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Today's Teenager

Roy Petitfils, LPC has worked with teenagers for over 20 years. He shares insights and tips to help adults understand, reach and influence today's teenagers.
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Today's Teenager
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Now displaying: Category: kids and family, parenting, education
Jun 20, 2017

In this episode of Today's Teenager, Roy offers four tips that adults can employ in helping depressed teens. The first tip that Roy suggests is understanding that teenage depression is real and to validate that for teens. The second tip Roy recommends is that adults be patient with the seemingly contradictory emotions of teens, which can sometimes cause an adult to believe a young person is not really depressed. 

Roy believes that perhaps the most important tip to helping depressed teens is to offer non - reactive and non - judgmental listening. Roy stresses that this kind of attentive, empathetic listening is crucial to helping a teen to feel that they aren't suffering alone and that their experiences are not at all unusual or abnormal. Finally, Roy recommends that adults get a depressed teen counseling from a reliable and professional source like private counselors, school counselors, pastoral counselors or ministers, social workers, psychologists, or pediatricians. 

Click here to listen to previous episodes of Today's Teenager that can also aid in working with depressed teens:

Episode 15: What's Normal Vs. Abnormal Teen Behavior? 

Episode 23: How Do I Find A Counselor For My Teen?

Episode 42: The Art of Listening To Teens

Episode 48: Teen Suicide Seeing The Signs To Prevent The Sorrow

Episode 49: Teen Suicide What Adults Can Do

Click here for Roy's various blog entries related to teen depression, anxiety, and effective listening to teens. 

Roy encourages adults working with young people to take advantage of the resources offered by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention or AFSP. The AFSP's website can be found here and features a wide variety of resources helpful in addressing suicide as well as contact information for local ASFP charters. If you or someone you know is in crisis, you can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HELLO to 741-741.




Today's Teenager podcast is produced for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to nor should it be used as a replacement for professional counseling

Roy has established Today's Teenager as a non-profit organization dedicated to covering the expenses of therapy sessions and other mental health services for teens and families that would otherwise be unable to afford them. Visit todaysteenager dot com for more information.

Dr. Dore and her staff embrace their orthodontic patients like family. In addition to traditional metal and ceramic braces Dr. Dore enjoys using Invisalign clear aligners, and she is an Invisalign “Preferred Provider." Call her today for a free exam and Live Life Smiling at (337) 267-SMILE, or click here to learn more about Dr. Dore and her practice. 

Jun 9, 2017

More and more parents today are saying their kid is one way at school but act a totally different way at home. Parents hear rave reviews from teachers about how kind, respectful and conscientious their teen is at school or in public, but parents are confused because their teen seems to only behave this way at school.

In this week's episode, Roy addresses this phenomenon which he says is not at all new. Roy has experienced teens displaying different selves and personas in different aspects or roles of their lives, what Roy calls a "compartmentalization of selves.

Roy explains that social media has only exacerbated this behavior, which is not necessarily a problem as all people have multiple selves. Roy suggests that parents and other adults admit this truth to teens in an appropriate way so that teens understand that adults can relate. While changing selves is normal, a lack of consistency between different selves may hold consequences a young person has not considered. Roy encourages parents to those living or working with teens to ask teens about this issue and how they see their different selves and offers further tips to enable teens to visualize and realize the dynamics involved in these situations without a condemning or judgmental tone.


Today's Teenager podcast is produced for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to nor should it be used as a replacement for professional counseling

Roy has established Today's Teenager as a non-profit organization dedicated to covering the expenses of therapy sessions and other mental health services for teens and families that would otherwise be unable to afford them. Visit todaysteenager dot com for more information.

Dr. Dore and her staff embrace their orthodontic patients like family. In addition to traditional metal and ceramic braces Dr. Dore enjoys using Invisalign clear aligners, and she is an Invisalign “Preferred Provider." Call her today for a free exam and Live Life Smiling at (337) 267-SMILE, or click here to learn more about Dr. Dore and her practice. 

