Teens struggling with an identity crisis can also have trouble with depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other mental health problems. If you are concerned that your teen’s responses to identity issues are detrimental to his mental health, consider seeking outside help. Many teens struggling with identity benefit from attending a therapeutic boarding school for troubled boys. Students receive individualized treatment from trained therapists to help them feel more confident in themselves.
Signs of identity issues in teens
You can expect your teen son to go through some new phases during their teen and tween years, but how can you tell if it’s an identity crisis?
Some signs of identity issues in teens include:
They rely on the acceptance of others to feel self-worth.
Their behavior changes based on who they’re around.
They regularly make self-deprecating comments.
Their opinions and values seem to change all the time.
They won’t give their opinion on anything.
Their peer group changes significantly or frequently.
They start bullying other kids.
They start using/abusing drugs or alcohol.
They start engaging in criminal behavior.
Helping your teen through their identity issues
It’s not always easy for teens to feel confident in themselves. Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take to help your teen through their identity issues.
Help them identify their values
Part of the problem for many teens is not knowing where they stand on things. They want to fit in with their friends, but they also want to have their own opinions. A good start to feeling confident in their identity is knowing where they stand on important issues. Have your teen make a list of things that are important to them.
Keep in mind these don’t have to be major world issues. This list could include people, places, things, or ideas. By identifying what’s most important to them, they will have a good starting point for figuring out their identity.
Question why they like the things they do
Make sure your teen knows that you aren’t judgmental about what they like. If they feel like you’re judgy, they might shut down. Encourage them to examine why they like certain things. Why do they like the music they listen to? Why do they like to dress the way they do? Why do they like the friends they hang out with?
As your teen starts genuinely thinking about why they like certain things, they’ll get a better idea of who they are. Your teen’s identity can be formed by understanding what they like and making choices based on those likes. Rather than just going with the flow, they can learn to make more purposeful decisions.
If your teen refuses to talk to you about their life, consider bringing them to see a therapist. Having an impartial third party to talk to can help teens who are worried about being judged. Your teen likely wants to feel more secure in their identity as well, but they might be too self-conscious to talk to you about it.
At Sundance Canyon Academy, our therapists are trained to work with students who struggle with identity issues. By working one-on-one with their counselors, students learn to identify their values and make decisions based on those values. Contact us today to find out how our school can help your son.