As a therapist for teenagers, I often hear how parents and their children wait with baited breath for the weekly online assessment of the child’s test and homework scores. The whole thrust has become one of obsession with grades. Teenagers, on the average spend around 7 hours in school and another 2 to 3 hours of homework. This does not include the extracurricular activities that college bound students participate in to enhance their college application. This type of schedule literally fills a child’s day from breakfast until bedtime, with no downtime for self-reflection or regeneration.

I leave you with this question: If teens were feeling more peaceful and fulfilled in their academic experience, would substance abuse, bullying and self-harm diminish?

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.