How to Talk to Your Teen Regarding Their Mental Health

April 20, 2020

The changes in behavior that you see in your teen is quite normal during his or her age. As mentioned in  another article, positive parenting can help you when your teens are struggling to cope with those changes themselves. But how would you know if these changes are already connected to their mental health? Normal changes are different from ones with a troubled teenager who might be dealing with mental health concerns. These could include a teenager’s feeling of low self-esteem, their perspective on their self-worth, anxieties, depression, physical indications of self-harm as well as suicidal thoughts. These mental health concerns sometimes start as young as they were children, especially if they had traumatic experiences during their childhood years. However, for some teens, growing up could come as a shock to them. During this age of discovering who they are, what they want to be, and who they want to be with. They would soon start caring about the standards and opinions of society as well as the people around them. Their self-esteem and self-worth suddenly depend on being accepted, being loved, or having a sense of belongingness. And often, this is where their depression and anxieties root from. So, the first thing you need to do is be able to differentiate the kind of changes you’re seeing in your teen. If after reading these and you feel that your teen is already dealing with something serious, talking to them about it would be the first step to help them. We also recommend consulting a professional. Attempt subtle invitations for them to talk to you. Give hints that you’re noticing a change in their behavior. As absurd as it sounds, your teen ignoring you may also be his or her way to get your attention. They could be testing you if you are paying attention to them. Ask them if they’re alright and assure them that you’ll always lend an ear if they need someone to talk to. Reestablish your friendship with your teen and rebuild their trust again. The friendship and trust you had with your teens may not be the same as before. However, you can still rebuild that with them. Let them take responsibility for themselves. This would help them know that you trust them as well. Controlling them may only lead to more rebellion. As long as they aren’t doing anything that would harm themselves or others, accept their decision and continue to show your love and support for them. Be a good example. Rethink if you’ve let them down before that led them to lose confidence in you. Have you been keeping your promises with them? Have you been busier than before which is why they feel that they can’t depend on you anymore? Deal with your arguments with your teen. Heated arguments with your teen because of differences in opinion are natural. However, if they happen often and cause problems at home, it may be a good time to talk. Understand where their anger is coming from. Notice the warning signs before they explode. Is it because of school, a friend, a boy/girl, or maybe an issue at home? You may get hints about the cause of their depression or anxiety as well. Focus on what’s important. Before starting an argument with your teen, ask yourself: Is this worth getting angry about? How important is it to be right? What would be a better way to handle this? Be prepared to say sorry. Some parents miss out on this entirely. If you had made a mistake or had a misunderstanding, learn to swallow your pride and say sorry. It’s better to lose an argument than lose your teen completely. Listen to understand, not listen to respond. Listen carefully to what your teen has to say. If they are already experiencing mental health concerns, you wouldn’t want to add up to the causes. Expect rejection. Talking about depression can be an uncomfortable topic for your teen. It may take time before they open up to you, but never lose your cool and keep on trying. Listen without judgment. You may not agree with some, or maybe most, of what they’ll tell you. But you need to keep on listening. It would be best not to snort a joke, interrupt them, interrogate them, criticize them, or even offer advice. Being able to have them open up to you may be a once in a lifetime chance that your teen would give you. And you need to pass that test with flying colors. Focus on them and be genuine. Your teen needs to know that you care for what they have to say, and not just for you to solve a problem. After listening, be careful of the next steps. Do not try to talk to them out of their depression. You need to understand that their depression and anxieties don’t go away just because they’ve talked to someone about it. If it did, they would have already tried. Always be available. Be there for him or her more often. But again, be available, not intrusive. Your teen would still want their privacy, and no matter how much you want to help them get through this stage as soon as possible, it takes time. Be understanding. Rejection and being shut out can still occur despite them having opened up to you already. However, remember not to take it personally. Be more understanding and let them feel your unconditional love for them. Seek professional help if needed. However, we encourage that you consult your teen first. Solving your teen’s mental health concern is important, but losing their confidence in you won’t help either. Yes, it can be scary, especially if your teen has admitted to how he or she copes with mental health concerns. But that’s why they need you now more than ever. Believe that you can help your teen overcome this. Always remind your teen that whatever they are experiencing right now, you will be there for them through it all.