Jun 6, 2017

Summer marks the end of what is, for most parents and teens, a grueling academic year filled with a multitude of stressors like studying, school and athletic-related activities, not to mention the busy nature of work and family life. As Roy points out in this week's episode, the temptation to simply leave a teen alone at the end of the school year is very real, offering a seeming break for both teens and parents. 

While a brief respite is understandable, Roy encourages parents to use the summer break to create opportunities for meaningful connection with teens. Roy suggests that parents simply begin with being intentional about deeper and more meaningful connection with their teens. This includes being truly present and attentive to teenagers and both what they say and don't say. Roy also encourages parents to listen to teens not only when asking them questions, but when they approach parents on their own. Other strategies include vulnerability and specific, meaningful affirmation regarding work ethic and integrity, not just results and successes. 

Today's Teenager podcast is produced for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to nor should it be used as a replacement for professional counseling

Roy has established Today's Teenager as a non-profit organization dedicated to covering the expenses of therapy sessions and other mental health services for teens and families that would otherwise be unable to afford them. Visit todaysteenager dot com for more information.

Dr. Dore and her staff embrace their orthodontic patients like family. In addition to traditional metal and ceramic braces Dr. Dore enjoys using Invisalign clear aligners, and she is an Invisalign “Preferred Provider." Call her today for a free exam and Live Life Smiling at (337) 267-SMILE, or click here to learn more about Dr. Dore and her practice. 

May 5, 2017

In this second of a two-part series on the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, Roy examines the concerns he and other mental health professionals have about how suicide and related mental health disorders are portrayed in the series. Roy also discusses the negative depiction of mental health professionals and adults in the series. Finally, Roy offers strategies adults working with teens can use to turn 13 Reasons Why into an opportunity for dialogue not only on the topic of suicide, but also, other sensitive topics like sexual assault and bullying, which are both prominently featured in the series. 

Today's Teenager podcast is produced for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to nor should it be used as a replacement for professional counseling

Roy has established Today's Teenager as a non-profit organization dedicated to covering the expenses of therapy sessions and other mental health services for teens and families that would otherwise be unable to afford them. Visit todaysteenager dot com for more information.

Dr. Dore and her staff embrace their orthodontic patients like family. In addition to traditional metal and ceramic braces Dr. Dore enjoys using Invisalign clear aligners, and she is an Invisalign “Preferred Provider." Call her today for a free exam and Live Life Smiling at (337) 267-SMILE, or click here to learn more about Dr. Dore and her practice. 

May 3, 2017

In this first of a two-part series, Roy examines the controversial Netflix program, 13 Reasons Why, offering a synopsis of the series and exploring its positive and negative aspects. Part 2 will be released on Friday, May 4th. 

Today's Teenager podcast is produced for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to nor should it be used as a replacement for professional counseling

Roy has established Today's Teenager as a non-profit organization dedicated to covering the expenses of therapy sessions and other mental health services for teens and families that would otherwise be unable to afford them. Visit todaysteenager dot com for more information.

Dr. Dore and her staff embrace their orthodontic patients like family. In addition to traditional metal and ceramic braces Dr. Dore enjoys using Invisalign clear aligners, and she is an Invisalign “Preferred Provider." Call her today for a free exam and Live Life Smiling at (337) 267-SMILE, or click here to learn more about Dr. Dore and her practice. 

Apr 5, 2017

In this first episode in a series on having hard conversations with teens, Roy discusses the "anatomy" of a difficult conversation with a young person on a topic that is sensitive, timely, and/or emotionally charged. Various factors can discussing such topics even more difficult, like a history of combative past conversations, unclear religious teaching on the issue, as well as poor timing or an inappropriate setting.

Roy offers suggestions for making these difficult exchanges with adolescents easier, including acknowledging the awkwardness of the topic at hand, asking a young person for permission to discuss the issue, and seeking a teen's opinion while also reflecting back to the teen their thoughts and feelings.

