For some teens, navigating the social side of life can feel daunting, anxiety provoking, and complex.
Adolescence is a time for strengthening autonomy and connecting with friends who share common interests and ambitions. In fact, friends can sometimes become the center of a teen’s universe and therefore have a significant influence on one’s thinking and behavior. Peer pressure can serve to be a motivator for some teens to try new extracurricular and social activities and/or undertake a new academic challenge. However, peer pressure can also lead to poor decision-making among teens, and increase exposure to drugs, alcohol, tobacco (“juuling”) and premature sex.
Recent research shows that accessibility to social media such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Tumblr can be a positive means for teens to communicate with others, be “liked,” increase socialization, and serve as a forum to share beliefs and opinions. Though, social media can also play an integral role in causing depression, anxiety and decreased self-confidence in teens. Research suggests that exposure to social media increases chances of potential cyberbullying, aggression and addictive tendencies. In addition, many teens express that text messages and posts can lead to misunderstandings within peer groups, embarrassment, anger and, in some instances, disruptions to social reputations that are often difficult to repair. When situations like this occur, it can feel very isolating and concerning. Some teens may withdrawal themselves socially due to feeling like they just cannot “connect” anymore. Small disappointments may present bigger than expected challenges and feelings of hopelessness and thoughts like “things will never get better” can be a driving force in how teens perceive the world. Sometimes these negative thoughts and feelings can lead to suicidal ideation or even an intent or plan to harm oneself.
Therapy with one of Metta’s licensed therapists or psychologists will help teens sort through important thoughts and feelings related to identity formation. Teens will develop self-advocacy approaches to manage the dynamics of social life, while also learning mindfulness techniques, and emotion regulation strategies to manage overall stress. Our therapists are highly experienced in supporting teens in this process by providing a safe, non-judgmental, and nurturing environment.