Being a teenager is hard. You couldn’t pay me a million dollars to go back and do it again. Swirling with emotions and hormones, longing to belong AND be unique, a desire for autonomy while still dependent, plus a frontal cortex bursting with abstract thinking, taking the mind into the vastness of the universe with no containment…
Poor things. No wonder they get into trouble, seeking coping skills for this uncomfortable experience. Unfortunately that translates into drugs, sex, codependent relationships and many other unhealthy coping strategies.
So what helps?! The thing that helped me survive those formidable years was art. I expressed my inner turmoil through images. I took the feelings and the questions and the confusion and moved it through me, into a paintbrush and onto a canvas. In that form, it could be shared with others in a disguised way that was socially acceptable. My mom couldn’t handle my dramatic outbursts but she could be proud of my paintings. And my experience was validated.
Teens can truly use guidance during these years. What if someone taught them healthy coping skills?! What if someone taught them the intelligence of emotions and what to do with them?! What if they could develop a creative skill that would help them deal and be a productive contribution to the world?!
This is possible and needed for many teens. They are still young enough that many are connected to some form of creative expression: writing, drawing, painting, singing, music… There’s a reason for that! Expression is needed during this time. I love helping teens learn to utilize their creativity for healthy coping. I offer one on one counseling andopen art making time in community. Art is a path towards health and growth.
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