In many ways, getting a diagnosis for your teen’s personality disorder is a relief. It can also feel overwhelming and scary. But having a diagnosis gives you and your teen a way forward with a treatment plan.
This is the first step in helping your teen work through his struggles with a personality disorder.
Helping your teen, first steps
Perhaps one of the most important first steps that you can take is to help your teen accept and understand his diagnosis. The sense of relief at finally having a diagnosis may soon be replaced with a sense of concern and worry. Your teen is going to need your steady guidance as he moves forward.
Sit down with your teen and find out what questions they may have about their diagnosis. Perhaps you can ask these questions at the next visit with their doctor, or you can do some research yourself to get the answers you need. It’s so important that your teen gets all of his answers to each of the questions that he has.
If he doesn’t get those answers, there is the potential that he could fill in the blanks with negative thought patterns and poor behavior as he doesn’t know how to cope well with everything that he is feeling and thinking.
Once your teen understands his diagnosis and how it will require a new path to help him adapt and cope better. It’s important that your teen understand and feel that he is supported, heard, and not alone in everything that he faces and struggles with. Your unconditional support is perhaps the most crucial thing your teen needs in terms of help as he navigates life with a personality disorder.
Another important way to help your teen is to ensure he keeps up with his therapy appointments. It may be that your teen has to attend several appointments a week initially until he is stable.
Medication can prove helpful for many teens with a personality disorder. Be sure you are also helping your teen keep up with his medicine if he is on any. He will need to take the medication on time to ensure it can start working.
You and your teen will need to be aware of any possible side effects of the medication and monitor him if they begin to become a concern.
At some point, your teen will need to learn how to advocate for himself as he gets treatment for his personality disorder and navigates a world that may not understand him. Until that time arrives, you will need to advocate for your teen and teach him how he can be his own best advocate in the future.
Connecting with peers is so important
Next to your support, one of the most important things you can do for your teen is to help him connect with peer support groups. Peer support will offer your teen so much help and support, in a way that differs from what you can provide.
Indeed, your support is going to be exceptionally important for your teen. But peer support is entirely different as this is perhaps the number one way your teenager will feel genuinely understood.
There are a few other ways that peer support can benefit your teen:
- Teens can often find it easier to open up to one another versus opening up to the adults in their lives.
- Hearing the stories from others who feel like your teen does can help him to better understand what he is going through.
- Support from his peers can help your teen through some of those more difficult moments.
- Many teen peer support groups have a similar support group for parents of the teens. You may be able to find the support that you need as you help your teen.
Finding these peer support groups may be challenging if you don’t know where to start. Here are some tips:
- Speak to your teen’s therapist for any resources that they may be able to provide. A therapist with experience treating teen personality disorders will be well-versed in addressing the needs of a teen struggling with one or more types of personality disorders.
- Find out whether peer support groups are offered at your teen’s school or other groups like area churches and community centers.
- Look on social media support groups for both teens and parents of teens with personality disorders. Not only will you likely find online support through many of these groups, but you may be able to find more information that’ll direct you to local sources of support for both you and your teen.
While your teen certainly needs support from multiple directions, you also need support. You’ll need help from your parenting partner and other family members. You are your teen’s number one source of support. Who is yours?
Getting additional support
While there are many great ways to provide your teen with the support he needs, you may find that it’s not entirely what he needs. Outpatient treatments and services can offer wonderful options for your teen as he focuses on establishing a new normal.
That said, an inpatient solution may be better for a teen who has been in crisis while adapting to treatment. Whether a therapeutic boarding school or similar option, your teen can focus on the treatment he needs in a safe, stable, and supportive environment.
It may not be your first choice to consider sending your teen away from home, but it may be the best option to help him.
If you are looking for the right type of resources to help your teen with a personality disorder, HelpYourTeenNow can prove to be the right choice. We can connect parents and teens with the resources they need to help find a positive way forward.