Helping the Struggling Adolescent: A Guide to Thirty-Six Common Problems for Counselors, Pastors, and Youth Workers

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Overview

Helping the Struggling Adolescent is your first resource to turn to when a teen you know is in trouble. Whether you're a youth worker, counselor, pastor, or teacher, this fast, ready reference is a compendium of insight on teen problems from abuse to violence and everything between. Help starts here for thirty-six common, critical concerns. Topics are arranged in alphabetical order. Each chapter gives you essential information for several vital questions: What does the specific struggle look like? Why did it happen? How can you help? When should you refer to another expert? Where can you find additional resources? Arranged in three sections, this book first gives you the basics of being an effective helper, Then it informs you on the different struggles of adolescents. The final section--a key component of this book--supplies more than forty rapid assessment tools for use with specific problems. Helping the Struggling Adolescent organizes and condenses biblical counseling issues for teens into one extremely useful volume. Keep it in arm's reach for the answers you need, right when you need them.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310234074
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 5/28/2000
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 608
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.75 (d)

Meet the Author

#1 New York Times bestselling author Les Parrott is co-founder, with his wife, Leslie, of the Center for Relationship Development on the campus of Seattle Pacific University and the bestselling author of High-Maintenance Relationships, Love the Life You Live (with Neil Clark Warren), Love Talk (with Leslie Parrott), 3 Seconds, and 25 Ways to Win with People (with John C. Maxwell). Dr. Parrott is a sought-after speaker to Fortune 500 companies and holds relationship seminars across North America. Dr. Parrott has been featured in USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. His many television appearances include The View, The O’Reilly Factor, CNN, Good Morning America, and Oprah. To learn more, visit www.lesandleslie.com

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Adolescence: A Struggle for Identity

During World War II, Erik H. Erikson coined a phrase that stuck -- identity crisis. He used it to describe the disorientation of shell-shocked soldiers who could not remember their names. Through the years, this phrase has become a useful tool to describe the struggle of growing up.

Achieving a sense of identity is the major developmental task of teenagers. Like a stunned soldier in a state of confusion, sooner or later, young people are hit with a bomb that is more powerful than dynamite -- puberty. Somewhere between childhood and maturity their bodies kick into overdrive and fuel changes at an alarming rate. With this acceleration of physical and emotional growth, they become strangers to themselves. Under attack by an arsenal of fiery hormones, the bewildered young person begins to ask, "Who am I?"

While achievement of a meaningful answer to this question is a lifelong pursuit, it is the burning challenge of adolescence. According to Erikson, having an identity -- knowing who you are -- gives adolescents a sense of control that allows them to navigate through the rest of life.

Without identities, awkward adolescents carry a "how'm-I-doing?" attitude that is always focused on their concern about impressions they are making on others. Without self-identities they will be or do whatever they think others want. They will flounder from one way of acting to another, never able to step outside of a preoccupation with their own performance and genuinely ask others, "How are you doing?" Erikson calls this miserable state "identity diffusion."(1)

The successful formation of self-identity follows a typical pattern. Teens identify with people they admire. Whether in real life or through magazines and TV, they emulate the characteristics of people they want to be like. By the end of adolescence, if all goes as it should, these identifications merge into a single identity that incorporates and alters previous identifications to make a unique and coherent whole.

The quest for identity is scary. Somewhere between twelve and twenty years of age, adolescents are forced to choose once and for all what their identity is to be. It is a formidable task. Uncertain which of their mixed emotions are really their true feelings, they are pushed to make up their minds. Their confusion is complicated further when they begin to guess what others, whose opinions they care about, want them to be.

Four Fundamental Views of the Self

• The subjective self is the adolescent's private view of who she sees herself to be. Although this self-view has been heavily influenced by parents and has been hammered out in interactions with peers, it is still her own assessment.

• The objective self is what others see when they view the adolescent. It is the person others think the teen is.

• The social self is the adolescent's perception of herself as she thinks others see her. It is what she thinks she looks like to others.

• The ideal self is the adolescent's concept of who she would like to become, her ultimate goal. (2)

For adolescents who never achieve an integrated identity, "all the world's a stage." In their adult years they will play the part of human beings who change roles to please whoever happens to be watching. Their clothes, their language, their thoughts, and their feelings are all a part of the script. Their purpose will be to receive approval from those they hope to impress. Life will become a charade, and players will never enjoy the security of personal identity or experience the strength that comes from a sense of self-worth.

How Adolescents Search for Identity

Young people look for identity in uncounted ways. In this section, seven common paths are examined: family relations, status symbols, "grown-up" behavior, rebellion, others' opinions, idols, and cliquish exclusion.

Through Family Relations

Adolescents' families have significant impact on identity formation. To assert individuality and move out of childhood, teenagers will wean themselves from their protecting parents. But individuality may also be found in reaction to the identities of one's brothers and sisters. If the first child, for example, decides to be a serious intellectual, the second may seek individuality in becoming a jokester. Seeing these places already taken, the third child may choose to be an athlete.

