Everyone knows that one’s teenage years are often fraught with various struggles. Parents are expected to help their children formulate their identities and prepare them for the real world, all while dealing with strained relationships and, more often than not, rebellion. Adding mental health issues into the mix can sometimes make it feel impossible to be successful. Luckily, there is always hope. Even if you don’t believe it, you can greatly impact your teen’s mental health and overall wellness. Here are a few tips that can help.
Have Open Conversations
First of all, it is important to have open conversations about your teen’s mental health. At first, they might not want to talk about their emotions. They might not know how to express or explain what they are feeling, especially if you haven’t had a very close relationship with them during their adolescence. Do everything that you can to build that relationship and help your teen realize that you want them to feel happy and healthy. This will help them to open up about what they are experiencing. Make sure that you have these conversations in a private, relaxing environment, and set aside as much time as necessary to help your teen.
Next, it is important to listen compassionately as you are having conversations about mental health with your teen. Realize that you might not completely (or remotely) understand what they are experiencing, even if you have battled with your own mental health challenges. Don’t judge them when they talk to you about their experiences. Don’t be quick to suggest treatments or solutions, and don’t try to “fix” their problems. Instead, be an active listener and show lots of love before offering advice.
Find Helpful Routines
Another way to help your teen with their mental health challenges is to think of helpful routines that will aid their mental health. For example, if your teen struggles with sleeping or eating enough, try to help them implement a consistent nighttime routine, or make sure snacks are readily available for them to take to school. If there is something in their life that they really enjoy–like music or reading or even spending time with good friends–make sure they have time to incorporate those things into their daily schedule. Finally, ensure that they are exercising and eating consistently. Having a routine that they can stick to will help them to feel better in every way.
So, if your teen is struggling with their mental health, remember that there are many things you can do to help them. Rather than trying to diagnose or solve their issues, have open conversations, listen compassionately, and find helpful routines. This will show your teen that you truly care about their health and happiness. Then, when they are ready, take them to see a therapist who can offer additional help they might need.
Want to learn more about how you can help your teen with their mental health? Click here to discover more from Peak Psychological Services.