A Parent’s Guide to Their Teen’s Mental Health

A Parent's Guide to Their Teen's Mental Health

When your child is transitioning to teenagehood, a lot of changes take place in their bodies. During adolescence, the brain also undergoes several changes, some of which are related to the changing body. Along with other factors, these changes may end up confusing the teenager and can have an impact on their mental health if not properly addressed and handled. It is important to keep a close relationship with your child as you start talking to them about body changes and various anxieties they might experience during this transitioning.

Talk To Them and Show Love

During adolescence, the teen is likely to experience mixed feelings, mood swings, and peer pressure. Acting back makes them jump out of the frying pan into the fire, which is not any parent’s wish. To avoid this, it’s best to keep your teenage child closer and get involved in their activities, without letting them feel as if you’re invading their privacy. This allows you to have a closer relationship with your child, thus strengthening your bond. Eventually, you can get close enough to talk to them and get them to open up about their issues. Criticize them positively and give punishment where necessary as you specify the mistake without withdrawing love as this can make them rebellious. Often, teenagers just need someone to speak to about their concerns. If your teenage child just won’t open up or if you suspect that they’re undergoing difficulties they can’t share with you, scheduling online therapy with a psychiatrist can be the best option. Thankfully, there are many mental health resources for teens online, which parents can utilize to ensure their children’s well-being.

Set Reasonable Goals and Expectations

Having raised your child all that long, you know his capabilities. Instead of strictly having “A Expectations” to an average performer, set goals they can attain without too much pressure. Focus on their strengths instead and work on it more fully. Insist on virtues like honesty, kindness, generosity, and hard work. Give them a pat on the back when they accomplish milestones and encourage them when they come up short. This is a great way to keep them motivated, which is good for mental health.

Prioritize Rules

Rules help in molding behavior, but you can make exceptions in some situations, giving room for negotiation, reasoning, and compromising. Do not bend too much on restrictions as doing so might trigger teenage rebellion and eventually hurt your teen’s physical and mental health. Make it clear to your teen about things you cannot tolerate, such as drug abuse, reckless driving, and premarital sex. This will keep them conscious and cautious.

Set and Explain Consequences

It’s also important to help your teenage child understand that every good deed has a reward and every mistake has consequences. When disciplining your teen, make sure it is about teaching rather than punishing them. Also, being a parent does not entitle you to control your teen. Instead, create a conducive environment for conversation. Avoid criticizing your teen’s weaknesses and use their strengths to motivate them. It’s also good to avoid disrespectful and demeaning tones. Embarrassing a teenager only lowers their self-esteem, which is highly important as far as mental health is concerned. They could easily feel hated or rejected, which is the last thing you want for your kid at this fragile stage. Here are a few things to consider when setting consequences:

  • Avoid making strict demands
  • Link consequences with the actions
  • Explain your decisions
  • Be reasonable
  • Be flexible

Set an Example They Can Emulate  

The apple does not fall far from the tree, the white man said. Do not expect your teenage kid to be any different from you, especially in terms of how you conduct yourself and who they know you for. Your resilience and strength will set the path to a brighter future for them. If you set an example of resorting to drinking when dealing with stress, you might as well be digging an early grave for your child. Actions speak louder, and teens learn by watching their parents, so be a role model for your young one.

A Parent's Guide to Their Teen's Mental Health

At this age, kids are vulnerable to a lot of issues and factors from within and without. It is, therefore, important to always have your kid’s best interests at heart even when you’re angry at them. Remember, you also passed through this stage and had your fair share of challenges. Times have changed, so they don’t necessarily have to be like you when you were young. Before you go cursing, slapping, and grounding your child, think of the impact it will have on his mental wellness and handle the situation like the great parent you are! A slip of the tongue can easily trigger suicidal thoughts and self-harm to your kid. Don’t forget to get professional help where necessary.