In some cases, when young people feel they possess no distinctive talents, they may rebel by separating themselves from the "white sheep." They may become delinquents or prodigals and gain identity by causing trouble.

Through Status Symbols

Adolescents try to establish themselves as individuals through prestige. They seek out behavior or possessions that are readily observable. They purchase sports cars, hairstyles, lettermen's jackets, skateboards, guitars, stereos, and designer clothes in hope of being identified as people who belong. Their status symbols help teens form self-identity because they themselves have what others in their group have: "the jocks," "the brains," "the Ravers," "the Straight Edgers," "the White Caps," "the Motherheads," "the Ram-Rams," or "the Goths." Owning status symbols, however, is not enough to achieve identity. Adolescents quickly recognize a struggling teen who is attempting to carve out an identity by buying the right symbols. In fact, they enjoy detecting these imposters and reinforcing their own identities by labeling them as "wanna-be's" or "posers."

To be authentic, appropriate behavior must accompany the status symbol. A "party girl," for example, must not only wear the right clothes, have the right hairstyle, and buy the right music, she must do the things a party girl does. Soon the behavior will earn the adolescent a reputation -- something she must live up to if she is to maintain her identity, and something she must live down if she is to change it.

1. E. H. Erikson, Identity: Youth and Crisis (New York: Norton, 1968).

2. A. Arkoff, Psychology and Personal Growth, 2d ed. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1980), 28 - 32.

3. J. McDowell and D. Day, Why Wait? What You Need to Know About the Teen Sexuality Crisis (San Bernardino, Calif.: Here's Life Publishers, 1987, 1994).

4. G. M. Smith and C. P. Fogg, "Teenage Drug Use: A Search for Causes and Consequences," Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 1 (1974): 426 - 29.

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Table of Contents

Contents
Acknowledgments
How to Use This Book
Part One: Effective Helping
1. Adolescence: A Struggle for Identity
2. Characteristics of Effective Helping: A Self-Inventory
3. The Heart of Helping
4. Common Pitfalls in Counseling Adolescents
5. Legal and Ethical Issues Related to Counseling
6. Avoiding Counselor Burnout: A Survival Kit
Part Two: The Struggles of Adolescents
Abuse
Anger
Anxiety
Cohabitation
Depression
Drugs and Alcohol
Eating Disorders
Forgiveness
God’s Will
Grief
Guilt
Homosexuality
Inferiority
Internet and Computer Game Addiction
Loneliness
Masturbation
Obesity
Obsessions and Compulsions
Overactivity and Work Stress
Panic Attacks
Parental Divorce
Parents
Peer Pressure
Phobias
Pornography
Promiscuity and Premarital Sex
Rage, Violence, and Gunfire
Schizophrenia
Schoolwork
Shyness
Siblings
Sleep Disturbance
Spiritual Doubt
Stuttering
Suicide
Victims of Violence
Part Three: Rapid Assessment Tools
Using and Interpreting Rapid Assessment Tools
Anger Situations Form
Are You Dying to Be Thin?
Attitudes Toward Cohabitation Questionnaire
Bulimia Test
Checklist for Making a Major Decision
Child’s Attitude Toward Father
Child’s Attitude Toward Mother
Clinical Anxiety Scale
Cognitive Slippage Scale
Compulsive Eating Scale
Compulsiveness Inventory
Concern Over Weight and Dieting Scale
Dysfunctional Attitude Scale
Eating Attitudes Test
Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scale
Fear Questionnaire
Fear Survey Schedule --- II
Generalized Contentment Scale
Goldfarb Fear of Fat Scale
Guilt Scale
Hare Self-Esteem Scale
Index of Self-Esteem
Intense Ambivalence Scale
Internal Versus External Control of Weight Scale
Internet Addiction Test
Inventory of Religious Belief
Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test
Mobility Inventory for Agoraphobia
Novaco Anger Scale
Obsessive-Compulsive Scale
Reasons for Living Inventory
Restraint Scale
Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale
Self-Efficacy Scale
Self-Rating Anxiety Scale
Self-Rating Depression Scale
Skills for Classroom Success Checklist
Skills for Study Success Checklist
Stanford Shyness Survey
State-Trait Anger Scale
Stressors Rating Scale
Teen Alert Questionnaire
Tough Turf Peer Pressure Quiz
List of Rapid Assessment Instruments Cross-referenced by Problem Area
Biblical Guidance for Struggling Adolescents
Helpful Web Sites
Index
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First Chapter

