Lack of energy and interest, inability to cope with daily stress and responsibilities, fatigue, mild irritability, anxiety – all these can show the mental health difficulties that adolescents increasingly face.
One in four young people admits parents are his support and source of inspiration, which motivates and helps to receive.
Distance learning with regular changes, limited opportunities for socializing and leisure activities, a monotonous everyday life – young people now really have a lot of stress and limited opportunities to take care of themselves, so the task of family adults and teachers to help teenagers maintain good mental health becomes more difficult.
Promote a healthy lifestyle!
A healthy spirit in a healthy body – our ancestors already knew that, and nothing has changed today.
A good diet, quality sleep and adequate physical activity are essential tools for promoting mental health.
Balance is important for human well-being. To take care of your mental health, it is important to take care of your physical as well.
Here are three basic values to remember –
- Physical activities.
These things are important, especially for children, including adolescents, who are growing organisms.
For adolescents and young people, the desired physical activity is at least 60 minutes of moderate to high intensity daily activities.
It can also be spread over the day, for example, twice in half an hour. Also, a 15-minute walk is better than not doing it, so you need to do any kind of activity.
Offer a walking or cycling trip with you. It is important to eat enough fruit, vegetables and whole grains, as well as to eat regularly (3-5 times a day) and in portions suitable for the child – neither too much nor too little.
GP, nutritionist, or school nurse will advise on how to provide a complete diet.
Good sleep is also a very important basic condition for mental health. It is important to sleep long enough (about 8-10 hours) and to observe regularity – go to bed and get up at similar times, including holidays.
Allows the child to communicate with people who are important to him!
It is very important for a teenager to be with their peers – it is an opportunity to make contacts and develop a personality.
Therefore, it may be even more difficult than now for parents to estimate the time young people spend online, at the computer and on the phone.
Today, it is almost the only opportunity for young people to communicate with each other. This can happen through games, social networks, correspondence, so it is important for parents to accept that the child spends more time on smart devices and that the game is not always a pointless waste of time.
However, it is important to talk to the young person and understand what he is doing there, what he is playing, listening and not condemning.
Try playing together or building relationships on social networks and show an example of how to build healthy relationships online – this will not only help you understand what a young person is doing online, but will also build trust.
Instead of keeping track of how much time a young person spends on smart devices, keep track of how much time he or she spends outdoors, exercising, performing duties, and with friends. Focus on resources and their promotion, not difficulties.
Face-to-face communication with others is always the most important form of socialization.
In practice, a number of approaches have been tested that will strengthen the relationship between parents and young people.
- Take a flashlight, turn it on and face it – say each of the three things you like best! It will amaze you at how difficult it is! Then shine the flashlight on each other and say what you like best about your young man and his parents.
- Try talking (as opposed to talking) to increase the positive in the family. Sit back to back and say something good about each other! What you hear will really surprise you!
- A day like a white sheet – take a clean, white sheet with the young person and write what your day will be like in the morning. What do you want to do? What emotions do you feel? Thus, you will “program” yourself for a positive day.
Help Set a Goal and Reward For Achieving It!
45 percent of young people admit that a certain goal motivates them to receive it, and this is the strongest of all motivators.
Mental health will only benefit if a teenager does at least one thing that makes them happy every day.
It is worth motivating young people to engage in creative extracurricular activities aimed at acquiring skills (eg sports, programming, drawing) and social support activities (charity, volunteering).
It can bring both joy and confidence in oneself and responsibility for others, which is very important for teenagers.
Whatever the young person does, it is very important that the goal is significant enough. Often there are unfulfilled longings for outward goals, so parents should try to hear their child and understand what he really wants.
Yes, depressed young people rarely want anything, but often parents simply do not hear them or young people do not tell because they are used to not hearing them.
That’s why it’s important to talk, listen, and try to understand what’s important to the teen, not you. Adolescents often lack motivation and need support, but being reminded too often of a goal can be too insistent and have the opposite effect.
An excellent method of motivating a young person is a natural, unanticipated interest in the child’s passion and achievements; often teenagers will also enjoy the involvement and cooperation of parents.
We recommend you write down your goal with each teenager and break it down into smaller steps – what needs to be done to reach the goal?
Often the big goal is scary, but breaking it down into smaller stages helps to perceive it more calmly and not cause anxiety.
For example, if a teenager wants to run a marathon, start with longer walks, then slow runs and accumulate the distance. It is great if parents can talk about their goals together with the young people once a week.
Rewards and consequences are also an effective means of changing behavior.
It is only very important to clearly discuss in advance the rules and the expected consequences of a child’s non-compliance and to be consistent in their actions.
First, it is important to understand with the teenager what the desired behavior is or what the goal might be. Often teenagers already have a good understanding of what they can do to improve their lives.
Second, it is important to reach a very clear agreement with the teenager – what, when, how often and to what extent he will do it.
This point can be challenging for parents, as it is important to aim for a goal that is challenging enough for the teenager, but not too easy or complicated.
Third, encouraging behavior must have pleasant consequences, from words of encouragement to material values. The chief thing is that it is important enough for a teenager.
Fourth, the adolescent must understand the consequences of not behaving under the agreement. For non-compliance, it can be a temporary reduction in pocket money or internet access.
If there has been an agreement on a development goal, such as achievements in sport, then not achieving the goal and not winning the award will already be a sufficient consequence.
Finally, parents need to be consistent. The rules will not work if there are exceptions without good reason.
Make Mobile Devices Work For Your Teen!
Young people spend a lot of time on mobile devices, and this is a way to help you feel better by using them wisely.
There are now several free apps available that help you better understand your emotional state, overcome stress and negative thoughts, and strengthen your emotional resilience through games, exercises, and meditation.
The Thrive app helps prevent and manage stress – it can be used, for example, to relax before a test job which causes a great deal of anxiety. But Calm Harm is an app that helps young people manage their emotions and reduce their desire to harm themselves.
One should not expect that all the difficulties of the application will be solved in place of the parents, sometimes the use of the Internet must be carefully controlled.
We should pay particular attention to young people with impulsivity problems who find it more difficult to give up playing games and using social networks.
In such cases, it is essential to agree on the time that the young person may spend at the computer or telephone – this will be more effective than an unexplained ban.
Parents should also take care of a balanced rhythm of the day so that Internet use does not become the only leisure activity.
Take Care of Yourself!
Adolescence is the last time that lasting, significant changes in mental health can be achieved in a relatively short time with relatively few resources, as their miraculously rapid adaptability still characterizes adolescents.
Therefore, this time is an opportunity for parents to make significant improvements in their relationship with the teenager.
One should not forget about one’s own emotional well-being, because no person can give indefinitely without regenerating and receiving nothing in return.
As our experience shows, adolescents who have a good relationship with their parents have much stronger mental health, so building a good family relationship is a difficult but important task.
To do this successfully, parents need to find time to take care of themselves. It is better to devote less but better time to a teenager and find moments for himself or herself than to give oneself away, burn out and not be able to help at all.