Luis reported feeling anxious, stressed, frustrated, and easily irritated when he first came to KYFS for counseling. He told his counselor that he had been fighting with his parents since starting high school. Many of the arguments stemmed from the fact that Luis’ grades had dropped and his parents threatened to send him to live with his grandparents if he didn’t improve. He said this made his stress and anxiety worse.

In counseling, Luis created a clear list of goals to work on – improving the relationship with his parents was at the top of the list. Exploration of his family life revealed that Luis’ parents, both born in Latin America, were strict because according to Luis, “They had to start working to support their families at a young age.” Luis recognized his parents made sacrifices for their children with the hope of providing them a better life here. This understanding helped Luis to see things from his parents’ point of view.

Luis also wanted his parents to see things from his point of view. He wanted his parents to understand his life as a teen was “different” than theirs. Luis and his therapist role-played conversations he wanted to have with his parents. He practiced using “I” statements to express himself and improving his ability to express his feelings, respectfully.

Although nervous to talk with his parents at first, Luis noticed with practice things became easier. Luis shared his goals with his parents which he reported made his parents feel proud of him. Luis was able to share why time away from home to do things with friends felt important to him which helped him feel better and understood by his parents.

Luis worked hard to improve his grades and his parents agreed to provide him with more independence with his friends. After several months in counseling, Luis reported less anxiety, stress, frustration, and irritability. Luis said counseling helped him identify what he wanted to change and how to successfully make those changes.

-Kent Youth and Family Services

Nathan Box

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