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Talking About Mental Illness With Your Teen

By Rachel Shouse

Teenagers are a special type of chaos. We all remember what it was like. Some of us may have been more behaved than others, but all of us acted out at one point or another. Your child is going through the same things that you did and that means you can empathize with them. Peer pressure is at a whole different level than it was for anyone over 25. Gaining your teen's trust will help them open up to you about their problems. 

Let Your Teen Talk

A lot of parents have a habit of over reacting when their kids unveil unpleasant situations. Don't let yourself snap right away. Discipline of some sort is in order, but you need to deliver it in a healthy manner. 

It's also wise to let your teenager speak. Interrupting them only prolongs the entire situation. It also puts a lot more pressure on your child as they probably have anxiety and just want to get it out as quickly as possible. It's OK to not like what your kid has to say. However, set your family up for success by being patient.

Open Up About Peer Pressure

I have a 13-year-old. She's gone through quite a bit at school. Pressures and stress are at an all-time high. There's obviously exponential growth in bullying. It seems that it gets worse as time goes on. Your teen is going to need confidence in order to make it through those tough times.

With that confidence, they'll be able to say "no" to peer pressure. Whether they're pressured into drinking alcohol or doing drugs, they need to be strong in their morals. It's normal for your child to feel self-conscious. During those times, be sure to be really reassuring and talk to them about getting help if you ever feel worried.

An Invisible Enemy

Mental illness in adolescent kids is on the rise as well. That being said, it's really important that you know symptoms and behaviors of common mental illnesses.

  • Lack of motivation and energy
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Intense and frequent mood swings
  • Feelings of extreme anxiousness
  • Acting withdrawn and wants to be left alone frequently

If you notice that your child is losing weight, gaining weight, wearing long sleeve shirts or pants even in hot weather, or other noticeable and concerning changes in their behavior, it's time to seek help. You've probably done all that you can at this point. Teens don't want to talk to their parents about everything. Being able to unload their thoughts and feelings in a safe space could relieve a lot of their symptoms. 

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 Dacula, Ga.

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