It’s important to pay attention to your teen’s mental health.
In today’s fast-paced world, the mental health of our children is a topic of increasing concern. Research shows that a significant percentage of teens are grappling with depression and anxiety. It’s a startling statistic that should catch the attention of every parent and grandparent out there. However, amid the overwhelming nature of this issue, there are practical steps we can take to help improve our children’s mental well-being.
Speaker, Educator, and Founder of Protect Young Eyes, Chris McKenna, shares what those steps are.
Find more advice from Chris at protectyoungeyes.com.
How to Help Your Teen Improve Their Mental Health
Encourage Your Kids to Unfollow Toxic Accounts on Social Media
In our digital age, social media plays a major role in the lives of teens and tweens. One small but impactful step you can take is to encourage your child to evaluate their social media followers. If certain accounts make them feel worse about themselves or their lives, it’s time to hit that “unfollow” button. This simple act can help remove unnecessary negativity from their online experience.
Limit Exposure to Negative Media
Exposure to constant negative media can be overwhelming, not just for teens but for adults too. Encourage your child to take breaks from news programming on particularly stressful days. Similarly, as parents, we should be mindful of how much we discuss distressing news topics at home. It’s essential to create a balanced environment that shields young minds from the constant barrage of global problems.
Prioritize Quality Sleep
Sleep is crucial for both physical and mental health. To encourage better sleep, establish a bedtime routine and keep electronic devices out of the bedroom. Reducing screen time before bedtime and turning off notifications can help your child unwind and sleep better. A good night’s rest is essential for emotional stability.
Embrace the Power of Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is a natural stress reliever. Teach your child the art of taking deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. This simple practice can help reduce the levels of stress hormone cortisol in the brain, promoting a sense of calm and relaxation.
Hug It Out
Physical touch and human connection are vital for mental well-being. Encourage your child to hug someone they care about regularly. Hugging triggers the release of oxytocin, often referred to as the “cuddle hormone,” which helps reduce stress and fosters emotional bonds. For parents, don’t let go of the hug until your kid does.
Create Open Lines of Communication
Open and honest communication is key to addressing mental health concerns. As parents, we can lead by example, sharing our own feelings and thoughts with our children. Sometimes, seeking help from a therapist or counselor can be immensely beneficial. Let your child know that it’s okay to talk about their emotions and seek professional help when needed.
Prioritize Physical Activity
Physical movement is not only good for the body but also for the mind. Encourage your child to get moving, whether it’s going for a walk, playing a sport, or simply kicking a rock down the road. Physical activity allows time for boredom and reflection, contributing to emotional resilience.
Seek Help When Necessary
Emphasize the importance of seeking help when needed. Sometimes, advice from someone other than a parent can resonate more with a teenager. Encourage your child to listen to trusted adults and let them know that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
While the statistics on teenage depression and anxiety are concerning, there are practical steps we can take to improve our children’s mental health. By implementing these simple strategies and fostering a supportive environment, we can help our teens navigate the challenges of adolescence with greater resilience and well-being. Remember, a little effort can go a long way in ensuring the mental health of our future generations.