A youth may leave fifth grade feeling like they are one of the ‘big kids’, only to find that in middle school they are one of the ‘little kids’ once again. There is a huge difference in maturity, ability and need between an eleven year old and a fourteen year old adolescent in middle school. The youth in early adolescence is still a child in many ways. They enter sixth grade with expectations and excitement to find out more about themselves and the world around them. They can be insecure, but brave. They can be moody and inconsistent. They can waver back and forth between wanting childhood and independence. Their relationship with their friends is extremely important. They still need their parents love and guidance.
In school, academic subjects are more demanding, and they are exposed to more teachers with different teaching styles and personalities. They have an increased ability for complex thought and abstract thinking. They have to learn to manage their time and balance academics with social activities and sports. They need to stay current with their peers on facebook and know all about popular culture – music, tv, sports, etc. Many of these youth have very little “down time” to just relax.
Studies have shown that bullying and harassment are at their peak in middle school. Experimentation with tobacco, alcohol and drugs that starts in middle school is often more difficult to stop than that started in later adolescence. Some of the issues a typical middle school student deals with today are: anger management, anxiety, depression, peer pressure, their emerging sexuality, materialistic and social competition, concern about their physical appearance, parent financial troubles, divorce, bereavement, pressure to succeed academically and at sports.
Every teen has a unique life experience. They have a story to tell about themselves, their hopes, their struggles, their failures and achievement. Teens have many things in common. They want to have fun with friends. They want to do well in school and activities. They want to be independent, discover themselves and feel good about who they are. They want to feel safe and accepted. They want to take responsibility for their actions. They want to have a future when they graduate high school. As a community we are proud of our teens and want them to have the best life has to offer.
At TeenPride, our counselors want to help each student achieve their true potential and experience high school in good health and happiness. Many students feel that they cannot talk to a parent, friend or family member about the issues that concern them. Also, they spend more time in school than anywhere else during the week. The TeenPride counselor is a trusted, skilled adult who the student can turn to during confusing or difficult times. We help the teen understand what is going on in their life and the difference between circumstances and behavior that hold them back or enable them to be successful.
We provide counseling for any issue the teen is facing. There is no topic off limits. The following is a sample list of topics in alphabetical order that we have addressed:
- Academic suspension - In school and out of school suspension
- Anger management, harassment and bullying
- Anxiety and depression
- Arrest for a criminal offense
- Emotional, mental health and behavioral issues
- Family issues and conflicts; foster care
- Financial issues due to low income and poverty
- Immigration to the U.S. orientation and referral to service agencies
- Issues causing academic difficulty, academic failure
- Pregnancy and parenting
- Rape and sexual assault
- Relationships with friends and peers; Romance and dating
- Self-esteem, loneliness
- Sexuality and sexual activity
- Stress management – academic, sports, general life, etc.