Parents’ Concern about Their Teens’ Well-Being

20150312_141540As an Information and Referral Specialist, I take calls from the public, hear their stories, provide information, and refer them to community services that can provide additional support. Reflecting on the calls I’ve taken related to youth, I have noticed parents tend to call about their teenage child’s behavioural concerns. This often is associated with parent-child conflict and may include the teenager disobeying and not getting along with the parent. Parents are concerned about their teenage child’s well-being and how their rebellious behaviour is impacting the family. They find it difficult to communicate and set age-appropriate boundaries with their teenage child.

Limited Resources

20150312_141821Parents who have been having struggling with this for some time and have looked for help, express feeling frustrated with the limited resources available. They do not want to phone the police in the moment or have the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) involved. Counselling is nearly impossible if their teenage child doesn’t want to go. They are left feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and desperate. In those calls where parents feel pushed to or beyond their limits after trying everything, they may even ask about putting their child into some type of residential program.

Causes and Concerns

In my experience in supporting parents, there is an overall lack of understanding of where behavioral problems may arise from. Changes in the family structure due to parents separating or divorcing, difficulty in school, lack of connection to a supportive adult, feelings of overwhelming expectations and pressure put on them by others, and anxiety and depression are common threads in these calls. Addiction is also a common concern for parents.

Concerns of Youth

Connect_20140801_184902-1_cropWhen youth call, through their stories I hear how much they feel they are dealing with. They don’t know where to get information and support, and find it difficult to talk with an adult about drugs and addiction, eating disorders, thoughts of suicide, abuse in a relationship, unplanned pregnancy, anxiety or depression, and the myriad of other issues they or their friends may be facing. They are scared to go to an adult for help because they are worried they will get into trouble. Prevention and awareness are key to breaking the silence and stigma for youth accessing support and help.

We can Help

At bc211, we are trained and certified to connect people with the help they need. We listen, letting youth share their stories, their concerns, their hopes and ideas. We share resources and allow them to decide what support they would like to access. If you seek resources that support youth, dial or text 211, or visit the Red Book Online.