“I don’t want to disappoint you. I don’t want to be a bad kid. I’m doing the best I can but I need help…I don’t like when you yell at me or put me down and if I could do better, I would. I just don’t know how…”
That’s what they want you to know…
If you have a difficult or challenging youth that you are repeatedly frustrated and angry with, I’d bet if you asked them the statements above as questions, their answers would confirm it.
While we know these things about Chloe (it took YEARS for US to get it), I was reminded how much some of our struggling youth need us to understand this.
I was contacted recently by a teen girl our family has known for a while, asking if I’d talk to her about some tough stuff she’d been facing. She said she had tried to talk with friends about it and even her dad but felt like no one cared or would listen.
She told me how she was feeling really depressed a lot but other times she would feel angry or just fine. She said that she used to be able to handle her depression when she was in middle school but when she got to high school, she’s felt like it’s been harder to control. Plus, she said she has a difficult time focusing, and even though she tries really hard in school, she’s still failing most of her classes.
Besides trying to talk with her friends or dad about it, she has also met with her school counselor but says it doesn’t really help. She commented that her dad tells her she needs more sleep. And, she said his focus is only on her grades not how she’s doing. She says when he’s so focused on school, she gets really stressed out and then depressed because she can’t do better and she feels worse about worse about herself.
Quite the cycle for both dad and daughter… What I have learned from my own experience, other parents and through education is that you (parents) do want the best for your kids AND your kids desperately want your approval. If you have a child that you struggle with or is difficult, look deeper. I can almost guarantee you something else is going on. Consider seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist for an evaluation. And, if you don’t want to, ask yourself why? Think about the best and worst outcome of trying or not trying something different.
If you need some guidance of how to approach a difficult youth, take a look at a previous blog post HERE or to get support.