Being a teenager is tough – and it’s even worse for those who feel as though they have to be “perfect.”
From the pressure to be thin, to the stress of studying hard to get into a good college while trying to be “likeable” in a world full of mean girls – our teens are really feeling it.
But as the mama of a teenager – you have a unique role to play in their development – and if you teach them the importance of taking care of their mental health at a young age – you’ll set them up for success for the rest of their days.
To start – model for your teen that it’s OKAY to struggle at times.
We’ve got to stop shaming our daughters into thinking that somehow they must have it “all together” and be pleasant at all times… because let’s face it – we all have bad days!
It’s just not realistic to be “happy” all the time – and it’s toxic to teach teens that they have to put on a smile when they are hurting inside.
We are long past our teenage years – and we may have forgotten just how tough teens have it.
Remember, your teen is dealing not only with physical and hormonal changes to their body, but as adulthood slowly creeps in, they are already feeling the stress of added responsibilities.
Give them grace.
This doesn’t mean letting them do whatever they want with no boundaries – far from it.
We should teach our teens that choices have consequences, and arm them with the critical skills to make good decisions.
But if you see they are really struggling and on edge, or going through a difficult season, allow them to take a “mental health day” from school.
We’re so quick to take “sick days” when our bodies are ill – yet somehow in society we neglect the mind.
Sometimes a day off in bed doing absolutely nothing can be just what a teen needs to recharge.
Or maybe they just need extra sleep, or a mental break from school.
Teaching your child to listen to their body (and mind) is a skill that will serve them well in their adult years when they are feeling pressure from work and need to set appropriate boundaries.
And finally, while so many teens feel like they can’t talk to their parents as they won’t understand – teach them it’s okay to talk to you – about anything.
Wouldn’t you rather have your teen confess to YOU that’s she is feeling sexual pressure from a member of the opposite sex or having depressing episodes?
The worst thing you can do as a parent is rule with an iron fist and demonstrate to your child that you aren’t a safe person to confide in.
You can still teach them to come to you – without letting them escape the consequences of their choices.
And when they do come to you and confess they are overwhelmed – sometimes the best solution is truly just a mental health day off from school to recharge.
Give it a try and see what happens!
(h/t Mommy Underground)