Managing Personal Emotional Health as the Parent of a Troubled Teen

Managing Personal Emotional Health as the Parent of a Troubled Teen

Raising kids can stress out any parent. When that kid is a troubled teen, the stress can multiply. Parents often neglect their own emotional health while trying to juggle real life problems as they navigate the turbulent waters with their children. However, parents must take steps to ensure that they take care of themselves as well—physically, mentally and spiritually. Teens need their parents fresh and mentally alert so that the parents can make sound decisions and help guide them. A parent is no good to their teen if they wear themselves down and need psychological help themselves. Fortunately, parents have resources at their disposal to help strengthen and safeguard their own emotional health.

Understand Your Teen

For starters, parents need to understand what their own teen is going through. Parents face other responsibilities as well. Between work, bills, and other personal commitments, they can easily miss, excuse or ignore behavioral problems. However, denial will do neither the teen nor the parent any good and instead, could allow problems to fester and deteriorate. This delays the remedies that can restore peaceful and productive relationships. When parents notice these misbehaviors, they should find the source of the problem. As parents you might jeopardize your own mental health by delaying confrontation of the real issues.

Pressures Teens Face

Teenage years bring stress. School, part-time jobs, peer pressure and the physical and mental changes of adolescence can lead to a chaotic mental state. Parents must know what specific pressures might cause their teen to act out. Not knowing or making false assumptions could deteriorate a parent’s own mental and emotional state. The old cliché of knowledge being power remains true. By knowing the specific causes of their teen’s anxiety, parents can then formulate the most effective plans to treat those issues. By coming up with a plan of action to treat their teens’ problems, they have already begun the first step to safeguarding their own mental state.

Focus on the Big Picture

Once they reach a place of understanding, parents must also exercise caution in their reactions. They should put themselves in their child’s place and try to get a solid grasp on their child’s point-of-view. They should also choose their battles wisely. Minor rebellious behaviors might not serve as the best outlet for exerting parental authority. Hairstyle or nail polish might not be your choice when it comes to appearance, but the teens might be seeking that very disapproval in order to exert their independence. Parents should save the conflicts for rebellions that pose a danger or could have more permanent physical consequences. By limiting conflicts only to those absolutely necessary, parents help their own emotional health. Once they have determined what the problem is, parents should have an honest assessment of their teen’s behavior and a game plan for fixing it if it doesn’t improve. When parents can face these issues with an honest and open mind early on, they will spare themselves great emotional turmoil in the future.

Talk to Professionals

However, parents must sometimes go the extra step to secure their emotional health beyond these common sense approaches. While they might fear asking for help even more than seeking it for their troubled teens, they need to feel comfortable reaching out to professionals. No parent can do everything alone. While the ultimate responsibility is theirs, that does not mean they can succeed without any kind of support system.

If the problems persist or worsen, sometimes teens might need institutional help. Therapeutic boarding schools have served as a vital aid to parents across America struggling to cope with a troubled teen. While these institutions shouldn’t replace parenting, when a parent exhausts all personal options, reaching out to these programs might work. Not only can these facilities offer teens the best chance at attaining a normal and healthy mental state but parents will feel a huge weight removed from their shoulders when they don’t have to fight these battles alone.

Proactive Steps for Parents

Parents of troubled teens can take the following steps to help themselves mentally:

  • Take care of their own physical needs by exercising and eating healthy foods
  • Participate in a relaxing activity, such as walking around a bookstore, enjoying a cup of coffee or attending a play or movie
  • Search out a support group, such as Parents’ Anonymous
  • Work with staff at the child’s school
  • Contact a therapeutic boarding school for additional resources and help
  • Seek professional help from your child’s counselor or from your own primary care physician.

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