Chico Center for Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy and Counseling services for Children & Adults | Support for Parents


Chico therapist An Bulkens, LMFT is psychotherapist and counselor in Chico, California.  An Bulkens specializes in psychotherapy and counseling for young children  (toddlers, preschoolers, adolescents) and support for parents, with a special emphasis on  early childhood psychotherapy, and counseling  for preschoolers and Kindergarten aged child.  She also offers parenting skills support. She offers psychoanalytic psychotherapy for adults.  Her approach is grounded in  Lacanian Psychoanalysis. She was also trained as a clinical psychologist in Europe, Belgium.  Her education emphasized developmental psychology and psychoanalytic therapy. 

Filtering by Tag: teens

Respecting your teen's privacy in a technology filled world

As a therapist working with children, teens and their parents the issue of how to deal with a teen's privacy in this technology filled world comes up on a regular basis.  I recently came across an interesting study by Cranor, et al, about parents' and teens' perspectives on privacy. It was interesting that most of the parents interviewed thought it was important for their teens to have privacy, that it was an essential element in their growth towards becoming independent adults.  It was interesting to see that the researchers found that the parents in general transgressed this right when it came to monitoring their children's use of technology.  They did not act in accordance with their believe in the importance of privacy at all.  The reason for this was a lack of understanding by the parents on which role social media played in the role of their children's social life.  The fact that popular media focus on those new technologies from a 'worst-case scenario' point of view also contributed to this effect. The reporting might give parents the impression that Snapchat is use mostly  for sending sexually explicit messages, while it is only a small fraction of teens who use it that way. 

The negative effect of this is that teens feel that their space is being invaded, and they feel they are not trusted by their parents.  All this can lead to a negative spiral of growing misunderstanding between parents and teens.  

The study finds that it is important that parents get better educated about these technologies, on the other hand, they agree that parents have an important role of guidance to play.  They advocate for software that is less restrictive but tends to nudge the teens more in the right direction.  The current digital monitoring software is not in tune with the goals of parents.  Parents want to guide, but not necessarily block certain sites. 

Digital parenting software that would be more in tune with parents' objectives would detect actions that a parent might not approve of and take the opportunity to remind the teenager of the parent’s expectations and the teen’s responsibilities, yet not block the action.  In a field trial of privacy nudges for Facebook, Wang et al. found that visual reminders of a family member being able to view content was effective in encouraging privacy-protective behaviors The nudging approach to digital parenting software might alleviate parent-teen tensions because teens would still be free to make their own decisions, albeit with guidance and reminders.

To schedule an appointment call An at (530) 487-4245.

For the study, see: Cranor, Lorrie Faith, et al. "Parents' and Teens' Perspectives on Privacy In a Technology-Filled World." SOUPS. 2014.

The adult in every adolescent

Several years ago psychologist Ronald Epstein argued in his book 'The case against adolescence' that teens are much more competent than adults think, and that their problems stem for the most part from the restrictions placed on them by parents, and society. It is their infantilization along with the fact that we gather them in places where they spend most of their time with peers, while having minimal interaction with adults that leaves their capacities unexploited, underused.

The prolonged childhood that can last until  the 'child' reaches the age of 26, makes the transition to adulthood for a lot of teens problematic. There is a hesitation to start, to make the leap, a postponement that seems to coincide with the vast world of possibilities that are open today, and that the adolescents will put to the test. Adolescences seems to be a procrastination. It seems that the vast world of possibilities can be translated as an endless postponement. 

Miller in a recent text (En direction de l'adolescence) refers to a point that resonates with Epstein's observation of teenage children spending most of their time with peers and not with adults: Where in earlier times the child, to acquire knowledge had to pass through the Other (the parents, teachers, adults)at this point they have the knowledge in the palm of their hand. They only have to click and ask, and the device will answer, circumventing the necessity to address the Other.  

However, things might be changing.  The talk is that the newest generation of teenagers, generation Z is much more independent than the Millenials, and are intending on cutting lose from their parents at a younger age.  The digital age in which they grow up seems to provide them also with a platform that transcends just easy access to information, without having to address the Other. It opens a way of connecting to the wide world, and it opens possibilities of enterpreneurship and inspires initiatives by these young people who are eager to bring their abilities to the world. 

To schedule an appointment call An Bulkens at (530) 321-2970

An Bulkens    |    Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist    |   MFC 52746

Tel. (530) 321- 2970    |   186 E 12th ST,  Chico, CA 95928