Parenting My Teen

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Archive for the ‘Teen Emotional Health’

Teenagers want parents to be involved in their lives

By: Aurelia Category: Family, Parenting A Teen, Teen Emotional Health, Teen General Health

(BPT) – Today’s changing social environment and confusing messages about drugs and alcohol may be making it even more difficult for teenagers to get their bearings as they move toward adulthood. That is why it is more important than ever for parents to know what is going on in their kids’ lives and have the skills to respond to their teens appropriately.

Specifically, as drugs and alcohol are becoming more accessible and more states are legalizing marijuana, many teens may believe that the use of marijuana or other substances is now okay. Parents should know that legalization of marijuana does not mean it is harmless, and increased availability of other substances does not make them less harmful, either. Marijuana and other substances can cause permanent damage to the teenage brain, and teens can become addicted more quickly than adults.

This is a time when parents need to become involved in their teens’ lives and help them navigate these complex issues. While many parents may think of their teens as grown-ups and able to fully take care of themselves, teenagers have said that this is a time when they need their parents the most. Asking questions and being involved shows teenagers that their parents care.

“Even though teens may sometimes indicate otherwise, through my experience as a psychiatrist to teenagers, I have found that most of them want their parents involved in their lives to provide guidance and support,” says Dr. Thomas Wright, chief medical officer at Rosecrance, one of the country’s leading teen substance abuse treatment centers. “Teens want their parents to actively parent them and provide them guidance they need, including direction around substances.”

Studies have shown that parents who play an active role in the lives of their teens can positively impact their children’s behavior and influence them to cease or abstain from ever using substances. In contrast, research shows that teens whose parents expect them to engage in risky behaviors such as drinking and using drugs are more likely to do so.

“It is critical that parents understand their role and take conscious measures to support their teens in living a healthy and happy life,” Wright says. “Parents should ask what their teens are doing, address the pressures they are facing, act immediately when they suspect their teen is in trouble, and advocate for help if their teen needs it to help them live a healthy life.”

Starting a conversation with a teen about substances can be daunting. It can be even more overwhelming for a parent when their teenage child approaches them with questions before they have had a chance to prepare. For a helpful guide to talking with a teenager about marijuana visit www.rosecrance.org/teens-weed.

Be sure to check out Real Life Guidance Guide to Understanding Your Teen to grab some additional parenting help and help solve the mysteries in understanding your teen.

Teen Anxiety and How to Help

By: Aurelia Category: Parenting A Teen, Teen Emotional Health, Teen General Health

Teen anxietyWhat is teen Anxiety  – Teen anxiety occurs when a teenagers feel unsure of  themselves or the events that  have taken place in their lives. Anxiety is an unsettled, restless state of mind. The teen experiences emotional distress (sometimes combined with overwhelming feelings of disappointment) on a day to day basis. Everything seems to be out of control.

Why teens experience anxiety?  The teenage years are times of high stress, hard decisions and strong emotions. Teen anxiety can come about through many events in the teen’s life such as a broken relationship, a parental divorce or academic pressure in school. These issues are real and are very much a part of their lives. Teenagers are easily influenced by people and events around them. Moreover, they are living in a fast-paced, constantly changing world. Technology produces everything faster and better even before everyone has adapted to the old products. Everything – from cell phones to i-pods – conveys the message that everything has to be accomplished fast, practically without thought or meaning. As well, teens are heavily influenced by the media which promotes the idea of always being Number One. The images result in a lot of pressure on teens because these standards are unrealistic and are usually not attainable.

Parents can tell if their teen has anxiety if they show signs of…

· Inability to follow through with a  usual routine whether it is school or work related

· Compulsive actions

· Repetitive behavior

· Agitated behavior

· Disturbed sleep patterns

What can parents do to prevent overwhelming anxiety in their teens?

A certain amount of teen anxiety is normal and it is possible for the average adolescent  to cope with his or her anxiety. Parents play an important role in helping them do so. One task for parents is to identify when symptoms become unmanageable and to arrange for professional assessment and treatment if necessary. When a teen’s anxiety interferes with his or her ability to function well in school, at home or with peers, then a consultation with a mental health professional can prove invaluable. Similarly, when a teen shares that anxiety is making him think of dying, professional treatment is best.

The majority of teens are dealing with less intense types of anxiety. They’ll be able to get by with a little help from their friends and family. Parents can help with their teen’s anxiety by listening to them. Teens do not want to be lectured by their parents who criticize everything they do. Teens need someone who they can talk to and vent their frustrations to. Teens need to feel that they are not being judged and whatever they say will be accepted. They need to feel they can trust their parents and that they are loved and cared for. Sometimes parents can guide teens toward activities that provide stress relief such as sports, drama clubs, volunteer work, and even part-time jobs. Parents can also encourage downtime, family fun (board games, outings, hobbies) and even cooking!