Today's Teenager podcast is produced for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to nor should it be used as a replacement for professional counseling

Roy has established Today's Teenager as a non-profit organization dedicated to covering the expenses of therapy sessions and other mental health services for teens and families that would otherwise be unable to afford them. Visit todaysteenager dot com for more information.

Mar 21, 2017

In this episode of Today's Teenager, Roy explains the differences between communicating and connecting with teens. Roy suggests that when adults who work with teens or parents of teens say they want to learn to better communicate with teens, they're really seeking deeper connection. Roy offers three strategies for connecting with young people, which is the fruit of good communication. Roy illustrates how these strategies can be effective and that the attitude adults must adopt for successful connection is a willingness to leave their own comfort zones to engage teens in their own experiences. 

Today's Teenager podcast is produced for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to nor should it be used as a replacement for professional counseling

Roy has established Today's Teenager as a non-profit organization dedicated to covering the expenses of therapy sessions and other mental health services for teens and families that would otherwise be unable to afford them. Visit todaysteenager dot com for more information.

Mar 10, 2017


In this episode, Roy explores the dynamics of blended families with Mrs. Melissa Lowery, a colleague of Roy's at Pax Renewal Center in Lafayette, LA. 

Roy and Melissa delve into the struggles and joys unique to blended families. Melissa offers insight and advice to those who are in the midst of navigating the process of creating new families in light of divorce, separation, or the loss of a spouse. Melissa encourages adults in blended families to recognize they don't have all the answers and to admit this vulnerability to their children. She also encourages adults who minister to or work with children in blended families to provide stability, consistency, and understanding. 

Click here to read more about Melissa and the services she offers as a therapist at Pax Renewal Center. 

Today's Teenager podcast is produced for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to nor should it be used as a replacement for professional counseling

Roy has established Today's Teenager as a non-profit organization dedicated to covering the expenses of therapy sessions and other mental health services for teens and families that would otherwise be unable to afford them. Visit todaysteenager dot com for more information.

 

Feb 17, 2017

In this week's episode, Roy explores how the practice of religion, including elements like ritual and community, can enable teenagers to find comfort and encouragement in the ever-changing world in which they are growing up. 

Roy explains how the predictability and sameness of ritual can provide a sense of stability for young people, despite their attraction to novelty. Religious practice also offers hope for a better future, a sense of relief in the humble realization that there are things we cannot and do not have to change, and the encouragement that comes from belonging to a community of like-minded believers. 

Finally, Roy offers practical suggestions for families looking to introduce or increase ritual and spiritual discipline in their family lives and how certain apps can benefit teens in their spiritual growth. Roy recommends the Pope App, Jesus Calling, Bob Rice's 40 Day Spiritual Workout, The Bible app, and Headspace

Today's Teenager podcast is produced for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to nor should it be used as a replacement for professional counseling

Roy has established Today's Teenager as a non-profit organization dedicated to covering the expenses of therapy sessions and other mental health services for teens and families that would otherwise be unable to afford them. Visit todaysteenager dot com for more information.

Dr. Dore and her staff embrace their orthodontic patients like family. In addition to traditional metal and ceramic braces Dr. Dore enjoys using Invisalign clear aligners, and she is an Invisalign “Preferred Provider." Call her today for a free exam and Live Life Smiling at (337) 267-SMILE, or click here to learn more about Dr. Dore and her practice. 

Feb 2, 2017

In this episode of Today's Teenager, Roy addresses a topic often brought up in his conversations with parents: "how do we handle our teens and social media?" Roy offers practical tips to parents seeking to regulate the use of social media and electronics by their teens. Roy encourages parents to determine and then communicate their values regarding social media use to teens and then use those values as the basis for setting healthy boundaries. These boundaries include issues like time spent on devices, frequency of use, and what parents feel is appropriate for teens to communicate via social media sites and texting. 

This episode of Today’s Teenager is sponsored by Dr Danielle Ardoin Dore’ Orthodontics.

