Having children is a joy that can change your life. There are countless examples of people turning their lives around after the birth of their first child. However, very few people talk about how hard things can be during their children’s teen years. Not only are children extremely emotionally volatile at this age, but they can spiral and move into delinquent behavior if the situation isn’t handled swiftly. This article will discuss how you can help your teens navigate this crucial phase of life where they might fall victim to anxiety, disorders, and distress.
We plan on addressing some of the very real issues teens face during these years and how you can support them. As a parent, it is in your best interest to read till the end and understand how you can contribute to making this journey easier for yourself and your children. Here are some of the ways you can support your teen’s mental health.
Finding Them a Therapist They Can Relate to
We have seen the rise of psychotherapy in the last two decades. However, few people talk about how hard it is to find the right therapist for you. There is no doubt that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of qualified professionals out there. However, finding someone who aligns with your values, goals, and general outlook on life is easier said than done.
The same applies to your children. Research suggests that 8% of teens in the U.S. are diagnosed with anxiety disorders after 13. Around 18 years of age, 15% show symptoms of clinical disorders. Talk with them and find out whether they are truly comfortable with the professional in every way. Finding a therapist for teens with anxiety is considerably harder than finding one for adults. They are undergoing immense changes in their body, world view, and personality. Therefore, you may not know what they need as well as they do.
Let them be the judge and trust their opinions. Your teens need to take the initiative regarding their mental health. Letting them choose a therapist is one of the best ways to do that.
Spend More Time With Them
One of the best ways to support your teen’s mental health needs is to be someone they can count on and talk to. There is a common trend for parents to be away and working and not have enough time to spend with their kids even when they get home. These paradigms need to shift if we expect to raise strong, independent, and upstanding members of society.
You must take time out for them and truly understand their personalities. Participate in their hobbies, know about their favorite TV shows, and try and talk to them about things as often as possible, even if they seem mundane.
As they grow into their teen years, they will start becoming naturally distant. Try and ensure that the gap doesn’t extend too wide and that they always have a friend in you no matter what.
Have Realistic Expectations
We may not always realize how damaging our expectations can be for our children. There are times when they simply can’t cope with the pressure and fall short of the goals their parents set. Not only does this make them doubt their ability, but also their relationship with the parent as they may feel that they have disappointed them.
Helicopter parenting styles have caused noticeable damage to teens and continue to cause self-esteem issues in young adults. Please keep your expectations realistic and foster an environment of learning, trying, and learning from mistakes.
Moreover, it is extremely important also to encourage your children to pursue their passions. Thankfully, the American college system strongly values co-curricular as well as grades. Therefore, consider raising a well-rounded human with strong values and diverse abilities rather than a bookworm.
Observe, Don’t Hover
We live in a time when access to just about any content on the internet is at our fingertips. Therefore, as much as there is to learn on the web, there is a lot of danger out there as well. Please keep an eye on what your kids are doing but also trust their ability to decipher right from wrong.
Younger children need a little more guidance in this regard, but teens are a bit sharper when it comes to avoiding danger.
It would be best to have open-ended conversations with them about online bullying, sexual themes, and internet addiction. Constantly monitoring them may not be the right approach, but perhaps you can set a clear set of boundaries and establish the importance of following them.
Lead by Example
Your children need to know two things; you are human and a good person. If you aim to develop their respect, you are going to need to show them a side of you that they can relate to. This means teaching them a lesson when losing, learning how to take bad news, and also staying positive in adversity.
Factors such as hard work, meritocracy, gender parity, and others need to be driven from a young age. Leading by example is one of the best ways to teach your children how to be mentally strong and well-rounded individuals.
Mental illness has several different factions to it that can cause several issues. In extreme cases, teens can begin experimenting with drugs and find themselves caught up in other illegal activities. For this reason, it would be wise to see the warning signs and address them as soon as possible. However, as with all illnesses, prevention is better than cure.
This article has discussed some things parents can do to help their children and their overall mental health. From finding the right therapist to leading by example, we have been over some common steps that parents can take to ensure positive mental health.
It would be wise to use these factors together rather than in isolation. Working on one side and lacking in others will only complicate the situation and make it harder to traverse.
We hope your children never fall victim to poor mental health periods and that this article can positively affect their lives and yours.