Chapter 1
Adolescence: A Struggle for Identity
During World War II, Erik H. Erikson coined a phrase that stuck --- identity crisis. He used it to describe the disorientation of shell-shocked soldiers who could not remember their names. Through the years, this phrase has become a useful tool to describe the struggle of growing up.
Achieving a sense of identity is the major developmental task of teenagers. Like a stunned soldier in a state of confusion, sooner or later, young people are hit with a bomb that is more powerful than dynamite --- puberty. Somewhere between childhood and maturity their bodies kick into overdrive and fuel changes at an alarming rate. With this acceleration of physical and emotional growth, they become strangers to themselves. Under attack by an arsenal of fiery hormones, the bewildered young person begins to ask, 'Who am I?'
While achievement of a meaningful answer to this question is a lifelong pursuit, it is the burning challenge of adolescence. According to Erikson, having an identity --- knowing who you are --- gives adolescents a sense of control that allows them to navigate through the rest of life.
Without identities, awkward adolescents carry a 'how'm-I-doing?' attitude that is always focused on their concern about impressions they are making on others. Without self-identities they will be or do whatever they think others want. They will flounder from one way of acting to another, never able to step outside of a preoccupation with their own performance and genuinely ask others, 'How are you doing?' Erikson calls this miserable state 'identity diffusion.'(1)
The successful formation of self-identity follows a typical pattern. Teens identify with people they admire. Whether in real life or through magazines and TV, they emulate the characteristics of people they want to be like. By the end of adolescence, if all goes as it should, these identifications merge into a single identity that incorporates and alters previous identifications to make a unique and coherent whole.
The quest for identity is scary. Somewhere between twelve and twenty years of age, adolescents are forced to choose once and for all what their identity is to be. It is a formidable task. Uncertain which of their mixed emotions are really their true feelings, they are pushed to make up their minds. Their confusion is complicated further when they begin to guess what others, whose opinions they care about, want them to be.
Four Fundamental Views of the Self
* The subjective self is the adolescent's private view of who she sees herself to be. Although this self-view has been heavily influenced by parents and has been hammered out in interactions with peers, it is still her own assessment.
* The objective self is what others see when they view the adolescent. It is the person others think the teen is.
* The social self is the adolescent's perception of herself as she thinks others see her. It is what she thinks she looks like to others.
* The ideal self is the adolescent's concept of who she would like to become, her ultimate goal. (2)
For adolescents who never achieve an integrated identity, 'all the world's a stage.' In their adult years they will play the part of human beings who change roles to please whoever happens to be watching. Their clothes, their language, their thoughts, and their feelings are all a part of the script. Their purpose will be to receive approval from those they hope to impress. Life will become a charade, and players will never enjoy the security of personal identity or experience the strength that comes from a sense of self-worth.
How Adolescents Search for Identity
Young people look for identity in uncounted ways. In this section, seven common paths are examined: family relations, status symbols, 'grown-up' behavior, rebellion, others' opinions, idols, and cliquish exclusion.
Through Family Relations
Adolescents' families have significant impact on identity formation. To assert individuality and move out of childhood, teenagers will wean themselves from their protecting parents. But individuality may also be found in reaction to the identities of one's brothers and sisters. If the first child, for example, decides to be a serious intellectual, the second may seek individuality in becoming a jokester. Seeing these places already taken, the third child may choose to be an athlete.
In some cases, when young people feel they possess no distinctive talents, they may rebel by separating themselves from the 'white sheep.' They may become delinquents or prodigals and gain identity by causing trouble.
Through Status Symbols
Adolescents try to establish themselves as individuals through prestige. They seek out behavior or possessions that are readily observable. They purchase sports cars, hairstyles, lettermen's jackets, skateboards, guitars, stereos, and designer clothes in hope of being identified as people who belong. Their status symbols help teens form self-identity because they themselves have what others in their group have: 'the jocks,' 'the brains,' 'the Ravers,' 'the Straight Edgers,' 'the White Caps,' 'the Motherheads,' 'the Ram-Rams,' or 'the Goths.' Owning status symbols, however, is not enough to achieve identity. Adolescents quickly recognize a struggling teen who is attempting to carve out an identity by buying the right symbols. In fact, they enjoy detecting these imposters and reinforcing their own identities by labeling them as 'wanna-be's' or 'posers.'
To be authentic, appropriate behavior must accompany the status symbol. A 'party girl,' for example, must not only wear the right clothes, have the right hairstyle, and buy the right music, she must do the things a party girl does. Soon the behavior will earn the adolescent a reputation --- something she must live up to if she is to maintain her identity, and something she must live down if she is to change it.

1. E. H. Erikson, Identity: Youth and Crisis (New York: Norton, 1968).
2. A. Arkoff, Psychology and Personal Growth, 2d ed. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1980), 28 -- 32.
3. J. McDowell and D. Day, Why Wait? What You Need to Know About the Teen Sexuality Crisis (San Bernardino, Calif.: Here's Life Publishers, 1987, 1994).
4. G. M. Smith and C. P. Fogg, 'Teenage Drug Use: A Search for Causes and Consequences,' Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 1 (1974): 426 -- 29.

Read More Show Less

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