Teen Mental Health – A Parents’ Guide
Adolescence is a tumultuous period not only for the teenagers, but for their parents as well. Moving through emotional, social, physical, intellectual, and hormonal transitions, both generations encounter overwhelming pressure and face numerous problems to resolve. Being accompanied with exposure to such risk factors as violence, abuse, or financial instability, they enhance the teenagers’ vulnerability to health problems. According to the statistical data of the World Health Organisation, 16 % of diseases at the age range of 10-19 are related to mental health (Adolescent mental health, 2019).
Unfortunately, most cases are not detected timely, thus leading to negative, sometimes life-threatening, consequences and restricted opportunities to lead full-on adult lives. Your child’s brain is still developing and maturing; so, only your support and close attention to the signs that might indicate mental health problems can be a life saver!
Red Flags for Parents
If you see the following signs in your child for several weeks, it could indicate that it’s time to start talking or even get professional help:
– sudden drop in academic performance
– long-time sadness
– sleep problems
– aggressiveness and temper tantrums
– drastic change in usual behaviour without any logical reason
– avoiding friends
– feeling restless
– onsets of guilt
– constant anxiety about appearance and weight, etc.
Key Tips for Parents
– Be honest and open, communicating with your child. Tell your child about your own fears and your own traumatic experiences, if any. It is helpful for them to know that their anxiety is not unique, and they are not alone.
– Remember that it is possible to treat mental health disorders. Collect all available information and talk to your child’s doctor to find the best possible solutions. Struggling with a suspicion that your child is mentally ill, it is completely wrong to ignore the problem and will not make the problem go away by itself.
Typical Teen Mental Health Problems and How Parents Can Help
It is normal to feel stressed sometimes, but an elevated level of stress due to academic pressure, sports, extracurricular activities, and issues in relationships can cause anxiety disorders. It is complicated for the teens to manage their stress: 42 % of adolescents claim that it is not clear for them how to manage their stress effectively, and 13 % have no idea about stress management (Guide to Teen Mental Health in an Internet Era). Lockdown has added to the fears and self-esteem problems of the students, but it is still possible to generate the sense of progress in them. Sit your overstressed child down and talk to him or her about how it is possible to relax and make the load easier. Keep demonstrating that you are proud of their achievements no matter what happens. Track your child’s sleep and make sure they get sufficient rest. Be supportive and friendly.
Bullying and Cyberbullying
Millions of teens around the world are affected with school bullying, both physical and verbal. It is time to take action if you recognize even the slightest signs of pressure or harassment on your child. Cyberbullying can be more complicated to spot, but vulnerability of teenagers to it is extremely high. Keep talking! Communication is the first and foremost method of resolving all the problems as it will enable you to seek solutions together.
Teen years are always tough, but who can better understand your child and recognize the symptoms of mental health problem than a loving mother or father? Doing that timely can help your child.