Tweens and teens are on a constant rollercoaster of emotions, and the hormonal changes don’t help the situation. Most parents can vividly remember their own teen years and what that time was like, but they didn’t have the challenges today’s kids deal with. Too much communication can be damaging to young kids, especially if it’s negative and/or threatening. Are you worried about your own child? Here’s what to do if you think your teen is struggling with mental health.
Our Communication Culture
Anyone can reach out to someone else in one instant. It occurs every second of every day, and teens are the most prolific. While adults may regularly use the internet for business, teens are overloaded with TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, DMs, voicemails, emails, text messages, and YouTube. Many teens spend their entire day on some of these platforms according to the Pew Research Center report from 2022.
Teen insecurity hasn’t changed over the decades, it is just more a part of their daily lives due to social media and the constant comparison to others. In addition to bullying in school, today’s teens are also faced with cyberbullying.
Signs of Emotional Distress in Teens
Is your tween or teen just being a “teenager” or is something more serious going on? There are some telltale signs that they may be in emotional distress and struggling with their mental health.
- Tiredness and loss of energy
- No interest in usual activities
- Change in appetite
- Social isolation
- Poor school performance and absences
- Less attention to hygiene
- Signs of self harm
- Anger and irritability
Be aware that if your teen is wearing long sleeve shirts in the heat, it may be a way to cover up cutting and other types of self harm.
Teens may suddenly resort to drugs and alcohol when they are struggling.
What Should a Parent Do?
Talk with your teen one on one. Take them out for lunch or find a private place. Assure them you are concerned about their behaviors of late, and ask if there is anything you can do to help. Ask if anything is bothering them. If they don’t want to respond right away, just wait and be ready to listen.
Give them every opportunity to talk. Maybe let them know that you get depressed sometimes too, and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Ask if they would like to talk to someone else.
If your child refuses to acknowledge anything is wrong, or if you become more concerned, there is always help.
Contact Kids First Pediatrics of Raeford at (910) 848-5437 to schedule a mental health counseling appointment at our office. Our therapists are specially trained and experienced to help teens and parents overcome the difficulties of adolescence and improve their mental wellness.