The most challenging time
It's difficult being a teen but you can help.
Teenage-hood! This stage in life is regarded as the “most challenging time in a person’s life”. It is challenging for both the parents and the child. These are regarded as the last years parents have left with their child to complete the task of preparing him or her for their life ahead.
Increased hormones cause:
  • Skin and hair problems.
  • Mood changes (swings)- crying for no reason, becoming angry, feeling down and depressed, short-tempered and easily irritated.
  • Appetite becoming erratic – one day he or she may eat everything in sight and the next not feel for anything.
  • Changes in sleep patterns– due to body changing and growing rapidly, the body needs extra time to rest. A normally active teen might become quite sleepy at times, preferring to curl up with a book rather than a game of tennis.
  • Changes in self-perception– teenagers may feel unsure of what they would eventually look like. Concerns rise about acne, weight gain, muscle tone, or even being too short or too tall. This creates anxiety and uncertainty– this means they need time to get to know the “new” them.

Emotional needs of a teenager

Regardless of whether the teenagers are young (13) or older (18), they have emotional needs such as:
  • Respect, acceptance, stability and love.
  • Need to know that people care about that and will love them always.
  • If they err, they need to feel that they can talk to someone who will not scream, shout or beat them up.
  • Need to be allowed to discover themselves– who they are in their new ‘adult’ bodies.

Parents must allow their children the time they need and remain sensitive to their needs.

Eventually, all teenagers ‘grow up’ and learn to stand on their own feet.

Effective communication with teens

It is vital for parents to keep a strong bond and relationships with their children as this may be a confusing time for both of them.

What parents can do
  • Keep in touch with their child’s feelings.
  • Keep the lines of communication open.
  • Stay involved in the child’s life– it is vital to their wellbeing.
  • Respect for the teen and the decisions he or she makes.
  • Give choices and establish a positive, trusting, open relationship from an early age.
  • Avoid putting too much pressure on the children to succeed and do well– without giving them space to relax and be creative.
  • Spend time with their teen discussing what belonging to a group means– not to lecture them about why belonging to a group is bad.
  • Help their children have balanced lives– with time to be ‘just children’.

Mental health for schoolchildren
Mental health for toddlers and preschoolers

What are the essentials of mental wellbeing for teens?

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