Mental health is something that most teens are afraid to talk about. What if you could help your teen talk about their feelings, get positive peer support, and build a community around them? If you’re like many parents today, you might already believe in the value of treating mental illness as it is rationally and creatively rather than pathologically. You might be inclined to view your child’s behavior in light of what we all understand to be a basic human trait – anxiety – rather than an indictment of their fragile psyche. Below are ways you can help your teen care for their mental health.
1. Establish Trust
Having a healthy relationship with your teen is essential. Trust is a crucial ingredient in this. When you can trust your teen, they will be more likely to open up and talk about their feelings. They will also be more likely to seek help when they need it. Depression and anxiety are not things to be ashamed of but rather a natural part of the human experience. Knowing that you can help your teen by establishing trust is essential.
2. Ask Questions and Listen
If you don’t have an open dialogue about your child’s mental health, you’ll never know how to help them. The best way to start is by asking questions. Your child might not understand what’s going on in their head or why they’re feeling the way they are. They might not recognize that they’re experiencing a mental health problem. And they might not know how to articulate their feelings. You also need to be a good listener and pay attention to what your child is saying and feeling. Ask them questions about what’s bothering them, and listen for honest and helpful answers.
3.Work Through Conflict With One Another
Teens always want to be in control. They’re not always so good at communicating their feelings, but they’re always trying to gain control over the situation. It can feel frustrating when your teen starts fighting with you, but remember that these fights signal that they need help. It’s important to listen and respond, even if you don’t necessarily agree with what they’re saying.
Parents often worry that they are not “good parents” or are not giving their teens what they need because they are too busy or tired. But many teens with mental health concerns can benefit from more of an “attention” parent. Try sitting down and talking with your teen about their day, making time for a walk or other form of exercise together, and getting to know your kids’ friends.
5.Accept Your Teen’s Emotions
You may have been taught that you should always be strong, but when you do this, you may unintentionally drive your kid away from you. Instead, allow your teen the opportunity to talk about how they feel without trying to change those feelings or make them better. It’s okay to be sad sometimes. Most teens tend to feel sad, at least occasionally, and a parent needs to know to avoid tragedies such as suicide.
6.Encourage Them To Get Help
You can’t force them into treatment, but plenty of resources are available for teens needing help with mental health issues. Professionals like therapists, counselors, and psychiatrists are trained to help individuals learn how to manage their mental health issues. To make things easier for you and your teen you can even look into online therapy options. This could be a good place to start if you’re worried that your child might not be ready to talk with a professional in an office setting.
7.Encourage Them To Get Involved In Peer Support
Teenagers often struggle with intense emotions – anger, sadness, stress – that may seem overwhelming at times. They might be unable to express these feelings because of social pressures or the fear of being judged by peers or adults around them. Peer pressure can make it hard for your teen to attend school regularly and even more challenging to make friends who will support them when they need help the most. As a parent, it’s essential to encourage your teen to get involved with a peer group that is supportive of their mental health.
As a parent, you can make a huge difference in your teen’s life by talking with them about their mental health and helping them reach out for help. The more you learn about their concerns, the more you will be able to support them.