Being a teenager is no easy task, and being a teen’s parent holds the same level of difficulty. We know you love your teen and want them to be healthy and happy – both physically and mentally.
Today we’ll dive into some professional guidelines for monitoring your teen’s mental health. This includes the warning signs of a struggling teen, how to approach and support them, and outside options for when you need additional help. Learn how to encourage a healthy and sound mindset in your teen today!
Signs of a Struggling Teen
You have wonderful memories of your teen when they were just a child; you may be longing to return to those simpler times. As children grow up, they change not only physically, but mentally. Some changes may be great, such as developing maturity and wisdom, but others can bring about darker situations.
A teen who is struggling with their mental health may show various warning signs. The adolescent years are filled with fears and anxiety in various contexts. Sometimes it is just too much for your teen to handle on their own. When this happens, they may suddenly change their behaviors or shift their attitudes.
Emotional problems, especially a depressed mood or loss of interest in their hobbies, are a big red flag in a struggling teen. This can also be seen in confrontational or dangerous behaviors where it seems impossible for your child to listen to authority.
Anxiety itself can manifest in things like panic attacks, mental shutdowns, poor academic performance, and compulsive behaviors. Mental health issues like anxiety can arise in combination with addiction or substance use. If your teen is struggling with a diagnosable mental health concern, such as bipolar disorder or substance use disorder, you may find a wide array of these signs in your midst.
How to Support Your Teen
It’s important to remember that we all have our ups and downs. A teen with a low mark on their report card or one argument over dinner doesn’t necessarily mean that their mental health is in jeopardy. The latter occurs when negative signs persist for weeks on end, but parents don’t need to wait until then to support their teens.
When parents establish a strong support system between themselves and their teens, they give them someone to talk to before the going gets too rough. Supporting your teen starts with communication.
Talk with them about mental health and its importance. Do your best to relay empathy and understanding, creating a place that feels safe for your child to share their thoughts and worries. Encourage them to share their feelings, no matter what they may be.
When your teen feels comfortable enough to share with you, you must give them your undivided attention. Parents must take the time to support and hear out their children.
Once you understand your child’s concerns, work with them on setting small, short-term goals that will help them near a solution for their problems. Keep track of these goals and their progress, helping your child however you can while maintaining their sense of independence.
Sometimes the conflict itself is between the parent and the child. It’s important to remember that the problem is separate from the teen. Work through the conflict together, listening to each other’s positions before moving forward. Never speak from anger – if necessary, take time to cool off before communicating. This will also give you both time to reflect, returning with honest and respectful conversation.
Residential Treatment Center Options
At times, parents just need a little extra support. You may be super-mom or super-dad, but you aren’t superhuman. There’s a reason for sayings like, “It takes a village to raise a child.” When you need a hand in helping your teen regain control of their mental health, residential treatment centers like Elevations RTC provide a professional safe haven for struggling teens, all while keeping mom and dad involved. Staff includes top licensing and accreditation to ensure that your teen is receiving specific and effective mental health help, as well as suicide prevention.
Teens with mental health issues, substance use/addictions, rebellious behavior, and even poor academic performance can find resources and professional guidance at these centers to help reconnect them with a more meaningful life.
Take Action Today
If you’re reading this today, congratulations! You have taken the first step to support your teen’s mental health. By gaining knowledge around this topic, you now know the essential steps to support your teen amidst any struggles they may be having. By focusing on creating a safe space for your teen, you are paving the way for more open communication.
If you ever need further support, remember that you can lean on services such as residential treatment centers and mental health professionals. You and your teen are not alone!