Parents Helping Teens
As adults, parents have a lot of experience handling situations that might feel distressing to a teenager. Teenagers do not have as much life experience which can make it difficult for them to choose skills to best work through a problem. How can parents help their teenagers cope through difficult situations?
- Help the teenager to look at the problem from different perspectives. Help the teenager envision the problem from someone else’s eyes. Remind the teenager to look at the problem subjectively and objectively. This will help the teenager see both sides of a problem.
- Encourage the teenager to express their feelings related to a problem. When teenagers express their opinion and emotions it helps them build confidence and trust in their own feelings. Expressing their feelings will also increase their own insight into the problem.
- Give the teenager feedback on how you handled a similar problem. Acknowledge how the teenager is feeling and share a similar experience. Make sure to choose a situation that led to a positive outcome or positive growth. Keep the focus of the teenager, only disclosing enough to share skills useful for their situation.
- Be open-minded and nonjudgmental with the teenager. Let the teenager know that you understand and that you respect their feelings about the problem. Tell the teenager that difficult situations are common occurrences in life, and that you will be there to support them. This fosters trust and prevents the teenager from feeling alone with the problem.
- Be curious. Ask the teenager open ended questions and give objective viewpoints. Do your best not to offer direct advice to the teenager. Distressing experience can be hard for teenagers to work through, but they learn better when they make their own decisions and have room to make mistakes. This creates emotional growth and improves coping skills.
- Consider seeking counseling. If the teenager is struggling make an appointment with a therapist to get support for the teenager as her or she learns to navigate difficult problems.