As we come to the end of #childrensmentalhealthweek I wanted to share some practical strategies that you can use to support your teen if they are feeling anxious. This week has seen a specific focus on children’s mental health but the focus needs to be on this always! With statistics like ‘409,347 under-18s were referred for specialist care in England for issues such as suicidal thoughts and self harm between April and October 2021.’ and ‘1 in 3 under 18s struggle with anxiety’ we need to care, we need to raise awareness and we need to provide early support for the children of today.
There are many different ways that you can support your teen when they are dealing with anxiety and overwhelm. Some practical strategies include:
1.Encouraging your teen to express their feelings and concerns. This can be done through talking, writing, drawing or movement. We have a variety of emotion processing pads that aid the expression of feelings and they can be found here
2.Helping your teen develop positive coping mechanisms, such as relaxation techniques, mindfulness, and deep breathing exercises.
3.Creating a safe and supportive environment for your teen to express themselves and their feelings. This could include setting aside time each day for conversation, being present and acknowledging that everyone makes mistakes but you love them unconditionally.
4.Promoting healthy lifestyle choices, such as exercise, adequate sleep, and a good diet. I know this can sometimes be hard in reality but we can model these healthy behaviours and boundaries and bit by bit our children will pick up on what we do too.
5.Encouraging your teen to communicate their needs by making requests and empowering them by offering choices whenever possible. Choices can help your teen feel more in control of their actions and emotions which is helpful because sometimes anxiety or overwhelm can build when we feel out of control in a situation.
Every teen is different, and what works for one teen may not work for another. Therefore, it is important to explore different strategies for helping your teen manage anxiety. I share different strategies and support in my free Facebook Community so please do join here
A powerful way I have found to help teens to develop a more positive image of themselves and to increase their self-esteem is the habit of reframing thoughts. I have a workshop here that delves into that strategy further and you can access the recording here
If you notice a rapid decline in mood and altered behaviours that means they could harm themselves then please do contact your GP to get further support.