Tips for Talking to Your Teen About Mental Health
Understanding mental health can be challenging for kids, and talking about mental health with kids can be particularly challenging for parents. The following are tips on how to start and continue the conversation about mental health with your child.
When talking to your teens:
- Focus on listening to what they have to say, regardless of how you might feel about the matter.
- Respond with empathy and validation while expressing calm and reassurance. A child's stress is just as real as our own and a sense of belonging and acceptance is at the center of their world, so reaffirm their feelings, especially those about friends and partners.
- Avoid judgement and personal opinions or lectures that could cause your child to feel defensive.
- Remind them how much they matter and how much you love them.
- Let your teen know they are not alone in experiencing sadness or emotional distress – bad times won’t last forever. Reassure them that "it's okay not to be okay" because everyone has rough patches. What is important is that they seek the support they need or find healthy coping skills to get through the tough times.
||360me is Valley Children's Healthcare's national initiative to help families, schools and communities safeguard our children's physical and mental health. Learn more at valleychildrens.org/360me.
||If you, your teen, or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org.