Wednesday, May 27, 2020

How to Be There for Your Teen

How to Be There for Your Teen

While hormonal changes are a natural part of growing up, as a parent or guardian, they can certainly be a challenge to deal with. I'm 6 years away from having a teenager and already scared to death! Did you know the hormonal changes caused by puberty can start in children as young as 7 or 8? What!? And they can lead to mood swings, impulsive behavior or even mental health issues. It’s natural for parents to feel a little helpless while this is happening to their child or teen, but there are steps you can take to help them through this challenging time.

Talk to Them
The first step in dealing with teenagers is to keep communication lines open and know they can always come to you. This is can be so tricky! You want them to be open with you, but also know their actions have consequences. It can be tough to have a conversation with a teenager; it’s hard not to be judgmental about their choices, give unwanted advice, and you need to be empathetic even if you feel they’ve made a mistake.
It’s important not to be confrontational or yell at your teenager, as they may just ignore you or argue back. Instead, you need to have honest conversations and explain your point of view, even if you feel frustrated with their behavior. They will feel respected that way. It also provides them with the opportunity to see what mature discussions are like to set them up for future relationships. And this way, if something serious is going on in their life, they are more likely to come to you for help.
How to Be There for Your Teen
Don’t Be Afraid to Get Them Professional Help
Parents will often be reluctant to get mental health support for their children. Their issues will often be explained away as ‘just a phase’ or ‘something they’ll grow out of’, but ultimately, if your child is suffering from mental health problems, they need professional help. It’s worth contacting Ignite Teen Treatment who offer programs for teenagers with depression, trauma, behavioral issues, anxiety and more.
Some signs your child may need mental health treatment include:
  • Avoiding friends and social activities
  • Suddenly losing interest in school or grades slipping over time
  • No longer wanting to do activities, whether at school, sports or fun stuff at weekends
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Lack of focus
  • Sudden drastic change in weight
  • Overwhelming need for control
  • Obsessive tendencies 
Not all teenage problems can be blamed on hormones, so it’s important to know when your teenager needs professional help. My parents let me know I could approach them about anything so in college when I developed an eating disorder and recognized I needed help, I felt comfortable going to them. They were able to find help nearby and get me started with appointments. I know it helped me so much!
Help Teenagers Look Outside Themselves
Teenagers, by nature, are egotistical. This is not due to bad parenting: it’s a normal, natural thing and part of their emotional development. They often have not developed the ability to take other people's feeling, emotions, and perspectives into account. So one way you can help them be happier is to get them to think beyond their own needs. There are a number of ways you can help teenagers look outside themselves, whether it’s doing volunteer work, encouraging them to join social activities, or introducing them to people from different backgrounds and with different perspectives. All these will help your teenager to grow and mature.

How to Be There for Your Teen
Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle
Finally, simply encouraging a healthy lifestyle at home can go a long way to helping balance the hormones in teenagers. Eating well and partaking in regular exercise can help teenagers with the physical and mental aspects they are undergoing due to puberty, and this is an important time for them to learn good habits too. Lead by example and adopt a healthy lifestyle yourself, so you can be a positive influence on your teen! 

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