Dr. Dore and her staff embrace their orthodontic patients like family. In addition to traditional metal and ceramic braces Dr. Dore enjoys using Invisalign clear aligners, and she is an Invisalign “Preferred Provider." Call her today for a free exam and Live Life Smiling at (337) 267-SMILE, or click here to learn more about Dr. Dore and her practice. 

Jan 23, 2017

In this episode, Roy welcomes Dr. Amy Cavanaugh, a licensed clinical and medical psychologist in the Acadiana area.  Roy and Dr. Cavanaugh discuss the topic of psychotropic medications and their role in treating teenage mental health issues. Roy and Dr. Cavanaugh address the stigma these medications have in today's culture, the hesitance many parents encounter when this form of treatment is suggested, and that psychotropic medication is most effective when coupled with therapy and other mental health care. Dr. Cavanaugh and Roy also discuss how parents and adults can enable teens and other young people to develop coping and social strategies by allowing teens to encounter hard work and failure. 

Click here for  more information about the services Dr. Cavanaugh and her colleagues at Acadiana Medical Psychological Services can offer you and your teen. 



Today's Teenager podcast is produced for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to nor should it be used as a replacement for professional counseling

Roy has established Today's Teenager as a non-profit organization dedicated to covering the expenses of therapy sessions and other mental health services for teens and families that would otherwise be unable to afford them. Visit todaysteenager dot com for more information.

Jan 17, 2017

In this episode, Roy continues discussing the epidemic of teenage suicide by focusing on what adults can do when they recognize the signs that indicate a young person is contemplating suicide. Roy encourages adults to broach the subject with teens by first asking permission to discuss the issue, which allows teens to feel a measure of trust and security with the adult. Even resistant teens will be inclined to at least listen to what an adult has to say about suicide using this method. 

Roy stresses that adults working with or parenting teens must understand that broaching the subject of teen suicide does not cause it to happen, but rather, exposes it to healthy discussion and most often, prevention. Roy explains that adults must work through their own discomfort to help reach today's teens, who are struggling with tremendous anxiety and stress. These struggles, Roy points out, are not getting any easier or diminishing for teens and are to blame for the high rate of teen suicide today. 

Today's Teenager podcast is produced for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to nor should it be used as a replacement for professional counseling

Roy has established Today's Teenager as a non-profit organization dedicated to covering the expenses of therapy sessions and other mental health services for teens and families that would otherwise be unable to afford them. Visit todaysteenager dot com for more information.

Jan 3, 2017

In part two of a 2-part series on understanding teens who identify as being on the LGBTQ spectrum, Roy offers practical strategies for helping these teens on their journey of self-discovery. Roy suggests that adults working with teens who self-identify as LGBTQ serve those teens best when they provide a safe place for teens to discuss their experiences, but also, by admitting their own ignorance and fear of the issue. Roy encourages those who works these teens and especially, those who parent them, to reject condescension and judgment and instead see their role as someone accompanying these young people on the journey of their identity exploration and identification. 

To get Roy's newest ebook "Little Book of Questions that Really Get Teens Talking" go to todaysteenager.com and sign up or email Roy at roy@todaysteenager.com.

Today's Teenager podcast is produced for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to nor should it be used as a replacement for professional counseling

Roy has established Today's Teenager as a non-profit organization dedicated to covering the expenses of therapy sessions and other mental health services for teens and families that would otherwise be unable to afford them. Visit todaysteenager dot com for more information.

Dec 30, 2016

In this first part of a 2-part series, Roy begins an exploration of the sensitive and critical issue of the LGBTQ spectrum. Roy begins the series by detailing what each of the terms in the spectrum (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning) means and how these terms relate to the experiences of teens who use them to identify themselves. Drawing from his extensive experience with teens, Roy provides valuable insight into the importance of this issue and always remaining mindful that people are at its center, not labels. 

Today's Teenager podcast is produced for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to nor should it be used as a replacement for professional counseling

Roy has established Today's Teenager as a non-profit organization dedicated to covering the expenses of therapy sessions and other mental health services for teens and families that would otherwise be unable to afford them. Visit todaysteenager dot com for more information.

