Have you noticed a level of anxiety about school, friends, dating or even some of the most basic issues of life in your teen? Is your teen doubting him/herself on a regular basis? Is your teen having trouble finishing homework or chores on time? Have you noticed your teen being mopey or procrastinating? Is your child feeling self-conscious? Teens are more to susceptible social challenges than adults as their brains are still developing and their bodies are changing quickly. What we might think of as “teenage problems” can affect emotional and physical health of these adolescents.
The teenage years, or adolescence, are a time of magnificent change. From being focused on school, play, and gaining the approval of their friends and parents, children at this age develop a deep desire for independence as they are becoming young adults. Their bodies are undergoing rapid changes and they are also developing emotionally and cognitively. These changes come with unique challenges such as emotional and behavioural disorders, eating disorders and risk-taking behaviour.
“Children are naturally programmed to grow and flourish. As parents, we need to enable this growth by being aligned with their emotional needs and being sensitive to behaviour changes in them. Above all, we need to be mindfully present for them and offer emotional support as they navigate this challenging phase of their lives,” says Prakriti Poddar, Global Head, Mental Health and Wellbeing, RoundGlass, a global holistic wellbeing company.
The mental well-being of a child is just as crucial as their physical well-being, especially when it comes to managing stress, behaviour, and academic performance. “You can help keep your child as mentally healthy as possible by taking certain measures. The quality of your relationship with your child, along with your love and support, can have a significant positive impact on their mental health. It may even lower your child’s risk of developing mental health issues,” says Dr. Himanshu Nirvan, MBBS, MD (Psychiatry), Noida International Institute of Medical Sciences (NIIMS).
Express your love, affection, and care for your kids, in methods that your child enjoys. “For instance, your child may enjoy hugs, smiles, pats on the back, or quiet time spent with you. Show that you’re interested in what your youngster is doing. Honour your child’s efforts and all of their accomplishments. Respect your child’s viewpoints and thoughts,” adds Dr Nirvan.
Introducing children to holistic wellbeing practices and habits – mindfulness, movement, eating healthy, expressing gratitude, nurturing empathy – can help them to cope better with the stresses of their life. Poddar shares a few simple ways in which parents and other grown-ups can tend to the mental health and wellbeing of teenagers:
Encourage them to Communicate: This is the most important when it comes to enhancing the wellbeing of your teenage child. Be mindful of what they are telling you. Listen to their problems and struggles and let them know you are always there for them.
Give them Space: All teenagers want to be independent! Give them the time and space to be themselves. Work with them to find solutions to their problems and avoid telling them what to do or taking over their tasks.
Be Authentic: It helps to be honest with them if you are worried about them. Tell them you are concerned about their wellbeing and would like to talk about it.
Introduce them to Meditation and Mindfulness: A daily practice will help reduce their stress and anxiety, make them less reactive and improve their decision-making. Being mindful will help them be more self-aware and confident in their skin.
Inspire them to Eat Healthy: There’s a deep connection between food and wellbeing. So, encourage them to eat plenty of healthy vegetables and fruits to optimize their nutrition.
Help Them Think On Their Own: Give them the information to make responsible choices and decisions. Make them aware of the implications of their actions and decisions and assure them that they can deal with life’s challenges.
Motivate Them to Move: Health mind, healthy body, remember? The overuse and dependence on social media often make teenagers physically inactive. Inspire them to exercise daily or follow an active lifestyle for achieving greater mental wellbeing.
In addition, it is just as important for parents to take care of their mental health and wellbeing. Practise meditation, walk outdoors, cook a healthy meal or read a book. Take time out for your own self and do things that bring you joy and make you a happier, more mindful individual and parent.
Enjoy your time together as a family and one-on-one with your youngster. Ask your youngster to discuss his or her feelings with you. Your youngster needs to understand that they don’t have to face life’s challenges alone. Together, you can stop things from getting worse if you work to solve difficulties. If you have any worries, discuss them with trusted family members, friends, parents, or teachers. Speak to your doctor if you believe you need more assistance.
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