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Getting Teens Help When They Need It Most at the Family Enrichment Center

September 07, 2022

Being a teenager isn’t always easy. Many of us know this from our own experiences. “It’s a time of rapid physical and mental development,” said Cara McPhee, LMSW, program coordinator for Specialized Teen Services in the Family Enrichment Center at The Hospital of Central Connecticut. “This is a time in their lives when they’re shaping their identity, forming world views, becoming aware of their sexuality and looking for their independence.” > Connect with the Family Enrichment Center at The Hospital of Central Connecticut

What behaviors could indicate my teen is having issues?

> Want more health news? Text MoreLife to 31996 to sign up for text alerts “Teens should be getting eight to 10 hours of sleep a night. If not, it could impact their behavior,” McPhee explains. “Knowing who your teens are hanging out with is also important. If they suddenly have a new group of friends it could lead to impulsivity or risk-taking behaviors.”

Why is my teen taking risks, becoming impulsive?

McPhee says risk-taking behaviors are common among teens as they try to find their place in the world. Adding that type of behavior, along with peer pressure, can sometimes lead to lack of boundaries, poor choices and promiscuity. “What we’ve noticed over the last three decades in the Family Enrichment Center is that teen pregnancy and promiscuity is not just a contraceptive issue – it’s also tied to lack of direction and dreams for the future,” says McPhee. “You want kids, especially teens, to have self-esteem and goals. Talking about these plans, what they want to do with their life and the opportunities available to them just prior to those teen years can greatly help them avoid going down the wrong path or getting involved with the wrong crowd because they have a sense of purpose.”

How can my teen get help?

Parents or teens can reach out to the Family Enrichment Center if they are in need of help or guidance. Some of the services offered through the Specialized Teen Services include:
  • Individual counseling
  • Social support groups
  • Academic support
  • Short and long term life planning
  • Birth control and reproductive education
  • Additional community resources as needed
“Their teen years are really building the foundation for their adult life and it’s so important that parents, grandparents, and teens themselves, realize that making good, healthy decisions is so important. We’re here to make sure that happens and provide support that can be life-changing.” Teen services through the Family Enrichment Center are offered in English and Spanish and are free of charge – funded through the Connecticut Department of Public Health.