Dec 27, 2016

Roy sits down with Yvette Quantz, a registered dietitian, speaker, and entrepreneur who helps people of all ages to develop a healthy relationship with food through nutrition counseling and other services. Roy and Yvette discuss a variety of topics, including the importance of helping young people build a healthy relationship with food and activity, recognizing the signs of eating disorders, and much more. Click here to learn more about Yvette and the numerous services she provides. 

Today's Teenager podcast is produced for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to nor should it be used as a replacement for professional counseling

Roy has established Today's Teenager as a non-profit organization dedicated to covering the expenses of therapy sessions and other mental health services for teens and families that would otherwise be unable to afford them. Visit todaysteenager dot com for more information.

Dec 20, 2016

A question all people who work with or know young people will eventually hear is "why does God allow bad things to happen?" As Roy explains in this episode, this question is not an intellectual or theological one, but rather, an overture for a relationship with the person being asked. Roy explains that teens already know adults don't have the answer to this question, but are asking it to know that they are being heard and understood. Roy offers practical tips for addressing this question with teens and expanding upon the question to build a meaningful relationship with those who ask it. 

Today's Teenager podcast is produced for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to nor should it be used as a replacement for professional counseling

Roy has established Today's Teenager as a non-profit organization dedicated to covering the expenses of therapy sessions and other mental health services for teens and families that would otherwise be unable to afford them. Visit todaysteenager dot com for more information.

 

Dec 14, 2016

In this episode, Roy offers invaluable insight into the art of listening to teens and other young people. As Roy explains, people do not truly become vulnerable unless they feel they are being truly heard. This is especially true of teenagers, who spend most of their time being required to listen to other people during school or other activities. Roy offers practical listening strategies that enable adults to become truly receptive during verbal and non - verbal communication with teens. 

To get Roy's newest ebook "Little Book of Questions that Really Get Teens Talking" go to todaysteenager.com and sign up or email Roy at roy@todaysteenager.com.

Today's Teenager podcast is produced for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to nor should it be used as a replacement for professional counseling

Roy has established Today's Teenager as a non-profit organization dedicated to covering the expenses of therapy sessions and other mental health services for teens and families that would otherwise be unable to afford them. Visit todaysteenager dot com for more information.

Dec 6, 2016

In this episode, Roy continues to discuss the epidemic of anxiety among young people and teens today. As Roy stresses again in this episode, 1 in 5 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 have a diagnosable anxiety disorder. To help adults help the young people in their lives face and work through anxiety, Roy offers seven strategies that enable young people to cope with and ultimately overcome anxiety.

These strategies range from prioritizing and list-making to simple breathing techniques and medication and psychotherapy. Roy encourages adults to take anxiety and its effects seriously and to be open to discovering the best means of helping young people overcome those effects. 

Today's Teenager podcast is produced for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to nor should it be used as a replacement for professional counseling

Roy has established Today's Teenager as a non-profit organization dedicated to covering the expenses of therapy sessions and other mental health services for teens and families that would otherwise be unable to afford them. Visit todaysteenager dot com for more information.

Dec 2, 2016

In this first of a two-part series, Roy explores the alarming degree of anxiety found in young people and teens today. In addition to defining the kinds of anxiety most prevalent among young people today and their causes, Roy offers insight into how societal expectations and goals affect young people, as well as  the role adults can play in teaching young people to cope with anxiety. 

Today's Teenager podcast is produced for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to nor should it be used as a replacement for professional counseling

Roy has established Today's Teenager as a non-profit organization dedicated to covering the expenses of therapy sessions and other mental health services for teens and families that would otherwise be unable to afford them. Visit todaysteenager dot com for more information.

Nov 18, 2016

In this week's episode of Today's Teenager, Roy sits down with Michelle Hernandez of Hernandez Group in Lafayette, Louisiana. Michelle is a licensed professional counselor who works with individuals and families struggling with a variety of issues including anxiety, depression, anger management, and working with children who are in the spectrum of Aspergers and autism. 

