Social & Emotional Support

Adolescence is an exciting and challenging time for kids. The hormones, the brain development, and the social identity formation add a few extra hurdles to our time in middle school. Your counselor can help by meeting with students for short check ins, working with small groups of students, giving classroom guidance lessons, planning assemblies, and facilitating meetings with parents and staff concerning social and emotional topics.

It is really important that children, parents, and educators understand the difference between normal/expected adolescent behavior and concerning adolescent behavior. Read on to explore and at the bottom of the page, you can find some online resources. Contact your counselor if you have a concern or a question.

Normal Adolescent Behavior:

  • Wanting to spend more time with peers and less time with family

  • Reluctance to get up early for school

  • Needing more sleep or developing a larger appetite during growth spurts

  • Sadness and anxiety following fights with friends or a breakup with a boy/girlfriend

  • Some light risk-taking

  • Turning to a beloved pet for comfort instead of a parent or friend

  • Worrying about physical appearance and trying to fit in

  • Argue for sake of arguing

  • Jump to conclusions

Concerning Adolescent Behavior:

  • Not wanting to spend time with either family or friends, i.e. shunning all social activity

  • Absolute refusal to attend school—especially if this behavior happens suddenly and accompanies other signs of distress or depression

  • Sudden changes in energy levels, i.e. sleeping abnormally long or not being able to sleep at all; sudden changes in appetite, i.e. consistent overeating or undereating accompanied by quick fluctuations in weight

  • Sadness and anxiety that doesn’t correct itself or decrease in intensity after a few days to a couple weeks.

  • Extremely risky behavior and/or delinquent behavior, including disregard for house rules, parents’ concerns, or laws of society; turning to cutting as a form of emotional and physical release

  • Sudden and significant changes in eating behaviors or over-exercising

Info/Resources for parents:

https://childmind.org/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/surviving-your-childs-adolescence

https://kids.usa.gov/teens/index.html