Teenagers need ongoing attention and care of their parents to maintain both their physical and emotional health.

Throughout the teenage years, many changes take place physically and emotionally, as well as new sets of expectations and demands from their friends, school, and the world around them.

Media, advertising and social neworks 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.

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

Parents during this time need to start adjusting boundaries and 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.

Most of these pressures are managed with just the odd rocky patch here and there. However, there are some issues parents might find useful to keep abreast of, including:

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

There are many ways parents can help teens :

  • Guide them to join in with social events with family and friends
  • Hobbies and interests, volunteering, sports clubs
  • Offer help in setting realistic goals for school and study
  • Model positive attitudes and encourage 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. Try to be tolerant of the sleep patterns that may find them sleeping late, they are normal
  • Provide good healthy food and encourage adequate hydration
  • Play, laugh and learn with your teens
  • 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 and websites 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) – reachout.com

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

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