Counseling for Children and Teens

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Growing up isn’t easy. Ask any adult. It’s common for children and teens to experience problems that cause frustration, stress and anxiety about normal everyday stuff like homework, video games, bedtime, increasing academic demands and expectations for behavior that occur with age or getting along and relating to others. Whenever kids (or adults for that matter) are faced with something new – situations, demands, expectations – it’s typical to feel uncomfortable and even have some emotional ups and downs. Even though many times kids are simply dealing with the ordinary issues of growing up, their response may go beyond what would be considered expected or appropriate and their behavior gets in the way of the things they want or need to do or impacts the way the family operates. This is a sign that the child or teen is feeling overwhelmed or stressed and additional help is needed.

Common behaviors that signal children or teens are feeling overwhelmed or distressed:

  • Procrastination, tantrums, power struggles or frequent arguing
  • Easily frustrated or angry
  • Worries a lot
  • Frequently bored, sad, anxious or disinterested
  • Perfectionistic
  • Difficulty saying good-bye to parents or going to school
  • Doesn’t like schedule changes
  • Insists on doing things in a specific way
  • Refusing to follow direction or let an argument drop
  • Difficulty starting, completing or turning in homework
  • Dropping grades
  • Difficulty starting or completing tasks, homework or activities
  • Lack of interest in playing or hanging out with friends or difficulty making friends
  • Withdrawal or clinginess

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These behaviors can be caused by a challenging or distressing life event such as parental separation or divorce or loss or they can be due to lagging skills which need to be addressed and learned. Unresolved issues can impede a child or teen’s development or trigger lasting emotional states and responses that have long lasting effects for both the child or teen and parents or family.


Counseling and therapy can help when:

  • Your child or teen appears overwhelmed or distressed by lagging skills.
  • The child or teen is experiencing distress related to life events such as parental separation or divorce or loss (pets, friends, loved ones)
  • Their behaviors are interfering with their school, home, friends and other aspects of daily life or the family’s functioning
  • Other children or teens (siblings, friends, peers) are frequently unhappy or upset by the child or teen’s behavior or by adult response to that behavior
  • Your child or teen is endangering himself or threatening self-harm
  • You’ve tried everything you can think of to change your child or teen’s behavior and nothing seems to be working

Benefits of therapy

Children and teens come to therapy for several reasons. Some come to therapy to strengthen skills and relationships in order to prevent problems. Others come for support or mentoring, while still others come to work through a particular issue or concern.

Therapy can help children and teens:

  • Express feelings and thoughts appropriately and effectively
  • Communicate concerns or problems to others
  • Supports learning new ways to think and behave – all of which supports the development of important life skills such as coping with stress and frustration, problem-solving and the value of asking questions/seeking help
  • Encourages creativity and new ideas
  • Develop healthy decision-making skills
  • Find effective ways to deal with school stress such as homework, friendships, bullying or peer pressure.
  • Deal with family change such as separation, divorce, moving, serious illness, or gaining new family members

About Jeannette

Jeannette Harroun is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist/Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor in Lafayette, CA specializing in child, teen, parent and family support.
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Contact Details

3468 Mt. Diablo Blvd, #B301 (Mail: #B201)

Lafayette, CA 94549



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