Emotionally Intense Teens

cryingteenwithmother

A Note From The Los Angeles Teen Therapist

Sensitive, creative and independent thinking teens can often be misunderstood, mislabelled and even misdiagnosed. – Sandra

Teens who are extremely sensitive experience day-to-day life even more vividly and deeply. Because of their unique ways of perceiving the world, they may express very “emotionally intense” responses to challenges at home and at school.

I help highly sensitive clients to expand their ‘window of tolerance,’ so they are less easily triggered into states of acute stress, rage, tension, and panic. I also teach teenagers who do not fit in nicely into society’s mold how to find their tribe, and discover the place where their gifts are actually celebrated, and not merely tolerated.

A secure attachment with their parents is also essential for these teens to develop the ability to regulate their emotions and a healthy sense of self …. and it is not too late to deepen your connection with your teen. I offer a 6-week private parenting workshop where I coach parents on how to strengthen their relationship with their adolescent. I will help you understand the challenges LA teens face today, and how to communicate more effectively with your teen.

If your teen or young adult child is struggling socially or emotionally, I can help you to discover the cause and remedy it.

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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.

Teens Struggling With Anxiety

Teen doing yoga

A Note From The LA 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.

Is Your Teen Depressed?

depression teen girl cried lonely isolated on white

A Note From The LA 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.

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Worried About Your Teen? FREE Initial Consultation

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

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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 A Perfectionist?

 A Note From The Los Angeles Teen Therapist

Highly intelligent and creative teens can find themselves struggling to fit in with their peers. – Sandra

The National Association of Gifted Children came out with a list linking characteristic strengths of gifted children with possible problems that might develop.

Because of the difference between their conceptual abilities and their actual development, highly intelligent teens are able to envision outcomes that they are, as yet, unable to perform. Therefore, they frequently end up feeling frustrated and discouraged when learning new things.

By projecting “perfectionism” onto everything they do, these unrealistic self-expectations can result in feelings of inadequacy. Able to anticipate the challenges in new experiences, they can become hesitant to try new things for fear of failing.

Gifted teens can also be hypersensitive to noise, light and the emotions of others, sometimes causing overreaction and difficulty in social settings. These teens often find it easier to be in the company of people older than them.

HELPFUL HINTS:

  • Common interest groups can be helpful for meeting other teens with similar experiences.
  • Parents can help their children to understand and digest their life experiences.
  • Professionals can help normalize your teen and family’s experience.

RESOURCES:

**Note: If your teen is struggling socially or emotionally, 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.

Raising Emotionally Resilient Teenagers

A Note From The Los Angeles Teen Therapist

Children learn early on that in order to please others, they sometimes have to give up being who they are. I help teenagers re-discover their true self-expression. – Sandra

Since it is their natural inclination to want to feel connected, children may put aside their feelings to “belong.” As children try and mold themselves to fit an image that their parents, teacher or friends want them to be, they may suppress their needs to the point where they are no longer in touch with what they really feel.

Adolescence, with all the changes that accompany it, can be an intense time where teens are overwhelmed by new feelings. If teens believe that they are responsible for making other’s happy, or that others are responsible for making them happy, they become a victim of others’ choices.

While it is not uncommon for parents to have expectations that they wish their teen to fulfill, it is essential that parents also provide their children with the space to truly be seen and heard. Ultimately, the lessons you want and need to teach them are:

  • Love and appreciate yourself.
  • Stand strong in what is true for you.
  • Trust and believe in yourself.
  • Don’t waste time looking for other’s approval.

Parents typically teach what they know. If you came from a household where your parents were absent or pre-occupied with their own challenges, you may have be left to grow-up on your own. Depending upon the age difference between you and your child, you may also not yet have had the opportunity to master all of the life skills you want to teach.

In closing, it has been said that it “It takes a whole village to raise a child.” In reality, there is great value in reaching out for support during the process of laying a solid foundation for your child’s future. You are not required to do it alone. Through enlisting the help of professional resources, family, and friends, you can provide your child with the experiences necessary for them to become strong, successful and emotionally healthy young adults.

… 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 LA 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.

Is Your Teen Being Bullied?

bullyorbullied

A Note From The LA 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.

