The teenage years are full of incredible growth – not just physically, but emotionally, mentally, academically, and more. This time is full of change and with that, comes a wide range of emotions that teenagers may not fully know how to process. As parents or caregivers, we can help them understand how to manage their feelings amid change, and help give them a bit of hope, too. Here are some tips on how to do that.
Let them know that they aren’t alone.
It is natural for teenagers to feel like they are isolated in what they are going through. But it is very important that your teenager needs to know that no matter what they’re experiencing, that they aren’t alone in it. No matter how big or small the issue, ensure that your teenager always has a safe place with you to share their feelings and thoughts. Encourage them to find a friend or mentor outside of the family that they trust that they can confide in. When a teenager feels seen and heard, there is hope to push through even the most difficult situations.
Thinking back to what it felt like to be a teenager, most of us don’t want to repeat that time because of how hard it can be at times. So, when you see your teenager struggling or maybe even acting out, show compassion. A little bit of empathy goes a long way. Share with them about some of your teenage experiences and try to relate with what they are going through. Talking about shared or common experiences can bring a bit of hope into a situation, because teenagers will recognize that their experience is not unique to just them.
Talk things through.
Feelings of frustration, sadness, anger, or grief at things that are changing or transitioning are normal. Make sure your teenager knows that you may also be feeling those things but together, you can handle those strong emotions. Validate their feelings and show them what it’s like to process the many emotions that come with change. Acknowledging and talking about these things is healthy and necessary. Stuffing the feelings or brushing them aside will only cause greater internal struggles and sometimes, even feelings of hopelessness.
Ask for help.
Mental health is very important and if there is something that you or your teen need professional help with, don’t hesitate. Anxiety and depression are very common – especially with the events in recent years – and it is important to seek medical assistance or counseling if you feel like your teenager is going through something that may be on a deeper level. There is no shame in asking for help. This help and support bring hope to the person seeking it – and the family and friends around the person receiving it.
Finding hope amid difficult times is possible. Making a routine, setting goals, expressing feelings, and pushing away the things that bring you or your teen down are some of the first steps to making it through the other side of change in a healthy way.