Micro-Traumas that Lead Teens to Feel Unseen

  • A parent being distracted during an important conversation (important in the teen’s mind)
  • Being told “you can do better” on an assignment or event where the teen invested a lot of effort and is feeling proud of the result
  • Being overly criticized for a small accident — such as making a mess when they were making a snack
  • Never taking a chance for fear of failure
  • Struggling connecting in relationships and social circles
  • Being afraid to say no for fear of conflict
  • Getting stuck in a career or a series of jobs that don’t excite them
  • Financial issues due to career choice and also coping mechanisms involving spending
  • Unhealthy relationships to alcohol, drugs, work, exercise, sex, or food
  • Falling grades and checking out of academic work
  • Depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem
  • People-pleasing and codependency
  • Not quite knowing what they want out of life
  • Feeling inadequate, unlovable, unworthy

Often, these aren’t the teens who need in-depth clinical counseling. Instead, they need someone to validate them.

  • Is she overscheduled and can’t fit it all in?
  • Does she have an undiagnosed condition, such as ADHD, that she’s functioning well with but is holding her back?
  • Does she care as much about the content area as you do?
  • Is the information being presented to her in a way that she connects to?

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