As a parent, you are responsible for raising and caring for your child to the best of your ability. Concern for their health is a high priority as you watch them grow from childhood through adolescence to early adulthood and onward. As the years elapse and time moves on, your child matures and develops from that tiny bundle of joy into an unruly teenager with a wide assortment of feelings and emotions. Parents must become more aware and attentive to their offspring during these transitional years. A teenager’s psychological and emotional well-being are more likely to change as they mature into an adult.
Many challenges await teenagers as they stumble through life, looking for answers to various questions that pop up unexpectedly. Any number of emotional, physical, or social changes can make teens vulnerable to mental health issues. The more risk factors teenagers become exposed to, the more significant the potential impact on their mental health.
Any number of circumstances can cause teenagers to succumb to depression from stress-related instances such as peer pressure, media influence, quality of home life, relationships with peers, or sexual identity. Because of this, parents must be supportive of their child at any given moment.
Often teens can struggle with mental health as their parents and surrounding adults remain oblivious. Parents need to understand the difference between their child being just another “moody teen” and the possibility that their teenager grapples with mental health issues. At times, they often do not recognize the inner struggles of their children due to the shared mentality that everyone goes through these awkward teenage years.
Parents must be cautious and observant of signs that their teen’s mental health might be on a downward trajectory before the issue gets out of control and intervention is required.
With summer right around the corner and COVID-19 restrictions easing up, teenagers will start to transition back to some semblance of normalcy. Those teens who have had to cope with being cooped up indoors while dealing with constraints on their mental health might need help readjusting to the social aspect of daily life. Parents can be crucial in helping their teens adapt to these changes by showing their undivided attention and encouragement. Let’s look at some of the ways parents can provide love and support for their teenager’s mental health.
Ask Questions and LISTEN
Be sure to check in on your teen from time to time and ask them questions such as how their day was or what they have been doing. The important part is to listen to what they have to say and engage with them in conversations rather than one-word answers. By using a few simple words of inspiration and encouraging them to share their feelings, they will be more comfortable opening up to you.
Develop Appropriate Boundaries
Building boundaries is essential in creating clarity between parents and their teens as they maneuver through this period of change. By creating specific boundaries between yourself and your teen, you will help them gain independence, be safe, and make sound judgments. With clear limits established, conflict is less likely to occur, and teenagers will feel safer and supported by their parents when cooperating in adhering to the boundaries in place.
Trust is vital in the relationship between a teenager and a parent. As your child becomes more independent, you want to believe in what they communicate to you and how they represent themselves so you can still manage to keep them safe. If you can have mutual trust with one another, it will strengthen your relationship and give you better insight into their mental health.
Suppose you suspect your teenage son or daughter is suffering from a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety. In that case, it is essential to research the issue to recognize the possibility that their impulsive actions or sudden change in appearance are a cause for concern. By educating yourself with different behaviors and symptoms, it will be easier to find proper treatment down the line.
Encourage Positive Physical Health
Ensure your son or daughter has a healthy diet or eating habits, maintains some form of exercise, and gets an adequate amount of sleep. By continuing a healthy regimen, your teen will be less prone to negative emotions such as anger, angst, or depression.
Reinforce Positive Behaviors and Decision Making
Parents should try to provide consistent expectations and support for their loved ones. Those parents who pass on social skills, problem-solving, and conflict resolution, bolster good mental health in their offspring. While positive feedback validates and reinforces behaviors that hold value by others.
Work Through Conflict With One Another
Try to remain calm when you are sorting out conflicting issues with your teen. Never discuss issues when you are angry, avoid power struggles, and be honest and transparent with your teenager for a more positive outcome after a confrontation.
Exhibit interest in your teenager’s passions and extracurricular activities. As a parent, you can show support for your child by learning about their hobbies and interests to gain insight into what they enjoy. Sharing knowledge about certain things will strengthen your relationship with one another.
Share Your Life Experiences
The advice and knowledge you pass on to your teen from your upbringing can benefit them in the long run. By relaying parts of your past to your son or daughter, you are letting them know that you might have experienced something similar, and your bond will grow stronger from sharing how you dealt with the situation.
By maintaining family routines and rituals, you can set aside special dates or times to spend more time with your teen. Something that you might have done as a family together when they were children and continue to do into their teenage years will set a precedent for lasting supportive communication between one another.
Suppose you are a parent who believes your teenager is suffering from a mental health or substance use disorder. In that case, at Mission Harbor Behavioral Health, our expert team of professionals specializes in treatment for teen recovery and is readily available to assist you. Call us any time to set up an appointment at (805) 209-4433.