Is Your Teen an Emotional Sponge? – Shrinking It Down

Teenager comforting her friend

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Posted in: Hot Topics, Multimedia, Parenting Concerns, Podcast, Teenagers

Topics: Child + Adolescent Development, Relationships

Peers can be an excellent source of social support, and it’s great that more young people today talk to friends about their emotional challenges. But for every teen who shares, there’s another teen absorbing the info like an emotional sponge. And while it feels good to help a friend, it can also feel overwhelming – even scary – to be a friend’s sole source of support, especially for serious issues.

On today’s episode of Shrinking It Down, Dr. Gene Beresin and Dr. Ellen Braaten help parents to think about the pros and cons of being an emotional sponge, ways for teens to set boundaries around what they can do on their own, and strategies to bring in others to help a friend in need, when it needs to be part of a team effort.

Thanks for joining in this conversation. If you have a comment or question about being an emotional sponge, write to us!

Media List


Episode produced by Sara Rattigan

Music by Gene Beresin

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Ellen Braaten, PhD

Ellen Braaten, PhD

Ellen Braaten, PhD, is executive director of the Learning and Emotional Assessment Program (LEAP) at  Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), an associate professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, and former co-director for the MGH Clay Cente...

To read full bio click here.

Gene Beresin

Gene Beresin, Executive Director

Gene Beresin, MD, MA is executive director of The MGH Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds, and a staff child and adolescent psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is also...

To learn more about Gene, or to contact him directly, please see Our Team.