Addictive behaviors in children and teens
Are you worried about the amount of time your child or teen is
spending on their phone? Is your child spending his or her life playing
video games? Has your teen started vaping or using other substances?
As parents, addictive behaviors in children and teens can leave us feeling
helpless and out of control. It is important to understand these
behaviors have underlying causes. With treatment, we can help your
child develop healthy coping skills and move forward into a happy and
Signs of addictive behavior in children and teens
Sometimes problematic behavior is obvious. When we see our child
spending too much time playing video games, we know things need to change. When our teen comes home and it's clear he or she has been drinking or smoking marijuana, again we know something is wrong. But sometimes we're not sure; we only know that our child's behavior has begun to change and we are not sure why.
If your child's behavior has changed or if you are noticing a change in their emotional or mental health such as increased levels of anxiety or sadness, you need to be proactive and find out what's wrong. Below are some of the signs your child or teen may be struggling:
Displaying anxious or worried behavior
Signs of depression
Isolating themselves from others
Hanging out with the wrong crowd
Having toxic relationships with peers, or in some cases, a toxic romantic relationship
Give your child the skills they need for life
When we educate our children about their behaviors, emotions, and how their brains and bodies are impacting how they feel, we can help them access their own strengths and natural coping mechanisms. It is important to understand that addiction is always an attempt at coping with the challenges we encounter in life. Addiction can function as an escape or a way to manage strong emotions.
In therapy, we teach your child how to cope with difficult feelings while developing skills that will propel them forward in a positive way. Research shows that during childhood and adolescence, our ability to regulate emotions and cope with stress has a substantial impact on our success in academics as well as peer and family relationships.
Addressing family dynamics is also important for children and teens who are struggling, as a child's development and wellbeing do not exist in a vacuum and are profoundly impacted by their closest relationships. In therapy, we work to protect the integrity of family relationships and help create a healthy and supportive environment for all family members. If one person is struggling, the entire family is affected. Therapy, whether individual or with the entire family, will help to address current struggles while working to help your child develop the skills they need to create a happy, healthy, and successful life.