Parenting may be the most challenging job in the world, and you never truly retire. I understand the developmental phases of childhood, appreciate the wide range of behaviors within normal, and respect the unique culture and circumstances of individual families. You likely know well your child's strengths and weaknesses. As a rule, it is best to have your child assessed for a problem before the situation gets completely out of control. It is better to over-react than to under-react when your intuition tells you that something is wrong. Sometimes parents say “There is nothing to worry about” or “I went through that and I turned out OK” or “It is just a phase all kids go through.” While that may be true we may also unconsciously minimize the seriousness of our child's behavior. I can assist you in effectively assessing your situation for your middle school, high school, or young adult children.
Adolescents in particular can be incredibly reasonable once they are treated firmly and respectfully. They are often surprisingly willing to negotiate a new set of behaviors that works for both them and their parents when the rules of the game are clear and consistent. Importantly, when a child knows that they do not have the power to pull their parents apart, they feel more secure and can adapt to two different parenting styles as long as the basic message to the child is consistent.
Children and even young adults often act out their fears in an attempt to have you or another adult uncover something which is really bothering them. When not heard they will often up the ante, increasing the danger to themselves until they are heard. Struggles I routinely encounter include issues with friendships, bullying, academics, gender confusion or emerging sexual orientation, decisions about being sexually active, the complexities of substance use, or handling separation or divorce. These serious concerns often underlie a child's or young adult's feelings of depression or anxiety and effective therapist/parent collaboration is at the nexus of my problem solving approach.