Relationship Struggles: When to Step In
September 11, 2019
Your daughter is suddenly dropped by her friend group. Or your son’s buddy seems to be taking advantage of him. When as a parent do you step in and help? “For run-of the mill conflict, stand back and let teens work things out,” said Casey Ferguson, LIMHP, CHI Health Clinic licensed mental health practitioner. “Step in when it’s an issue of safety – if there is bullying for example.” If you do step in, do so carefully.
“A good approach is to pose questions,” Ferguson said, such as:
- What would you tell a friend to do in this situation?
- How does it feel when your friend does this?
- Is this a relationship you enjoy, or is it just convenient?
Listen and avoid getting in the middle of the conflict. Letting teens find their way will ultimately empower them in the future. “When we rescue kids, they don’t grow from the experience of working through conflict, which is essential for developing long-term healthy relationships,” Ferguson said.
Online Diagnosis: There's a Quiz for That
Depressed or anxious? Bipolar or schizophrenic?
There’s an online quiz for that. Teens searching online might even stumble across issues they’ve never heard of before, like type D personality. Alice in Wonderland Syndrome? Yes, there’s a site for that.
The upside of all that online information? “If a depression checklist prompts teens to go to their parents for help, that’s a good thing,” said Casey Ferguson, LIMHP, CHI Health Clinic licensed mental health practitioner.
The downside of online searching? “Not all sources are reputable, and can lead kids down a path that doesn’t really apply to them and cause them undue distress.” There’s even a diagnosis for obsessive online symptom checking: cyberchondria.
Ferguson’s advice for parents? “If your child comes to you with an online diagnosis, listen to the symptoms and take them seriously. A licensed mental health practitioner can help you determine if supportive therapy is all that is needed, or if more formal treatment would be beneficial.”