Parenting Teens After Divorce

teen-parent-talkingA Note From The LA 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 LA 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.

Should You Tell A Guy You Like Him?

A Note From The Los Angeles Teen Therapist

It is very important that you take care of your feelings and make good choices when it comes to interacting with boys. Boys usually start getting interested in girls around middle school, and if a guy likes you, he is probably going to show it. -Sandra

“I  sort of like this guy in my class, only he doesn’t know it. What should I do? Should I say something to this  guy?”

LOOK FOR SIGNS
To know if a guy likes you, you want to look for signs like whether he teases you (nicely) or makes a point of paying attention to you. Since girls act more mature than guys at this age, don’t be surprised when a guy gets uncomfortable if he finds out that you like him. He is worried about what his buddies think of him.

HANGING OUT IN GROUPS
A lot of kids prefer to hang out in groups. This allows you to be around the people you like without the pressure of feeling awkward. Middle School is a great time to become friends with guys and learn who you feel comfortable around. Do you like to be with guys who are funny? How about smart? Does it matter if he is drop dead gorgeous, if he is not a kind person?

DON’T BE IN A RUSH
Don’t be in a rush to find someone just because some of your friends may have declared they have a “boyfriend”. If the guy you like does not show interest in you, move on. Not everyone is going to appreciate your charm and beauty.

JUST ACT NORMAL
If you like a guy, just act normal. Smile and say hi when you see him. If he stops and asks you a question, be friendly and start a conversation. Find out about his hobbies, or what he likes to do on his weekends. Get to know him as a person.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR FEELINGS
What you really want to know is whether he is the kind of guy who enjoys your company and treats you with respect. Remember, take good care of your feelings by choosing to hang around guys you consider to be true friends.

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.

Teens: Looking Cool in Middle School

A Note From the LA Teen Therapist & Life Coach

Middle School is a time when the opinions of friends become very important, and pre-teens often wonder about how to fit in. – Sandra

“My bed time is way earlier than all of my friends’. They get to stay up late and watch all of the cool shows. When I see them, they’re talking about what I missed and I have no idea what to say. Should I just pretend that I know what they’re talking about?”

Adolescence is a time when you are discovering who you are and how you want to be perceived in the world. One of the challenges that everyone faces during this time is that each family has their own set of rules. The key is to respond to your parent’s requests with respect and creativity. The privilege of staying up later is something that can be earned. One option is to politely explain the situation to your parents and ask how you might earn the privilege of staying up a little later.

GET CREATIVE
Some shows that are on at night have adult language and behavior that some parents would prefer that their children not watch. It could be helpful to hear your parents opinions about the shows you are referring to. If they are open to your watching these shows, but are just concerned about you getting enough sleep on a school night, then perhaps they would consider taping them for you, and allowing you to watch them at an earlier time the following day, or on the weekend.

NEGOTIATE FOR WHAT YOU WANT
The bottom line is that there is a good chance that you will find yourself in many situations where you are not allowed to do everything that all of your friends are doing. As long as you live in your parent’s house, they will be setting some rules. The better your relationship with your parents, the better chance you have of negotiating for what it is that you want. And in those times when you don’t get your way, it’s important to know that you are not the only one who struggles with parents who set limits.

LISTEN CAREFULLY, AND ENJOY THE CONVERSATION
As for the conversations with your friends, you don’t have to pretend you know what they’re talking about. You also don’t have to reveal what time you go to bed. When you don’t know what they are talking about, try listening carefully and enjoying the conversation. Sometimes it’s nice to just be with people you like.

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.

Our Teen Is Self-Harming

depression teen girl cried lonely isolated on white

Self-harm refers to hurting oneself to relieve emotional pain or distress.

According to the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists , the most common forms of self-injurious behavior are cutting and burning, with the least common forms being pulling out bodily hairs, punching walls, and ingesting toxic substances or sharp objects. Adolescent self-harming behavior has no one single cause, cutting across cultural and socioeconomic levels. More adolescent females engage in this behavior than males, and self-harming adolescents are rarely suicidal.

