No mom wants to see their child struggling, but many challenges can be faced by a growing teen. Your teen may not always openly ask you for help, which is why it’s important to be best prepared in the ways that you can offer help and support a struggling teen.
Here are six ways you can help:
1) Pay Attention to the Signs
In order to help your teen, you first need to be more attuned to any signs that there might be a problem. Pay attention to any changes in their routine, behavior, or lifestyle. This could be:
- A change in sleeping pattern, whether sleeping less or sleeping more
- A change in mood, perhaps becoming low, angry or irritable
- Change in diet
- Change in social routine
- Any signs they may be abusing substances
2) Be Open to Conversation
As your teen may not approach you willingly to talk about any problems, it’s important to open up a safe space to talk and to let them know that you’re willing to listen. Try to prompt conversations by always asking how they are doing, and create opportunities for talking when possible, like family mealtimes.
Tell your teen that you’re ready to listen if they wish to talk about any problems and remind them of this fact without being too pushy (as this might only make them withdraw more).
3) Seek Professional Support Options
Neither your teen nor you as a parent are alone in any struggles, and especially not those related to mental health or addiction. If your teen requires more professional help than you can provide, you can look at other options, such as speaking to your teen’s doctor, or residential treatment like igniteteentreatment.com.
4) Check on Them (But Don’t Invade Their Privacy)
It can be difficult for a parent to know what’s going on in their teen’s life if they become withdrawn or require more privacy — which is always natural for a growing teen. It’s important to try and stay in the loop and not be ignorant about what your teen is doing, while still maintaining their boundaries.
You may simply want to encourage more conversation, be aware of the state of their room without snooping, and address any changes in routine, such as when they leave the house or come home.
5) Create a Healthy Home Environment
If your teen is struggling, they need a safe and healthy home environment. Any home environment that isn’t like this may only cause further stress and resentment, and a healthier home environment also means it’s more likely that your teen will openly speak of any problems.
Be supportive of your teen and try to avoid conflict at home. Also encourage healthier home habits, such as healthy family meals if you cook for your teen, and a healthy sleeping and eating schedule.
6) Promote Exercise
Exercise is not only fundamental for a growing teen’s health, but can help to tackle mental health problems, too. Your teen may not be inclined to exercise off their own steam, so create opportunities to help them, such as exercising with them, taking a walk together or looking into fitness classes.
Using these steps, you can create the best environment for both you and your teen.