Authors : AMÉLIE SEIDAH PH. D. AND ISABELLE GENINET PH. D, PSYCHOLOGISTS
With all the changes it brings, adolescence can be an exciting time, but it can also be a difficult one. As adults, we can take action to create the right conditions to help our teens maintain good mental health.
Maintaining an open and caring relationship, teaching your teen to manage their emotions when they feel overwhelmed and reminding them of the importance of adopting healthy lifestyle habits are three essential areas that you can explore.
Maintaining a bond of trust through good communication
Adolescence is a period of great discovery that can cause anxieties or questions to arise in your teen. Speaking openly about subjects like love, sexual relations, alcohol, drugs and depression will help your teen feel more comfortable with you, relax and make better decisions.
To help them express themselves, listen to your teen with openness and curiosity without interrupting or judging them, then offer your perspective and boundaries while keeping in mind what they have just told you. Rather than advising your teen, invite them to reflect on different perspectives. This way, you will plant the seed of your own values, which will remain as anchors for your teen.
Helping your teen cope with overwhelming emotions
When emotions take over, the priority is to take care of the suffering. So, before looking for solutions, you need to give space to the difficult emotions with kindness and compassion. Short meditation and introspection exercises can help relieve the pressure, as well as help your teen to better manage their relationships with others. Then it’s time to find solutions and implement a plan of action for your teen.Meditation Exercises
Self-care: an effective way to overcome challenges
When you’re going through a hard time, are you kind to yourself? Just like you, teens are often hard on themselves during difficult times. Unfortunately, the “kick-in-the-pants” technique doesn’t have very long-lasting results and makes us less resilient when faced with problems, by dragging us into a spiral of self-deprecation.
By teaching your teen self-care, which simply means taking care of yourself with the same kindness and compassion that you would give another person, you will help them face their suffering with courage instead of trying to ignore or run away from it.
Remind them of the importance of healthy lifestyle habits
You may think it’s obvious, but do you know why it’s necessary to have them?
8–10 hours of sleep are necessary for a teen to function well during the day and maintain a positive mood.
That said, it’s sometimes difficult to convince teens to go to bed: there are games or films to finish, friends to text, etc. By explaining why they need to sleep, you’ll get their attention more effectively.
The benefits of physical activity for your teen go without saying! In addition to strengthening their body, daily movement will help reduce the risk of health problems and improve their mood, self-esteem and socialization.
Moderating screen time
Although they’re a great communication method, when used too much, screens can interfere with concentration and lessen the desire for movement or for spending time with real people. Talk to your teen about their screen time and try to organize activities with people they like.
LEARN ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS’ BOOK
TOUT SAVOIR POUR COMPOSER AVEC LES TURBULENCES À L’ADOLESCENCE – ISABELLE GENINET & AMÉLIE SEIDAH PH. D PSYCHOLOGISTS
This practical guide aims to help teens get to know themselves better, develop better critical thinking and improve their self-observation skills. Using concrete strategies and helpful advice, teens will learn how to cultivate a positive attitude (e.g. openness, curiosity, flexibility) and, above all, understand the importance of taking action. And this, in turn, will help them feel better equipped to deal with life’s ups and downs… and cope with the emotional turbulence of adolescence!