Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs on the planet. It’s a common enough phrase, and for good reason. From the moment that little baby is born and to the end of your life you will be raising, worrying, and educating that ball of joy and potential.
When parents see their teens in distress, they naturally want to help. However, sometimes, in their attempts to help, no matter how well intentioned, they could actually make things worse.
Teenage anxiety and depression is a dangerous thing, and something that’s been on the rise over the years. Instead of trying to take that weight from them, parents need to teach them how to be strong.
- Room For Mistakes
A part of life and growing up is making mistakes. If you can’t be understanding when they make mistakes, they won’t come to you when they have. It’s your job to guide them through life, and this means both their successes and their failures.
- Weak Points
Don’t define them by their weak points. Be sure to spend time focusing on all the things they’re doing right. This builds the confidence needed to tackle the more difficult things.
Too much pressure on their successes can build a fear of failure. Be complementary when they do well, but don’t let their accomplishments be the only thing you see.
- Keep your emotions in check
When they come home, stressed and anxious from a bad day, how you respond speaks volumes. Instead of responding with your own anxiety—which teaches them to be anxious—discuss things, and work out a solution peaceably. Teach them to be strong by being strong for them.
- Give Them a Chance
Mama bear and papa bear rear up at the first sign of wrong-doing towards their little cubs (“little cubs” who are in high school, but regardless). When you jump to their defense, though, say for example confronting their school, you are teaching them that you don’t think they can take care of it themselves. Talk with them, and let them come up with how to solve the issue. They may just surprise you.
Don’t pretend like you don’t have problems. Don’t stomp around complaining all the time, but also don’t try to act as though nothing is ever wrong. They watch, they see. When there is a problem, it’s a perfect time to discuss it with them and let them see firsthand an adult taking care of things.
Parents have to be careful that they are not blinded by what they want as parents, but seeing the big picture. All of your actions have far reaching effects, but hopefully understanding the other perspective, you can make better choices in how to encourage them.