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Is your teen experiencing some mental health challenges that you’re having a hard time understanding? This can be a difficult parenting issue if you’ve never struggled with mental health yourself. Here are a few approaches that will help you to better understand your teen’s mental health challenges.

The Real Nature of Mental Health Challenges

First, you might need to change your mentality when it comes to the nature of their mental health. Since past generations haven’t had a very clear understanding of mental health challenges, you may have difficulty believing that your teen can’t choose to be rid of their mental health issues. In reality, mental health difficulties are just as serious, but treatable as any physical ailment. If your teen had a broken leg, would you expect them to get over it and stop acting like they’re in pain? Or would you tell them to get help by going to a doctor? The same principle should apply to the mental health challenges that your teen is experiencing. Make sure that you treat their mental health struggles as a real ailment rather than suggesting that they simply change their attitude because, in reality, mental health issues are a lot more complicated than that.

Learn to Communicate

Next, learn to communicate with your teen in a healthy and clear way about the mental health challenges that they’re experiencing. Building the trust required to communicate in this way may take some time and effort, but it will be well worth it. Communicating about your teen’s symptoms and mental health can help them to better understand and deal with their mental health issues. Additionally, make sure that you’re using specific terms when you talk about their mental health challenges. For example, ask them about their anxiety or depression specifically. If they’ve struggled with suicidal thoughts, ask them about it using those specific terms. This can help them to be more open and trusting about their feelings.

How You Can Support if You Don’t Understand

If you don’t feel that you understand what your teen is experiencing because you’ve never struggled with your own mental health issues, don’t worry. You can still support your teen even if you don’t fully comprehend what their mental health challenges feel like. Ask them how you can best love and support them, especially when they’re in the middle of a mental health crisis. Talking to them, spending quality time with them, or even just cooking their favorite meal might be great ways to support them.

If your teen is experiencing a mental health crisis, do all that you can to understand them. Acknowledge the real nature of their mental health issues, learn to communicate, and support them even if you don’t understand them. If you feel that they might need some additional support, encourage them to talk with a mental health counselor.

Could your teen benefit from talking with a mental health counselor? Click here to view the rates and services of mental health counselors at Peak Psychological Services.