Unhealthy Privacy: Is Your Teenager Isolating?

Teenagers are social by nature, especially with their peers. The teenage years are also a time of growing independence. Your teenage daughter may assert this independence by spending more time by herself when she’s at home and asking others to respect her privacy by knocking before they enter her room.

This is normal and does not necessarily mean your daughter has a problem. Everyone needs a little privacy every once in a while. Your teen is no different.

So how do you tell when privacy IS becoming a problem?

When Teen Isolating and Withdrawal is Unhealthy

If your daughter is withdrawing from you when she’s home, pay attention to when, how and why she is doing so. Once you notice this is occurring, take the opportunity to ask some question. Keep in mind that her response could range from a polite explanation to an annoyed rant.

Be careful to ask questions that give you a true picture of what she’s doing when she’s alone in her room. Is she on her tablet or phone, engaging in conversations with friends? Is she lying in bed doing absolutely nothing? If the additional privacy is because of the former reason, you’ll need to take extra steps to monitor these activities and make sure she is making healthy relationship and social choices. If the isolation is caused by the latter, consider whether any other of her habits have changed recently.

Is she sleeping more? Is she still interested in getting out and being with friends? Have her eating habits changed? Are her grades slipping? If so, her increased isolation may not be healthy; it may be caused by anxiety, stress or depression.

Depression in Teenagers

According to Mental Health America, one out of every five teenagers suffers from clinical depression. It can often be hard to diagnose with teenagers because they don’t always understand what they’re going through or know how to express themselves.

Depression is a catch-22 for teenagers and even adults. Unhealthy isolation can result because a teenager is depressed, but depression can also be caused by isolation. In addition to isolating herself, your daughter may fail to take care of the responsibilities of daily living (like completing her homework or doing her chores). She may also refuse to join the family for meals.

How to Address Unhealthy Isolation

If you think your daughter is requesting too much privacy and is isolating herself from the family or other social situations in an unhealthy way, you should take steps to address the situation. First, determine why the isolation is occurring. Your teen may need mental health support from a professional. Depression doesn’t have to be a lifelong diagnosis for troubled teens. Early treatment can make a big difference.

Other problems may also be leading to the unhealthy isolation, such as:

  • – Issues with body image
  • – Too much time connecting with others through text or social networking websites
  • – Certain conditions like ADHD or Asperger’s
  • – Social shyness
  • – Bullying

Taking steps to determine why your teen is isolating is important to her mental health. A lack of social interaction during these years can have long-term effects, like underdeveloped social skills.

At Greenbrier Academy, we help teenage girls work holistically on their relationship with self and others during this critical time in their growth. One parent remarked that attending Greenbrier allowed her daughter to be removed from a concerning social situation at her previous school and allowed her daughter to finish high school in nurturing and encouraging surroundings. As a result, her daughter is now flourishing in college.

If you are thinking about Greenbrier Academy for your daughter, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our caring staff is eager to give you an overview of our therapeutic program and academic philosophy. 

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