How to Help Teenagers Cope With Their Emotions?

The teen years are complicated and can be hard on the teenager as well as the parent. Your teenager’s behaviour can appear to change almost overnight from predictable and considerate to baffling, stressful and even causing hurt. These are common issues that teens exhibit and are essential to the transition into adulthood and puberty. 

UNICEF has some valuable information for managing the teen years. 

Ways to Cope With Teen Behaviour

The teen years can be challenging even for the calmest parent. When you are dealing with the everyday complications of life, it can feel like your teenager is intentionally making things worse for you. 

Understand that you are the adult in the relationship, and it falls on you to offer a helping hand through these trying times. A teen often deals with hormonal and body changes, identity crisis, peer pressure, etc. All this translates into a confusing time for your teenager. 

The teen may even exhibit risky behaviour that is not normal in the teen years. Here’s how to identify the difference. 

Unexpectedly, they can:

  • Display aloofness
  • Prefer the company of friends over yours
  • They feel misunderstood
  • Turn down your affection or attempts to talk 
  • Are often sullen and moody

Identifying Signs of Stress in Teens

As teenagers start asserting their independence in attempts to find their own identity, behavioural changes will definitely follow. These can seem bizarre to parents. They react to everything you say with indifference or eye rolls. They could even be experiencing and display signs of stress as they foray into adulthood. 

Stress is a normal part of life, affecting both children and adults alike. According to the American Psychological Association, there has been a 31% increase in mental health related emergency department visits involving kids aged between 12 to 17 years in 2020, compared with 2019. 

Irritability: Teens often lack the words to express their feelings, and sometimes the tension shows up as a bad mood. When teens become stressed, they often are more argumentative than usual. 

Behavioural Changes: A child who had been empathetic and cooperative suddenly can’t seem to care less. A once socially active teen can’t seem to find the motivation to leave home. Abrupt personality changes like these can be a pointer to high levels of stress within. 

Insomnia: A teen may have trouble sleeping at night or sleep for fewer hours than what would be considered healthy. They may also complain of fatigue, no matter how well rested they appear. 

Neglecting Responsibilities: If an adolescent starts ignoring his/her homework, or his/her school grades fall, and he/she is prone to procrastination, it may be stress that is causing these negative aspects to appear. 

How Parents Can Help

Parents have a vital role in helping teens identify stress-managing strategies. Some ways parents can do this are: 

1. Encourage Them to Share 

Always check in with your teen. Ask them how their day was and let them know they can always approach you to talk about anything without fear of judgment. Talking to them in an informal setting, such as while bowling, may encourage your teenager to be more forthcoming. 

2. Support Them

Adolescence are pushing their boundaries. Give your teen the appropriate time and space to figure things out. This is a normal part of the teen years.

3. Work Through Conflicts

Take in your teen’s views and always sort conflicts calmly. Do not discuss an issue when you are angry. Take a deep breath and get back to it later when you are calm. 

It would do well to remind your teen that no matter the pain and turmoil they are experiencing, they will always have your love and support, and together you will get past the difficult times and you will watch them grow into well-balanced young adults.

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