Open Up About Mental Illness With Your Teen
By Rachel Shouse
Some kids communicate more than others. There are also teens who don't want to talk or listen to anything anyone says. Puberty and hormones are a big factor, but it's wise to make sure that's all that's going on. In order to get your teenager to open up to you, you'll need to lay some groundwork. That means listening to your teen and remaining calm. Earning their trust means they'll be more receptive to what you say. You should also talk to your child about common mental illnesses if you notice odd behavior.
Let Them Speak
A lot of teens struggle to talk to their parents because they're afraid of getting in trouble or facing unreasonable judgement. There are going to be things your child does that gets under your skin or makes you flaring mad. Either way, you need to be patient with them. Some discipline may be in order, but listen to what they have to say first.
If you struggle with communicating with your teen, why don't you ask them why they feel they can't go to you? If it's not a positive response, be receptive to what they have to say and compromise or make the changes within yourself that need to be made.
Reap the Benefits
A healthy relationship with your teen gives them a very special boost in life. Instead of having to hide and keep their problems to themselves, they know they have a safe place they can go to. They will also know where to go for good advice.
If they know they can trust your advice, they're more likely to come to you instead of friends or other people who may not offer good or safe advice. This helps prevent some of the fear and nervousness around peer pressure. They'll be strong and ready to stand their ground. If they need help, they'll have you.
Talk About Mental Illness
You're probably familiar with conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and maybe a handful of others. Some people haven't ever struggled with mental illness personally. This makes it hard to identify it in those you love most. There are some common symptoms that you can look out for.
- Chronic fatigue and lack of motivation
- No desire to see the ones they love and want to be left alone
- Excessive and frequent anxiousness
- Feeling hopeless, sad, and/or irritable
- Major changes in their sleeping and eating habits
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 800-273-8255.
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