A short vacation or even a few hours out of the house for some one-on-one quality time can often work wonders with an adolescent. Parents can even play some relaxing music in the house to help set a calm mood. Of course, reducing family stress (no yelling, fighting, marital battles, etc.) will also help reduce teen anxiety. If parents are experiencing stress of their own, they shouldn’t share it with their teens but rather with other supportive adults.  Teens who effectively navigate the stresses of adolescence, on their own or with parental and/or professional support, are in a good position to handle the stresses and anxieties of adult life. It’s important for parents to refrain from rescuing their teen from every difficulty because this prevents the youngster from learning how to handle and overcome excessive stress. Providing guidance while trusting one’s child to be able to handle life is the healthiest approach for parents to take. The teen will be encouraged by the vote of confidence!

Be sure to check out Real Life Guidance Guide to Understanding Your Teen to grab some additional parenting help and help solve the mysteries in understanding your teen.

Tips On Communicating With Your Teen

By: Aurelia Category: Parenting A Teen, Teen Emotional Health

All at once you may discover that you are at a loss for words when it comes to talking to your teen. Just a few years prior, they wanted a bedtime story or a comforting hug to feel that everything was alright. Well, they may decline the former, but the latter is still appreciated even if they say it is not. You just have to time it better during the teenage years.

But, that won’t get you out of the doghouse with your teen all the time. You will have to learn their language too. We’ll get into that in a second. First, here are some tips on how to simply talk to them.

 

Listen Actively

This is the number one way to communicate with them. Think about husbands and wives for a second. Wives can always tell when their husbands are not paying attention. It could be the glazing over of the eyes or even the fact that you are not looking at the person directly.

The same applies to you and a conversation with your teen. Conversations are going to get few and far between as they grow more independent of you. Treat each one as precious. Here’s how.

Make eye contact – Look your child in the face as they talk to you. What they have to say may not be earth-shattering but it is important to them.

Stop what you are doing – Conversations don’t always happen at convenient times. But, if you are reading the paper or watching a television show, put it down or turn off the set for a few moments and give them your undivided attention.

Resist the urge to form a response in your head – We’ve all done it before. As soon as the person who is talking to us begins speaking we feel we have the gist of what they are saying. So, we stop listening and concentrate on what we will say when they are finished. A telltale sign is that you begin to nod your head as if in agreement even if they are saying something that to them doesn’t deserve a nod.

Communicate what you heard – Sometimes what we hear is not exactly what is being said. When your teen finishes speaking, simply repeat back to them what you heard them say so that there is no miscommunication from the start.

 

Non-Verbal Communication

What you don’t say is just as important as what you do say. Kids and teenagers are quite astute. They can pick up on your emotional state from how you act. Use your non-verbal skills to put a positive spin on your talks with them.

Use open non-verbal gestures – When you sit and talk with your teen, keep your arms at your sides or on the arm of the chair. Avoid crossing your legs. Open gestures convey a willingness to listen. Also, try to avoid placing your hands on your hips if you are frustrated or pointing fingers at your teen.

Be mindful of your facial expression – It is easy to screw up your face when your teen says something that you don’t like. That sends the message to them that you have stopped listening to what they are saying or that they are not getting through to you. For example, if you were telling a friend that you were having plastic surgery and they frowned at you or furrowed their eyebrows, wouldn’t you stop talking? A disapproving look is just like saying “I don’t approve” with your mouth. Instead, try to smile when appropriate or keep your expression neutral. Resist the urge to roll your eyes also.

Make body contact – Teens are not averse to having their parents hug or touch them (except when friends are around). Sitting away from them can signify that you are standoffish about what they are saying. Sit next to them so that they know they have your attention and that you care. It provides security even though they may act like they don’t need it.

Keep a positive tone – When your voice drops an octave or two, kids get worried. Either it means that you are mad or not in the mood to talk. Use it sparingly though. Too much happiness in your voice can sound phony to them.

Mind the noises – This is a funny but serious one. Have you ever sucked your teeth or sighed heavily when your teen says that they want to talk. Before they even open their mouth they may turn and leave after a long sigh. Unconsciously, you could be pushing them away from you and towards the advice of their friends.

Be sure to check out Real Life Guidance Guide to Understanding Your Teen to grab some additional parenting help and help solve the mysteries in understanding your teen so that you can stay close as a family.

Signs of Teenage Depression

By: Aurelia Category: Family, Parenting A Teen, Teen Emotional Health

Signs of teenage depression: can you spot them? It is not easy; yet with heightened senses and an open mind, you can see right through your teenager’s heart.

Your teenager is an individual in his own right

Your baby is now grownup; yet not quite. Most of the times your teenage son or daughter disagrees with you. He or she is not anymore allowed to play and act like a child but he or she isn’t allowed yet to do many of the things that are said to be for adults only. Add this fact to peer pressure and hormones and you’ve got a perfect recipe for teenage depression.

