There are many changes taking place for teenagers, both physically and emotionally. New sets of expectations and demands are made from their friends, school, and the world around them.  

Media, advertising and social networks can also put pressure on teenagers.  

It is a time when young people start questioning values and beliefs as they learn more about the world outside their family and local community. But they still need the care and guidance of their parents – although it may not seem this way! 

Supporting your teen’s health and wellbeing

During this time, parents need to adjust boundaries by providing space for young people to take on more responsibility. Creating a plan for how you might do this, while still maintaining your teenagers safety, can be very helpful.   

Keep communication lines open and take opportunities to discussing issues as they arise.  

Most pressures are managed with the odd rocky patch here and there. However, there are some issues parents might find useful to keep up to date on, including:  

  • Body image and related eating disorders; 
  • Depression and anxiety and other mental health concerns; and 
  • Drugs including illegal drugs, over the counter medications, and alcohol and binge drinking.  

Suggested ways you can make a difference

  • Encourage your teen to join in with social events with family and friends 
  • Support your teen’s hobbies and interests, including volunteering, sporting clubs or community groups  
  • Offer suggestions in setting realistic goals for school and study  
  • Model positive attitudes and encourage a positive self-image 
  • Show your appreciation of their positive behaviour, skills and strengths  
  • Encourage physical activity and support their sporting or other outdoor pursuits  
  • Introduce relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga to help them with stress  
  • Model being kind and helping others  
  • Encourage them to get enough sleep but try to be tolerant of sleeping late (this is normal)
  • Provide good healthy food and encourage adequate hydration  
  • Play, laugh and learn with your teen
  • Help them seek help outside the family when you are concerned but can’t provide the help they need  
  • Give them access to contacts for helplines, websites and apps where they can access good information  

Want to know more? 

Kids Helpline (parent section) – or call 1800 551 800   

Lifeline (facts and information) –  or call 13 11 14 

Reach Out (for parents section) – 

The Raising Children Network – Happy teenagers and teenager wellbeing 

Nutrition Australia – Nutrition for teens 

Kids Matter – Website and resources for mental health and wellbeing 

Headspace – Understanding and dealing with depression 

Headspace – Sleep and young people