Positive Parenting in Raising your Teen

April 15, 2020

Being a parent is not an easy task. You were able to surpass changing diapers at two in the morning and live through your children’s multiple tantrums. Raising children was survivable. So why is dealing with teens so much more difficult? Well, it shouldn’t be, and it wouldn’t be if you know the best strategies for positive parenting! First off, you need to understand that the teen years are your children’s time for growth and a time when their desire to discover things is crucial to them, sometimes more than you realize. It’s a time when they’re dealing with the changes in their physical, emotional, and intellectual state and they think it’s their right or responsibility to cope with it on their own. So, what can you do to help your teen bloom into the beautiful person they’re meant to become? Here are a few suggestions that could help you get on the right track of positive parenting your teen: Expect the unexpected. You can successfully win battles when you’ve prepared enough for it. Funny as it sounds, but it’s the same thing in parenting your teens. When you educate yourself by reading books about teenagers, you learn more about what you would need to cope with once your child is in that stage of his or her life. Start talking to them early and often. Prepare for the worst and most awkward questions. Children are very curious about a lot of things in their early years. They may ask what menstruation is, or maybe even how they were born. And you would need to prepare an answer that they would understand while not being overloaded with information. Before their teen years, talk to them about risks as well, such as drugs, alcohol, and make them understand why bad things could happen when involved in such things. Establishing regular family bonding. May it be over dinner, hanging out by the park, or taking a walk, little chitchats with them help build communication and trust. This could even be a regular family meeting, where each of you can talk about anything, from a crush, an exam, a new friend, or the big ones such as a family financial problem. Involving everyone would help all of you become good listeners and create an atmosphere of openness and acceptance. You are not just a parent; you should also be a friend. The number one thing that teens want is being understood and accepted. Sadly, some teens feel that they don’t find that at home. This leads them to try to find it outside – may it be from their friends, a special boy (or girl), or from people who share the same opinion with them. Thus, it is important to form not just a parent-child relationship with them but build an everlasting friendship as well. What if my child loses respect for me? Do not be afraid, because a good friend would cherish you with trust and respect. On your part, never interrogate but always show your genuine interest in their daily life. Show that you respect their privacy as long as you know how they’re doing, where they are and who they’re with. You’ll soon realize that they’re doing the same. Where do I draw the line between being a parent and a friend? A good friend won’t tolerate wrong actions. It is the same with your teen. You will love them unconditionally, but you would also need to set boundaries as a loving parent. And no matter how much you want to spoil them, you’d need to learn to say No. Establish reasonable standards and expectations. Teens, more often than not, go about living to meet the standards and expectations that you have long presented before them. So, you need to help them understand that those are for their own well-being. Set rules and let them know the consequences of their actions. Raising children with discipline is never about punishing or controlling them. It’s about teaching them what and why things are right and wrong but having the freedom to choose for themselves. Create agreements. Come to terms with your teen on what would be the consequence or punishment if a rule is disobeyed. Be reasonable when you correct their mistakes. And as what some parents forget, chastise what your teen had done, not your teen. Never focus on the number or the level of success. Do not put pressure on your teen. There’s a difference between wanting them to do good at sports and being the best player in the team. There’s a difference between asking why they got an 80 in one subject and seeing that they got a 95 in everything except that subject. No matter how busy you are, make time and show your love for them. For some parents, this may be difficult with their working schedule. And most often than not, it creates a distance between parent and child which may result in the difficulty of reaching out to each other in the future. However, everyone has twenty-hours each day. If you’re busy during working hours and would only be free during dinner, make sure to be physically and mentally present then. Or maybe you can wake up an hour before preparing for work, or spare an hour before going to bed, to talk to your children and let them know you love them. Raising children and helping them through their teen years won’t always be easy. Strategic positive parenting can help you handle your current situation with them. But what you always need to remember, is that teens would have trouble opening up. So, if they try to talk to you about something, notice it and listen to them. If they admit to being a bit different from other teens, accept them. If they confide in you with their mistakes, continue to love them and never give up on them.


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