Parents can play an important role in preventing their teens from engaging in self-harming behaviors. The family environment unquestionably affects your teen. When conflicts arise, family members need to be able to come together as a team to solve these situations. Teens also need to feel that their parents are there for them unconditionally. In creating firm and fair boundaries, parents can help their child learn from their behavior, while still maintaining their emotional connection with them.

Self-harming behavior speaks to that teen attempting to meet their needs. The first thing you want to do is try and understand what proceeded your teen’s decision to self-harm. You want to approach her with real curiosity — as you are her teachers, and need to help her find more effective ways of getting her needs met. If you approach her with anger, there is no open conversation available.

I encourage you to be as inquisitive and non-reactive as possible. The key to minimizing self-harm is often in alleviating the issue that motivates the self-harming behavior, whether that is stress and anxiety, depression or low self-esteem, or not knowing how to manage social pressures. Asking open ended questions as simple as “Can you tell me more about your experience?” can further open up the lines of communication and strengthen your relationship. It is important to try to understand what the nature of the situation was. How did she feel about it before, during, and after she self-harmed? What made her feel like she wanted to do it?

When teens act out, disobey, behave rudely or display disturbing emotions, it’s easy to dismiss them or their behavior as “bad” or “wrong”; however, as you go about redirecting your child, it’s helpful to see these behaviors as your teen’s best attempt to meet a need. It calls upon you to use your relationship with your teen to try and discover and remedy the source of their unmet need.

The most effective treatment for adolescents displaying self-harming behavior seems to be family therapy. A therapist with experience working with teenagers can help improve family communication, teach conflict-resolution and problem-solving skills, and help foster more meaningful and closer relationships between parents and teens.

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.

Teaching Teens Self-Respect

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Learning to love themselves is one of the most important lessons in a teen’s life.

It is not uncommon to experience a challenging adolescence. However, your teen need not shut themselves off from the world because of this. Through acknowledging their feelings of loss and disappointment, they can begin to move beyond them. It is essential for teenagers to understand how they have grown from their experiences.

Your teen also needs to know that everyone on this earth has a unique journey and expression, with different gifts and opportunities. When a teen compares themselves to others, it can negatively affect their self-esteem and confidence, making them feel envious, jealous, and even depressed. Striving to become one’s personal best is a much healthier option.

Is it time for your teen to stop focusing on the person they wish they were — and learn to acknowledge and love the person they actually are? It is essential for your teen to make the connection that they are not their actions, appearance, or worldly possessions, but rather someone who continuously strives to reach their goals, working hard when necessary, with the determination to keep going.

A mature young person will ultimately be able to make heartfelt connections, know when to say no, reach out for assistance, reflect on their feelings, forgive themselves and others, and design a life that fits their unique expression.

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.

Helping Your Teen To Grow Up

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A Note From The LA Teen Therapist

Technology, in the form of texting, video games and social media, is becoming another form of addiction for teens and young adults. – Sandra

Adolescents often to the distraction of technology while looking for an escape from unpleasant feelings. Unfortunately, these distractions are replacing the opportunity for them to learn from their discomfort, and mature emotionally. I often meet teens with the emotional maturity of a younger child, and young adults in their early 20’s still behaving like adolescents. Growing up has become something to put off as long as possible for some young people.

Young people seem to want to avoid growing up because they are afraid the fun will stop. They fear they will become like their parents. They are concerned about getting trapped in a boring existence. This is where developing maturity is key. For a truly mature person is flexible, resourceful, generous, hardworking, patient and strong, able to connect well with other people, set healthy boundaries, ask for what they want and need, and ultimately able to figure out how to get around obstacles that life presents, recover from setbacks, and create a life that they find fulfilling.

I propose that teenagers can grow up and still have fun. They can earn a living and manage their responsibilities while still having time to explore the world. They can feel all the feelings that come with living and not get buried underneath them. They can build an extended family of emotionally healthy friends who share this journey with them. They can decide to have children, or not. They can live in an environment that feeds their soul. They can create a life where they wake up when they want, eat what they want, work when they want, and play when they want, if they prepare well. Now is the time for your teen to be developing into the kind of person that can make good choices to create and sustain the type of lifestyle that they dream of.

