Back when you were a teenager and something upset you, you may have tried to discuss it with your parents. Their response may have sounded a little something like this: “everyone goes through this stuff and we manage to survive, it’ll be fine and it’ll pass”. Sound familiar? Yeah, we thought so.
It’s time we all stop brushing off our teen’s attempts at talking to us about what’s upsetting them. It is absolutely imperative that we give them the knowledge and tools they need to deal with their mental health.
Teen Mental Health
As an adult, we often think we had it much rougher back in the day than our teens have it now. Most parents believe this, so when our teens try to speak to us about what’s bothering them, or troubling their minds, we often downplay their problems.
Unfortunately, teens are struggling and at a much higher rate. Some are being bullied at school, which now carries over into social media channels and texting and messages even after they’ve left school. Others are comparing their lives to the “perfect” lives they see staged on social media. And many are under pressure to earn perfect grades, combined with playing a sport and participating in extracurricular activities “because it looks good for colleges” or it makes their parents look good. All of these things, and plenty of other situations and pressures, affect teens and their mental health.
Let’s face it. Being a teen today is much harder than it was when we were teens. The pressure to succeed alone is leading to unprecedented rates of anxiety in teens.
Mental Health Knowledge
Pressures are placed on kids from an early age, but we never teach kids about mental health. No one discusses mental health, because it’s still considered taboo. We’re often taught we must keep problems and pressures and issues to ourselves, and present only the beautiful and best parts of our lives to the world. Kids may not be told this directly, but they see it happening all around them.
Challenges hit us in each stage of our lives. They show up in all walks of life. When teens don’t know how to handle these challenges and pressures, it ends up causing anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems. We must take time to provide our teens with mental health knowledge, and instill in them that they should never feel ashamed to talk about their feelings and what they’re going through.
Teen Dealing with Mental Health
Parents aren’t always sure how to help their teens, so we have a tendency to ignore the problems or chalk them up to normal teenage angst. A shift in our world needs to be made, but it’s a slow process.
If your teen is struggling, they should know:
They are far from weak.
Their feelings are valid.
Asking for help shows strength.
It’s okay to say no to requests of their time.
Help is available.
Parents aren’t perfect, and we’re going to mess up. Come to us anyway.
Parents: Ask for a Professional’s Help
Mental health issues are manageable. There’s so many coping skills a teen can learn so they’re armed with exactly what they need to deal with their mental health. Professionals are ready and willing to help both parents, as well as teens, learn the necessary skills to handle the pressures life throws each of them. Mental health is a group effort and a good therapist can help on each family member’s journey.