The weight of the world is enough as an adult; but as a teenager? It’s even more overwhelming. Teens are faced with pressures from all angles. To name a few, school, friendships, romance, family, jobs, drugs, and body changes are heavy on teens’ minds. On top of that, technology has added an additional stressor that previous generations haven’t dealt with. The transition to adulthood is not an easy journey. All of these factors can take a toll on a teen’s mental health and contribute to feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.
Parents are always going to be worried about their children. In other words, they want to be dialed in to their teens wants, needs, and feelings. But how can parents go beyond the basics and support their teen through mental health struggles? Here are a few tips for parents to help them get involved in their teen’s healing process:
Be Mindful of Your Teen’s Behaviors
Examples of concerning behaviors may include:
- Abnormal eating patterns (overeating, under-eating)
- Irregular sleeping habits (oversleeping, insomnia)
- Mood changes (anger, violence, sadness, etc.)
- Low energy or loss of interest
Practice Transparency and Support
Start an open conversation in your household about mental health. To clarify, let your teen know about any mental health struggles you’ve faced. Breaking the stigma surrounding mental health is often the first step towards healing. Additionally, allowing an open dialogue about difficult topics like sex, drugs, and bullying can be really beneficial for creating an honest and trusting relationship with your child. Avoid judgment and just listen; your support is crucial to your teen’s well-being.
Consult with a Professional about your Teen’s Mental Health
In addition to providing support at home, taking action to address your teen’s mental health concerns is important. Talk to your teen’s pediatrician or family doctor about your teen’s mental health symptoms. Then, encourage and help your child seek counseling to work through the issues they are facing. Therapy can be a powerful tool in addressing the difficult issues that teens face during such a critical time in their lives.
Supporting your teen through the challenges they face is the best thing you can do for their mental health. Parents: you are not helpless. You can be the guiding force in seeking solutions for your child’s mental health needs.
About the Author
Sydnee Boswell is Evolution Wellness’s Care Coordinator and Marketing Specialist. She has a bachelor’s degree in Public Health and loves serving the community by advocating for mental health awareness and destigmatization