Trauma and Teen Boys: Why Boys in Particular Need the Most Help Coping

Trauma and Teen Boys: Why Boys in Particular Need the Most Help Coping

Trauma and Teen Boys: Why Boys in Particular Need the Most Help Coping
Trauma and Teen Boys: Why Boys in Particular Need the Most Help Coping


A lot of attention is focused on trauma and teen girls: their emotions, trigger events, reactions and responses, effects on development, etc. But, what about teen boys? When it comes to trauma and troubled teens or troubled young adults, it’s the boys that seem to be getting lost in it all – and they are probably the ones who need therapy and counseling the most. Since our society puts so much pressure on teen boys to be tough and strong, teen boys have a genuine fear of divulging issues related to trauma, and it’s time they got help. 

Teen Boys and Trauma: Why Your Son Isn’t Probably Isn’t Telling You Everything 

Trauma affects teen boys differently than it does girls; this is largely because they are taught from toddlerhood to hide their feelings and to suck it up or "be a man." Because of this, any trouble your son is having may not only be a result of trauma he has experienced, but because he won't - or can't - verbalize what is bothering him. 

Ashcreek Ranch Academy, a residential treatment center dedicated to helping teen boys, expresses this problem best when they state that, “the impact of traumatic experiences on adolescent boys has a lot to do with their coping mechanisms and their ‘expected’ or conditioned gender response to traumatic events.” What this means is that your son is unlikely to simply open up and just talk to you on his own, and if he already exhibits behavioral issues, there could be a lot more he’s hiding. 

Dealing with Trauma in Troubled Teens and Troubled Young Adults 

Trauma can cause teen boys to become destructive in many ways, whether engaging in self-destructive behavior or behavior directed more toward others. Teen boys may become severely depressed or angry, or harbor feelings of guilt or shame related to the trauma they’ve experienced (particularly in cases of sexual assault), but they may also exhibit other sudden changes in their behavioral patterns, changes in their grades, and changes in their general attitude as well. This is how they cope with their trauma. 

Additionally, as troubled teen boys try to cope, it is not unusual for them to exhibit violent behavior and attempt suicide. According to the Centers for Disease Control, boys are more likely than girls to die from suicide attempts, with 81% of the deaths from suicide attempts in the 10 to 24 age group being attributed to males. This is why it’s so important to seek counseling and therapy at the first signs that trauma may be influencing your troubled teen’s behavior - rather than waiting until it’s already too late. 

Where Can I Find Treatment for My Son? 

Finding the right treatment center is just as important as making the decision to seek professional therapy and counseling. At Ashcreek Ranch Academy, they focus solely on helping teen boys who are suffering. In a ranch environment, troubled teens learn to rebuild themselves from the inside-out, regaining their confidence and developing life skills that will last them a lifetime.

Not Ready for a Treatment Center?

If you're concerned about your teen, trauma, or detrimental online behaviours, but still looking to explore other options before treatment, there may be other interventions before seeking professional assistance. 

Helping your teen find a passion outside of the virtual world and a place to reconnect may be crucial. They need to find a place where they can socialize and push themselves towards a goal. This is a great way to break an addiction or heal from trauma. Studies show that team sports can be a great outlet for youth and teens to develop skills and friendships with like-minded individuals. Participants in team sports can build lasting relationships that help break the cycle of internet and electronic addiction or overcome past trauma. It creates a support network they can rely on outside of parents and family that can be crucial for their growth.

The study highlighted above found that, "The results suggest the effectiveness of and need for sport and physical activity in Internet addiction treatment programs and for other addictions as well. Moreover, sports participation has a wider variety of psychological and physical benefits unlike intervention strategies or pharmacological treatments. Thus, the adoption of sports needs to be broadened from physical development to treating diverse psychological problems among adolescents." Sports may also help kids and teens dealing with trauma.

Any struggling teen, may feel lethargic and unmotivated when contemplating the idea of being active again in organized sports or socializing. A good, natural way to give them motivation to get in the gym or on a sports team and to have the energy for it is through a pre-workout. These provide a caffeine boost as well as other benefits which can make someone feeling sluggish, full of enthusiasm in a matter of minutes.

If your teen is not at a point where you think you need professional help, seeking help on your own through sports club teams may be a solution.

Finding a Sports Team and Getting Excited

It's best to talk to your teen about what their interests are and to make suggestions to try to point them in the right direction. Trying to force them could backfire, but gently coaxing them into a team sport can do wonders for their addiction, anxiety, or help heal their past trauma as long as you find the right endeavor to pursue.

Some sports are hard to break into in your teens, but a sport that seems to draw the world together is soccer. It doesn't cost much for a ball and a net, and it's the most viewed sport in the world. One way to help them get excited about soccer is through viewing matches and finding a team they love. A great resource for discovering futbol or soccer teams is through futbol libre

Watching matches together is a great way to bond as a family and build on the excitement of the sport together. Once the interest is there, there are many resources to find both indoor and outdoor teams depending on the state you live in. US Youth Soccer is great resource to find ways to get involved as a player, coach, or administrator. Finding ways to get the whole family, or at least, a parent and child, involved together increases the chances of it becoming a lifetime passion and breaking addiction to video games and the internet. 

Options Outside of Sports

Sometimes teens are resitant to sports or show no interest, so what other options are there? Studies show that being outdoors is one of the best ways to reset and give your mental health a boost. In the linked article above, Mclean Hospital wrote that, "Because time in the outdoors offers the benefit of mental rest and rejuvenation, it has been shown to improve memory, attention, impulse control, and creativity in the general population. For example, in children, it has led to improved school performance."

Your circadian rhythm can be reset by sun exposure in the morning and evenings as well. Electronic addiction can rob teens of sleep and exposing yourself to the sun, daily, helps fix sleeping issues. A well-rested teen is more capable of resisting temptation and improving their outlook each day than one who is chronically sleep deprived.  

So get your teen into nature anyway you can with family trips or daily exursions. Make time outside a priority for your whole family and see the difference.

If you still need help, wilderness therapry could be an option. The Aspiro Adventure Therapy Program has excellent resources and activities to help teens kick addiction, heal from past trauma, socialize, and learn to love life again in an outdoor setting.

For more information, please email them at [email protected]

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Restore Troubled Teens (RESTORE) represents a consortium of therapeutic schools programs that have the goal to help troubled teens overcome a wide variety of issues from which many of today's adolescents suffer. We work with families of teens who are struggling with emotional, psychological and behavioral problems that require a residential setting to effectively treat these issues. Mood disorders (depression, bipolar, suicidal thoughts), anxiety, sexual addictions, eating disorders, adoption issues, substance abuse and addiction, various learning disabilities, ADD & ADHD, oppositional defiance, attachment disorders, psychosexual disorders, and PTSD are some of the more common issues that are treated by RESTORE recommended schools. Serving families from all 50 States.