Roy and Michelle discuss why it's critical for parents and other adults to provide a healthy context for young people to understand, accept, and move beyond failures and personal struggles. Roy and Michelle agree that adults do a disservice to teens when they continually insulate them from the lessons and character development that come with failure. 

Click here to visit Michelle's website or call Hernandez Counseling at 337 - 501 - 7730. 

Today's Teenager podcast is produced for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to nor should it be used as a replacement for professional counseling


Roy has established Today's Teenager as a non-profit organization dedicated to covering the expenses of therapy sessions and other mental health services for teens and families that would otherwise be unable to afford them. Visit todaysteenager dot com for more information.

 

   
Nov 1, 2016

In this episode, Roy shares insight into how parents can effectively broach the subjects of career and future with teens. Roy explains that teens are truly concerned about these issues, despite appearing to parents and other adults as noncommittal or apathetic. Roy explains that today's teens have a vast number of career options to choose from due to social media and other technologies, and that so many options can be overwhelming. Roy encourages parents and adults to use compassion and patience when discussing these issues. 

To get Roy's newest ebook "Little Book of Questions that Really Get Teens Talking" go to todaysteenager.com and sign up or email Roy at roy@todaysteenager.com.

Today's Teenager podcast is produced for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to nor should it be used as a replacement for professional counseling

Oct 21, 2016

In this special episode of Today's Teenager, Roy shares his journey towards giving a TEDx presentation last month in Lafayette, Louisiana. Roy offers insight into his own creative processes and how they were challenged and refined by the strictures of a TEDx presentation. 

Click here to watch Roy's full TEDx presentation. 

To get Roy's newest ebook "Little Book of Questions that Really Get Teens Talking" go to todaysteenager.com and sign up or email Roy at roy@todaysteenager.com.

Today's Teenager podcast is produced for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to nor should it be used as a replacement for professional counseling

Oct 10, 2016

Roy welcomes Catholic educator and author Jared Dees to Today's Teenager to discuss a variety of topics, including Jared's thoughts on how to effectively reach teens as a Catholic educator, the adults who influenced his own development, and what resources he recommends for Catholic educators. 

Jared is digital publishing specialist at Ave Maria Press and creator of the popular website, The Religion Teacher. The Religion Teacher provides practical resources and effective teaching strategies to religious educators. Jared holds master's degrees in education and theology from Notre Dame and has taught in Catholic schools and parish religious education programs. His articles have appeared in various Catholic educational magazines and websites. Jared is the author of 31 Days to Becoming a Better Religious Educator and lives in South Bend, Indiana, with his wife and three children.

Click here for Jared's blog and other resources he's created for Catholic educators and ministers. 

Oct 4, 2016

In this second episode on teen self-injurious behavior, Roy explains the severity of such behavior and why parents and others who work with teens should not ignore it. Roy offers anecdotes from his work with teens that illustrates how important it is to seek professional help for teens who are hurting themselves and strategies that parents and adults can use to broach the subject with teens. 

To get Roy's newest ebook "Little Book of Questions that Really Get Teens Talking" go to todaysteenager.com and sign up or email Roy at roy@todaysteenager.com.

Today's Teenager podcast is produced for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to nor should it be used as a replacement for professional counseling

Sep 28, 2016

In this episode, Roy discusses the fear that parents have about their teens missing out on experiences or opportunities that other teens may have. Roy explains that the number one mental health concern for teens today is anxiety, caused by the stress of being too busy. More importantly, young people are moving from experience to experience without learning how to pause and reflect upon the significance of those experiences and how they relate to their own personal development.

Roy suggests that adults can help teens to reflect by providing opportunities for relational connection and intimacy that avoids the distractions of our modern lives and instead allows families to explore the meaning of past events and their significance. 

To get Roy's newest ebook "Little Book of Questions that Really Get Teens Talking" go to todaysteenager.com and sign up or email Roy at roy@todaysteenager.com.

Today's Teenager podcast is produced for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to nor should it be used as a replacement for professional counseling


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