How you Can Help your Teenager Reach Out for Help

How you Can Help your Teenager Reach Out for Help

Being a young person is often an overwhelming experience. Sometimes parents and carers find it difficult to tell the difference between expected teenage behaviours and signs that their young person is struggling.

Early warning signs to watch out for

  • Changes in their sleep routine. For example, excessive sleeping, sleeping difficulties (including insomnia) and other sleep disorders.
  • Changes in weight and/or a loss of appetite.
  • Lower self-esteem.
  • Struggling or changes with their work and behaviour at school.
  • A lack of interest in hobbies and activities they usually enjoy.
  • Personality shifts that are out of character, like sudden increase in aggression. These changes may indicate struggles with mental health and/or drug use.

What are some reasons young people are reluctant to reach out for help?

There are many reasons why young people may not want to reach out for help.

They may:

  • Think that how they’re feeling is just “how they are” and that it isn’t possible to improve the situation.
  • Think that reaching out won’t work. It’s possible they may have tried to ask for help in the past and found the process frustrating.
  • Feel embarrassed and view reaching out as a sign of weakness. They may also feel defensive about other people noticing that they’re struggling.

How can you make it easier for your child to reach out for help?

There are many ways you can encourage your teenager to reach out for help:

  • Try to figure out the reason behind their reluctance to seek help. This will help you to approach the issue in a sensitive manner.
  • When talking with your child, make an effort to really listen to them (rather than jumping in with advice and suggestions).
  • Validate their feelings. This proves that you’re genuinely trying to see things from their point of view and that you care about how they are feeling, no matter what the situation.
  • Ask your child what issue they would like to tackle. For example, they might want to feel more confident in social situations. This collaborative approach makes it less likely your teenager will feel like they are being judged or nagged about changing.

Seek the help you need

To find out more, visit Youth Network of Tasmania for a list of local services and online support.