10 Ways to Help Your Teenager Live Positively
Anxious, depressed teens are pretty much a staple of every high school drama you’ll find in the world these days. At this time in their lives, teenagers are going through a rapid-fire series of developmental changes in their brains. Human brains don’t fully mature until around the 25th year, so teenage brains are a fairly tumultuous place to be for any young person. Thus, the mood swings they experience are stormy at their absolute best. But just because they’re going through a rough patch doesn’t mean you can’t help make their journey a little easier for them. Here are ten ways to help your teenager live a positive life and avoid the rougher areas life may try to offer them.
1. Positive Talk
When your teen comes home and vents about school, let them. But try to step in and encourage chatting about the positive aspects of their day. When they’re done ranting about Mr. Jones throwing two more tests their way, ask them how their favorite class went and what they did. Try to get them to think about the good that happened more than the bad.
2. After School Activities
These days, schools offer a wide variety of clubs to join. An academically challenged student may just find a surprising amount of enjoyment by joining a club of their own choice and being surrounded by people who all enjoy the exact same thing. It’ll give them something to look forward to each day.
3. Get Involved in Problems
If your cranky and depressed teenager sees you actively taking time away from your own life to sit down and invest yourself in their problems, they’ll feel like you’re truly listening to their troubles. You can both work together to come up with solutions for things that are bothering them at the moment.
4. Set Goals
Help your teen set a goal for themselves. Maybe they’re feeling stagnant in life and could use some progress. Tell them an example goal, like passing their next chemistry test or training every night to try to make the track team. Help them define their goals and map them out.
5. Encourage Trying New Things
Your teen is going to have their own passions in life, but it doesn’t hurt to get them to try something new once in a while. Expose them to something they’ve never tried before. Maybe try to include them in something you enjoy doing. Convince them to try something brand new once a week for a little adventure.
6. Support Their Decisions
When your teenager does decide on something they’d like to pursue, be sure to encourage and support them. Tell them that no matter what, you’ll be behind them waiting for good news. When they inevitably fail the first couple of times, tell them to keep trying. They’ll appreciate the support on the sidelines more than you know.
7. Recognize Introvert Versus Extrovert
Your teen may relish being surrounded by friends, or find comfort in solitude and being alone. It’s crucial to recognize these differences and allow for them because pushing in one direction or another can increase the negativity and anxiety. Try to encourage them to try pursuits relating to their basic natures and pique their curiosity toward such pursuits.
8. Step Back
Your teens are going to make mistakes, they’re going to fail and they’re going to get dejected. You can’t help them with everything, as much as you might like to. What’s most important for you right now is to let them do their own thing, fall on their own, learn the consequences, and then be there to pick them back up, dust them off and put them back on the path again. That’s all they need from you when it comes to setting off; just to know that you’re still there, even if you can’t help them.
9. Respect Their Choices
Teens crave independence. They crave the feeling of being an adult. Your teen will make choices, some of which they may regret. You may be itching to get in there and help. You have so much more experience than them. You could potentially turn this around. But just respect them. Ask if they want your help, your opinion, and respect if they say no. By doing this, you reinforce their growth and trust and eventually, they’ll come to you for help on their own.
10. Learn When True Problems Arise
Sometimes, some events will cause you to have to step in to preserve not only their happiness but also their lives. Your teen may make a dangerous decision, one which could threaten everything. Teen drug and alcohol addiction is a very real issue that all too many parents have to face and during these times, parental intervention could mean life or death. They may resent you for it in the present, but in the future, they may thank you from the bottom of their hearts for it.
You want your teen to be happy. All parents do. It’s just vital to learn what your powers are and how they’ve diminished since they were children. Learn your boundaries, work for their happiness, and respect their journey for it.