How to Help Your Teenage Child Navigate the Changes in Their Body
Sometimes parents don’t realise what their teens are thinking or feeling. And once they do, it’s hard to make things right. How do you make sure that a teen’s body changes are seen as positive changes and that teens aren’t made to feel bad? How can you help your child not be fearful?
We asked Michele Lodder, the executive director of the Colorado Alliance for Sexual Health, who gave us some suggestions.
It’s common to feel alone when your teen has emotional and physical changes. As a parent, you have to be in tune with your child, navigating some of your own issues, like questioning if you should still be part of the casino rewards vip club. Especially as teens get older and have more exposure to other people, you need to be the one to give them a voice. You have to be ready to listen, ready to ask questions, and to keep the lines of communication open.
Be a Supportive Parent. When your teen is facing emotional or physical changes, he or she is more likely to open up if they feel like you are emotionally supportive. Listen and support your child. Talk with your child about the emotions they are going through. Let your teen know that they will always have a support system no matter what changes they face.
Keep the lines of communication open. If your teen is struggling with feelings of depression or anxiety, keep the lines of communication open. Talk with them about their feelings. Remind them of the benefits of using coping skills to feel more positive about life. Even if they don’t want to talk about it, don’t let them feel like they are burdening you with things. Remember that your child’s health and wellness are important to you as their parent.
Don’t panic. Your teen doesn’t need to worry that their body will not work. Keep in mind that although your teen might have an outwardly negative body change, their mental state could be completely positive. Let your teen know that it is okay to have body concerns. It is even okay to have physical concerns, even if that means they are seeing a doctor. Take time to encourage your child to talk to someone about what is going on with them, and the stress they are facing.
Find the support your teen needs. Help your child find friends who are also facing body concerns. Help your teen open up to a therapist if it is helpful. Ask if they would be open to joining an online group for teenagers, like that provided by RAINN. This will help your child have an outlet to talk about body changes.
If your child is experiencing mental health issues, do not overreact. Remember that your child is trying to cope with feelings of anxiety or depression. Remind them that you are there for them. Most importantly, remind your teen to talk to you if they are struggling. Try to connect your teen with therapists or counsellors who specialize in mental health. And remember that your children are always completely safe in your home.
Sometimes parents can make it hard for teens to express their feelings and ideas. However, we need our teenagers to be healthy and happy.