There is no doubt that teens today have many advantages that previous generations could only imagine. Technological advancements have opened them to opportunities that would have seemed like science fiction to you when you were a teen. While today’s teens are privileged in comparison to the generations that came before them, they also face greater challenges than before.
Unfortunately, problems such as drug abuse, bullying, mental illness, and even addiction to electronics abound. More than 20 percent of teens suffer from severe mental illness at some point, and 70 percent of teens in detention centers suffer from some form of mental illness.
As has always been the case, it is up to parents and teens to navigate the challenges of adolescence together. If you feel like your teen is at risk for trouble that may damage their future, or if they are suffering from mental illness, you need to come up with a plan. Continue reading to learn ways that you can help your teen overcome debilitating behavioral or mental health issues.
Get them treatment
No one would ever deny the complications that mental illness can cause in the life of a teen. What is more alarming is the correlation between mental health issues and trouble with the law. When you couple that with the fact that the youth suicide rate is on the climb, you can see that it is imperative to combat mental illness proactively.
If you feel that your teen is suffering from mental health issues, the best thing to do is to get them treatment. Disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder in adolescents may be more dangerous than in adults. Their minds have not fully developed, and they aren’t as readily equipped to handle such mental torment on their own.
There are many treatment methods to choose from, and which treatment is best for your teen depends largely on their personality. It of course also depends on the severity of the issue. Whether it be group therapy or in-patient treatment, there is a solution for your troubled teen.
Limit their social media use
When it’s suggested that you limit your teen’s access to social media, you may think it’s a hopeless pursuit. While this is true that teens take their social media very seriously, you may be surprised at how willingly your teen will let go.
According to Pew Research, 41 percent of teens feel like they “overdo it on social media.” If your teen is among those who spend too much time on such accounts, you should work with them to curtail their use.
The fact of the matter is that while there are many benefits to social media, it is not guaranteed to be a safe mental space for your teen. It has been well documented that social media has been weaponized for the use of bullying and has even contributed to youth suicide.
Teens spend about 9 hours a day on the internet. As you work with them to lessen their internet and social media use, you can increase the chances of this working by replacing that time with other activities.
Get them involved in sports
The best way to make sure that a bad habit stays gone is to replace it with a positive habit or activity. Unoccupied time leads to boredom, and boredom creates the perfect atmosphere for trouble to happen.
One of the best ways for your teen to help themselves is to get involved in team sports. A great thing about team sports is that they provide a place for your teen to feel like they belong. Not only will sports occupy much of their time, but the confidence they gain through physical activities will last your teen well into their adult years.
No matter which route you choose to take with your teen, it is important that you remain loving and understanding. Even if they have a long road ahead of them, you want to make sure that you do everything you can to ensure they are ready.