Technology is merely a luxury designed for our convenience. Like a toaster, or radio, we were never meant to get lost in the use of them. If technology has taken over your teen’s life, you might want to set some rules for them and put technology back in it’s place. Perhaps they can learn to leave their phone outside their room when sleep. Perhaps they can learn to turn the sounds and vibrations off, and only check their phone once an hour for updates. Perhaps they can start this new mindset by taking a break altogether — resetting their relationship with technology by willingly giving their phone up for a week and finding other things to occupy their time.

To read about young people refuse to let smart-phones rule their lives CLICK HERE

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.

Teen’s Definition Of True Friends

A Note From The Los Angeles Teen Therapist

There are many people that you may know, but there is a significant difference between acquaintances and true friends.  – Sandra

Middle school can be time when people change friends quite often, as they try to figure out who they are and who they want to spend time with. Some people like to call everyone they know their “friends,” when actually, they just happen to be in the same grade or class together.

Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram have created platforms where teens are able to accumulate “friends” who are really just followers, and not necessarily interested in spending time with you, or being there for you. It’s very easy to get caught up in these superficial measures of social success.

To me, a friend is someone who shows you, over time, that they want to be with you. A true friend is someone you can talk about all types of situations with, and work things out between you when misunderstandings arise. Friendship is an investment of time in each other’s wellbeing. It is also a reciprocal relationship, where you are both giving and receiving.

… 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.

Teens Designing Their Future Life

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A Note From The Los Angeles Teen Therapist

What if you could create a life that suited your personality, creative gifts and unique style of expression? Can you relate to any of these descriptions? – Sandra

•    Trying to be perfect
•    Wanting to please everyone, and losing oneself in the process
•    Feeling isolated and alone
•    Feeling angry, but not having the skills to express oneself productively
•    Feeling socially awkward
•    Comparing oneself to “air-brushed” photos of celebrities and feeling inadequate

If you notice, the focus is outside yourself.

Being a child means being dependent upon your parents and needing to follow their rules.  This is also true for being a student, as well as a member of society. But at some point, you must learn to provide for your own needs. This requires that you be aware of your needs (which are different from your wants).

What do you like to do in your spare time? Are you comfortable being alone? Do you like to have music on while you study, or do you prefer silence? Do you enjoy hanging out with many friends, or just a few close ones? Does exercise relieve your stress? Do you need a full night’s sleep to avoid feeling irritable?

High school (and middle school) can be an intense time, filled with competition and the pressure to perform. For some of you, this translates into thinking that you are your grades, your looks, or who you hang out with. But honestly, you are not these external measures of success. You are a person with feelings and dreams of how you would like your life to be.

My encouragement is to honor that part of you that longs to find people with whom you can relax and just be yourself. I understand that your parents may have expectations that they wish you to fulfill. Part of the process of parenting is about providing opportunities for their children to experience new things and become self-sufficient. But if your parent wants you to go to medical school and you feel called to be a journalist, then there needs to be a heartfelt discussion where you can feel seen and heard.

Living life by your design is not meant against anyone, but rather as a pathway to your mental and emotional well-being. It takes an act of courage to be yourself without apology. It takes self-love to look in the mirror and see the precious person that you are. It takes self-awareness to speak your truth. These qualities are earned through making time to reflect on who you are and where you want to go with your life.

… 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.

How Is Your Teen’s Body-Image?

A Note From the Los Angeles 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?

SOCIETY’S STANDARDS
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.

ITS AN ILLUSION
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.

WORKING WITH WHAT YOU HAVE
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.

HEALTH IS BEAUTIFUL
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.

ACCEPTING ONESELF
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?

LOVING YOURSELF
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.

Finding Solutions To “Best Friend” Troubles

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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.

LA Teen Therapist’s – YouTube Videos

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A Note From The Los Angeles Teen Therapist

Please enjoy these uplifting videos depicting my work with teens. – Sandra

TEEN GIRL JOURNALING WORKBOOK

Journaling To A Happier You

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SUPPORT FOR TEENS BEING BULLIED

Or Those Being Identified As Bullies …

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FREE DOWNLOADABLE E-BOOK

“What Would Your Teen Life Coach Say?”

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MEET SANDRA DUPONT MA, MS, MFT

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.