We have a serious problem affecting our teens and no one is talking about it. Every year, teens are facing a crisis thanks to an increase in pressure to be perfect. Competitive college programs, unpaid internships for industry entry, mountains of homework, extra curricular activities, struggles within their social group, family and home life troubles. It is enough to make anyone teen depressed.
In fact, there are disturbing statistics around teen suicide. Suicide has become the second leading cause of death among youth between the ages of 11 and 24. Stories involving children as young as 10 give heartbreaking details of a life of pain ended too soon. Clearly, something must be done.
The Importance Teaching Self-Care to Teens
Self-care has been talked about a lot in the modern age. In a time when we are constantly rushing, we have less time to ourselves even with all of our time-saving technology. However, when we look at the stresses of life, we are talking about adults.
What we rarely consider is just how much pressure our young people are under. If you take stock of their to-do list in any day, not to mention the emotional havoc that can be caused just by being a teen, you will see that there is a lot for them to deal with.
Teaching them how to balance their own needs now will help them in the future, while reducing some of the strain on their lives right now. That leads to healthier, happier, more adjusted kids.
Simple Ways Teens Can Take Part in Self-Care
How do we accomplish this feat when we ourselves so often fall short and fail to properly take care of ourselves? Here are some easy ways to get your teen and the rest of the family to practice self-care, without turning it into a fight.
Get Their Diet In Order At Home – You won’t be able to control your teen’s eating all the time. They will be eating at school, out with friends, maybe stopping here and there for snacks. But you can provide nutritious meals while they are home, cutting down the potential strain that teen obesity can create.
Set Strict No Screen Times – Everyone of every age is getting too much screen time. Setting specific periods in the day where they are not allowed can make a big difference.
Have a Meal Together – Family relationship experts believe that one of the best things you can do for your family is have a meal together at least once a day. It may be hard to fit into busy schedules, but it is worth it to create that time to reconnect as a family.
Have Family Meetings – Family meetings don’t replace the value of therapy if your teen needs it. But it is a fantastic way to connect with your family after a long week. Also, it gives everyone a chance to speak their mind, make suggestions, and just feel more in tune with everyone else.
Push Them To Sleep More – Sleep is hard to come by sometimes. But teens in particular need a lot of it. If they aren’t getting enough, they are probably not reaching their full capacity. Have them set a bedtime that you both feel is fair, and stick to it. You might just benefit from following by their example.
Invite Their Friends Over – When life gets busy, friendships can suffer. Isolation isn’t good for anyone, and neither is making your teen choose between hanging out with their friends and spending time with family. So why not combine the two? Invite friends along on family outings or encourage your teen to ask them over.
Let them Talk Without Judgement – Sometimes it is good to just get things off your chest. Your teen probably has some things they want to discuss but are afraid to talk to you about. That may be because they fear getting into trouble or just disappointing you. So assure them that they can always come to you and that you won’t judge them, only help them.
In the end, the best idea is to keep it simple and incorporate these things into your family’s lives. That way, as self-care is modeled for your children in the home, they will be more prepared to face the world when they leave to blaze their own trails.
Villanueva, Sara, Ph.D., ‘Teenage Stress’, Psychology Today, December 08, 2015, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/how-parent-teen/201512/teenage-stress
Vanorman, Lisa, Jarosz, Beth, ‘Suicide Replaces Homicide as Second Leading Cause of Death Among U.S Teenagers’, June 09, 2016, https://www.prb.org/suicide-replaces-homicide-second-leading-cause-death-among-us-teens/
Liahona Academy, ‘The Reality of Teen Depression [Infograpic]’, http://www.liahonaacademy.com/the-reality-of-teen-depression-infographic.html
Nauert, Rick, PhD, ‘Teen Stress Fuels Depression, Then Obesity’, https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/02/25/teen-stress-fuels-depression-then-obesity/11704.html
Michael, Raphailia, M.A, ‘What Self Care Is — And Isn’t’, https://psychcentral.com/blog/what-self-care-is-and-what-it-isnt-2/