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Combat Adolescent and Teenage Mental Illness

By Rachel Shouse

Teenagers are capable of insane mood swings and a special difficulty with social problems. Everything seems to get blown way out of proportion. Along with that, you've probably struggled with trusting your child at one point or another. It's chaos at best. As parents, it's easy for us to get lost in the difficulty of raising productive members of society. Kids of all ages act out for a reason. Sometimes they may not know why they do what they do. That's why creating healthy relationships, healthy boundaries, and understanding mental illness as a parent is so important. 

Let Them Speak

Many parents have a habit of over reacting when their kids have something not-so-pleasant to confess. Immediately reacting is probably your first instinct. Changing this habit takes time and mindfulness.

There will be benefits to all the work you're putting in. When you stop reacting so harshly to your kids, they're more likely to come to you next time. This may not be a popular opinion, but earning your children's trust matters. 

Remember that your relationship goes both ways. Teaching your child that they deserve respect will prevent others from trying to manipulate or abuse them. Again, these are the benefits you and your child will reap because of the work both of you put in now.

Be Empathetic

When you're having a tough conversation with your child, try to remember how you felt in those situations. You know what it felt like to have to come clean to your parents about something you did. Imagine how safe your kids would feel if they knew they could tell you anything within their comfort levels and know they don't have to be afraid.

That being said, it's important that you teach your children about consequences. They can't stay up really late as an adult and subsequently miss work. They can't skip class all of the time if they expect to graduate. It's unrealistic. It's best to be gentle with your child or teen, but also discipline them accordingly. Just deliver it kindly, you may be surprised how they respond. 

Invisible Illness

When you have a physical ailment, it's usually not too tricky to diagnose. A broken arm looks like a broken arm. Some disorders, illnesses, diseases, etc., can't be detected with an x-ray or ultrasound. That's why it's important that parents educate themselves on common signs of mental illness. Symptoms parents should keep an eye out for are as follows.

  • Lack of interest in things they used to enjoy
  • Changes in eating and/or sleeping habits
  • Withdrawing from relationships
  • Frequent and escalated mood swings
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 800-273-8255.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Monrovia, Calif.

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