The teen years are an emotional roller coaster. As kids start going through puberty, their hormones kick in, and their mindset changes. Their emotions become a little more intense than they used to be, and social standing suddenly matters a lot more.
On top of that, teens feel a stronger need for independence. When they were little, and something upset them, they would likely run to you for help. Now, it might feel like pulling teeth to get them to talk to you about how they’re doing. It’s not that teens don’t need help solving their problems anymore. They want to be more independent and don’t feel comfortable running to their parents for help anymore.
Still, teens desperately need to learn how to manage their emotions, but they don’t want to ask for help. Here are some tips to help your teen understand their emotional health, even when they don’t open up like they used to.
7 Tips to help your teen understand their emotional health
1. Teach the names of emotions.
When teens start to feel new or stronger emotions, it can be really scary. Suddenly they feel different than they used to, but they can’t pinpoint why. Many teens don’t even know appropriate names for the new emotions they’re feeling, which makes the emotions even scarier.
Teach your teen some names for various emotions that can help them accurately describe what they’re feeling.
For example, are they just angry? Or do they feel betrayed?
Once they can name the feeling, it will be easier for them to address the emotion and the root of those feelings.
2. Help your teen notice what they’re feeling.
Most of us don’t like feeling negative emotions. They’re unpleasant, and we don’t want to focus on them. So, we avoid them and say that nothing is wrong.
When your teen learns to notice and name their emotions, they can decide how they want to respond to them.
3. Teach positive coping skills.
Negative emotions are a part of life. We’re all going to feel sad, angry, and disappointed from time to time.
Teach your teen how to accept and acknowledge those emotions, as well as how to cope with them in positive ways. If they know how to handle all emotions well, they are less likely to turn to numbing techniques like drinking or using drugs.
4. Help them notice the correlation between physical health and mental health.
Teens are notorious for having poor eating and sleeping habits. They want to stay up late having fun with their friends or playing video games, but they have to get up early for school. You want them to eat more vegetables and drink more water, but they scarf junk food and love sodas.
Help your teen notice the differences in how they feel (both physically and mentally) after eating or sleeping differently. When they’re well-rested and have been eating healthy, they might feel happier. When they’re exhausted and full of junk food, they might feel grumpier.
Help them understand their emotional health by taking control of their physical health.
5. Help them notice how they feel after hanging around different people.
Sometimes, teens don’t realize which friends lift them up and which friends bring them down.
If your teen has friends who seem to have a negative impact on them, help them notice how they feel after hanging out with those friends. Likewise, help them notice how they feel after hanging out with positive friends.
It’s important to understand how other people can affect our moods.
6. Provide a safe space for them to talk and express their feelings.
Many teens don’t want to talk to their parents because they’re afraid they’ll get in trouble. They worry that if they tell you what’s going on, you’ll get mad at them. Then they’d have to deal with the situation at hand along with an angry parent.
Your teen needs to know that it’s safe to talk to you about their feelings. Even if you disagree with your child, it’s essential that you don’t lose your cool when they open up to you and you provide a space that makes them feel heard.
7. Encourage them to talk to others.
If your teen has some positive people in their life, encourage them to talk to those people about how they’re feeling. This could include talking to close friends, coaches, teachers, or anyone who would have good advice for your teen.
While you want them to talk to you, it can help them to have someone outside of the family to share their feelings with openly.
If you are worried that your teen cannot control his emotions, he might benefit from attending a therapeutic boarding school. Some teens experience extreme mood swings that are difficult for them to manage on their own. By working with a trained therapist, teen boys can learn coping strategies to address their emotional mood swings.
Contact us today for more information about our program.