Being a teen is not easy, you’ve been there and done the “deeds” that now make you shake your head at the thought. Since you’ve passed the teenage stage uneventfully, you may think that your son or daughter would also do so and react to adversities in the same way as you do. Not quite.

Your teenage son or daughter is a different individual with a temperament that although it may resemble yours, does not make him or her just like you altogether. This means that he or she may react and decide differently with the same stressors that you have faced.

Spotting signs of teenage depression

Below are some actions or behaviors of a teenager that you may think of as just sulkiness normal to any teen, but may be telltale signs of teenage depression:

1. Sudden disregard for appearance or personal hygiene.

When a teenager suddenly looks shabby, doesn’t want to take a shower even if his hair is already sticking to his head, and wears used and soiled clothes for school, it is one of the signs of teenage depression.

It is not that your teenage son or daughter prefers to look shabby; he is not anymore aware of his looks because his thoughts are preoccupied with depressing thoughts and personal hygiene and appearance become the least of his worries.

When this happens too suddenly, it is one of the signs of teenage depression. However, if this happens just once in a while and your teenage son or daughter still dresses up for school, he is just a normal teenager who gets lazy at times.

2. Sudden drop in grades.

Lackluster performance at school is one of the signs of a teenage depression especially if the trend was from up to down in a matter of weeks or a few months. This means that your teenage son or daughter is facing a difficult time, whether at home or at school, and this matter should be discussed with him or her. During a dialogue, don’t go on the offensive since this will push your child away from you. Talk to your teenage son or daughter as though he is an adult and let him do more of the talking.

3. Change in appetite.

A teenager who goes into eating spree or suddenly went anorexic has some deep problems that aren’t surfacing yet. If you notice change in appetite, observe first your teenage son or daughter’s behavior and take the time to talk to him or her about the things that bother him or her.

If he declines, give him the space he needs and leave him alone for a few days. If nothing has changed after a few days, talk to him again and never accept a “no” answer for a dialogue. Ask in a kind way what’s bothering his mind and tell him that no matter what, you are always there to assist him.

4. Deviant or destructive behavior.

If a teenager becomes too destructive to himself and to people around him, it doesn’t mean that he is just a rebellious teenager. This is one of the signs of teenage depression and you should extend a hand for guidance and comfort. Don’t be on the offensive when he sulks. Nor should you be on the defensive when he spites you.

5. Restless or agitated or sluggish.

A depressed teenager may be restless, can not keep himself in one place or is sluggish and prefers to stay home, sleep all day, eat a lot and do nothing. These are signs of teenage depression; and when you see these signs, better talk things out with your teenage son or daughter to understand his wants and needs.

Visit Facts-About-Depression.com for useful information and resources about signs of teenage depression and anti depression medicine.

Real Life Guidance Guide to Understanding Your Teen This toolkit offers parenting help and help solve the mysteries in understanding your teen.

Visit Out of Control Teen to learn more about how you can help a teen that shows signs of trouble.

Quick Tips to Boost Your Teens Confidence

By: Aurelia Category: Parenting A Teen, Teen Emotional Health

Many teens suffer through the pain of never feeling good enough. They face pressure to fit into a crowd among their peers. Feelings of inadequacy are the norm for teens, as they are many times unsure of themselves.

 Use these tips to help build your teen’s confidence:

1. Encourage mental and social growth. Involve your teen in academic clubs and after school activities in which she’s interested. Look at every extracurricular activity as a way for your teen to learn and grow. Nurture your teen’s strengths and help her develop expertise in the areas where she is most knowledgeable.

2. Be aware. Teens rarely like to ask for help, even when they need it most. Pay attention to how your teen reacts or ways they respond. If you think your teen needs help but is too afraid or embarrassed to ask for it, offer it to them without question. Be a concerned parent and trust your intuition.

3. Build trust. One of the worst things a parent can do is to interfere and overreact to any given situation with a teenager. Create an open-door policy. Let your teen know that you are always there for them to talk to about anything. Build a path of trust from you to your teen and from your teen to you.

4. Listen with a closed mouth and open heart. If your teen trusts you enough to talk to you about personal matters, feel honored. Be available to listen to your teen; be cautious not to jump to conclusions. Instead, allow your teen the opportunity to speak from their heart. This not only facilitates open communication, but builds trust between you and your teen as well.

Above all, be understanding and forgiving. Everyone makes mistakes. Keep in mind that teen years are difficult at best. Be slow to pass judgment and blame. Give your teen the chance to talk to you, to explain his position. When your teenager is low in spirits or feeling bad about himself, give him an extra boost of confidence.

Go now and check out Real Life Guidance Guide to Understanding Your Teen to grab some additional parenting help and help solve the mysteries in understanding your teen so that you can stay close as a family.