Troubled youth is a term that is often written up in the media and the suggestion is that it refers to a group of kids who have gone off the rails for a variety of reasons. The average person reading a newspaper article or watching a story on TV about troubled youth, immediately thinks that the story must be about a kid with parents who have not cared about him/her. They feel comforted by the fact that they are not part of that population and feel safe that their family will not have issues with a troubled youth. They may assume that the troubled youth in these articles have not had the opportunities that privileged kids have had and due to neglect, have gotten into situations that they are ill equipped to handle. Unfortunately, the troubled youth that come to see me are primarily from very “good” families; families who have done their very best to raise their children with the values that they feel would serve them well in the world. However, even though every effort may have been made to raise their children with love and care, they still find themselves struggling with troubled youth in their own family.
The shame and embarrassment at having a member of your own family, labeled as a “troubled youth” often keeps families from seeking the help that they need. They are worried about the stigma of being called a family with problems most specifically, identifying their own child as part of the faceless group of troubled youth whose stories are splashed across the pages of newspapers across the country. If you find yourself struggling with this shame and do not know where to turn, please know that there are options available for you. You needn’t hide the fact that you are part of the population of families, who have a troubled child. My motto has become that there is no shame is having a struggling child; the only shame is when nothing is done about it.