The average teen is dealing with a lot in life and often more than we parents had to struggle with when we were their age. There are situations like bullying and the emotional trauma that can come from it. Body image issues are even more pronounced, thanks to social media and the near-constant, unrealistic views of perfection. Depression continues to be a growing epidemic among our youth.
All of this would be bad enough, but teenagers are trying to process it all with a brain that is still in development. They just don’t have the ability to naturally cope the way adults can and even we tend to struggle.
We’re highlighting four positive coping methods to help teens manage a menagerie of emotions and situations, such as like proper sleep and nutrition. As parents, we have the power to provide additional support and teach our kids to develop healthier coping strategies that they will carry through the rest of their lives.
1. Encourage Problem-Solving
When children are young, parents tend to give them the all the answers with minimal, to no work on their part. At some point, they need to start finding those answers on their own. The next time your teen runs into a problem, sit down and brainstorm ideas with your child, rather than provide them with the solution. Let them take the lead and make the final decision, even if you don’t agree with what your teen chooses to do.
2. Let Teens Make Mistakes And Fix Them
You will always be there as a safety net in your role as a parent, but that doesn’t mean you should always be catching your teen every time they fall. Making mistakes at an early age—and having a chance to fix them—helps teens develop the strategies that will carry over into their adult life. Plus, the mistakes are happening during a time where the consequences are not as severe and serve as a great learning opportunity. As a parent, you are training your teen for the job of life they will be taking on, and learning from mistakes are part of any job.
3. Teach Your Teens To Prioritize
Prioritizing can be difficult for many adults, especially if they were never taught how to do it at a young age. Learning to prioritize is an important coping method to learn so your teen can manage pressure and their own independence.
4. Make Stress Relief a Daily Routine
A long day at school, a part-time job and homework, sports participation and more is part of the average teen’s day. When is the day ever done for your teen? They need some off time, so make that a part of your whole family’s day. Whether it is having a meal together, watching a favorite TV show or just giving them some space to breathe on their own, teach your teens to relax by example.
Remember, your teen doesn’t have coping skills, they have to be taught and there’s no one better to teach them than you!
Tyler Jacobson is a father of three and avid outdoor enthusiast. He’s learned a thing or two about parenting and has turned from a full time career in digital media to helping fellow parents of teenagers. He pulls from his own life experiences raising spunky, free-spirited children, as well as his work with various organizations that help teens be their best selves. During his free time, Tyler enjoys taking his family into the mountains to connect with a simpler side of life which he finds grounding and rejuvenating.