Helping Teenagers Cope with Everyday Life
As your child moves through puberty into adulthood, they may become moody and irritable. How you deal with this can, in many ways, define their relationship with you for years to come. Even worse, sometimes these mood swings are just symptoms of a much larger problem: depression, bipolar disorder, or borderline personality disorder can all lead to mood swings.
It’s your responsibility as a parent to help your teen cope with these new and frustrating emotions. You need to be there for them at all times, but not push too close to the situation: getting too close can be seen as interfering, and can be detrimental to your cause.
Strategies to Use with Teenagers
When you approach your teen, make sure to place their views first; although you may have a differing opinion on something, their view comes first. This puts them in control, and keeps it from feeling like you’re intruding on their business. Really use active listening to ensure you are hearing what your teen is saying. Your child is now coming to grips with the fact that they have their own life apart from yours, and it can be very difficult to reconcile.
Therapy and medication are an option of your teen’s irritability is something symptomatic of a much larger issue; these, however, shouldn’t be seen as ‘magic bullet’ options. They’re best when paired with therapy and a strong support network at home. You need to be there for your child, over anything else, and realize that when they lash out at you, they’re dealing with such intense emotions they can’t handle.
More than anything, your child needs to know that they can have their own space with you, but that you’re available when they need you. A time may come, at any point, where your teen wants to talk to you: if you aren’t there, they feel betrayed and hurt. At this point in your teen’s life, hurting them in such a way could be disastrous.
Being a parent in this situation can be a difficult and trying time. It’s best not to rule out family counseling if the situation gets too serious: sometimes, a simple mediator makes all the difference in the world.
Other ideas like taking a course in meditation or yoga specifically designed for teens can be helpful in reducing stress and anxiety and creating a more stable atmosphere.
The most important thing, through it all, is that you place your child first. Let them know you’re there for them, even if they sometimes need to lash out in anger. With that security, they’ll be in a position to make it through their difficult teen years fine.