How to open conversations with your teenager!

Let your teenager know they can talk with you about anything without being
judged. Explain to them that having regular conversations can help you better
understand what daily challenges they face. Opening the door to frequent
communication allows them to talk with you not only about how they are being
negatively affected, but also, the people or events that they enjoy, and that
create happiness.

Be an active listener! Teenagers want to be fully heard. Take this opportunity to
actively listen, hold back your comments, and focus on listening to deeply
understand what they are sharing with you.

When trying to determine your child’s mental health, rather than saying “you
have been acting differently”, say something such as, “I’ve noticed that you don’t
seem to be enjoying the things you usually love to do”. Your child may be silent at
first and try to hide what they are really feeling. Let them know you care and
want to make sure they know that you are there for them at any time they want
to talk.

Teenagers are facing many obstacles these days. The pressures are
overwhelming when they are expected to achieve good grades, become
exceptional athletes, and participate in other extracurricular activities. Many
teens are bullied at school and on social media. They face many forms of
discrimination and poverty, as well as fears about the changes going on in our
country in addition to gun violence.

Even if your teen seems to be doing fine, encourage self-care and healthy habits.
Positive activities and relationships can have a supportive effect on your child’s
mental health. Your pediatrician can guide you on local resources if you ever feel
a mental health professional is needed.